The combination of gingerbread spices, creamy white chocolate and bitter Dutch cocoa powder really works here. The cocoa tempers the tooth-aching sweetness of the white chocolate, while the kruidnoten
spices deliver their festive warmth. While truffel kruidnoten
are probably the biggest new Sinterklaas
trend, I happily predict that we probably won't be seeing the last of this new twist on the
classic kruidnoten recipe
any time soon.
Yield: Makes 100 truffel kruidnoten.
- FOR THE COOKIES:
- 1 3/4 cups self-rising flour (200 g)
- 1/2 cup donkerbruine basterdsuiker (see Tips) or cane sugar (demerera)(100 g)
- 7 tbsp butter (100 g)
- 2-3 tbsp milk
- 4 tsp speculaaskruiden (or pumpkin pie spices)
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- The finely grated zest of half an orange
- FOR THE CHOCOLATE COATING:
- 5.3 oz white chocolate (150 g)
- 1 tsp butter
- Unsweetened cocoa powder, to sieve
Mix together all the ingredients in a large bowl and knead (you may use a mixer with a dough hook attachment). You should be able to shape the dough into a ball without it sticking to your hands. Cover the dough ball with plastic wrap and set aside for an hour. This allows the spices to intensify their flavor.
Preheat the oven to 347 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius). Grease a cookie sheet.
Wet your hands and roll little marble-sized balls of dough (of approx. 1/2 inch/12 mm). Place the dough balls on the cookie sheet. Using your thumb, gently press down on each cookie to flatten slightly. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the cookies puff up and turn a slightly darker shade of brown. Allow to cool.
When the cookies are stone cold, warm the white chocolate and butter in a small bowl in the microwave (about 2-3 minutes). Stir until well-mixed and completely melted. Now dip the cookies into the chocolate (I find it easiest to do this using two teaspoons) and place on a cookie sheet lined with greaseproof paper. Sprinkle with plenty of cocoa powder and allow to dry.
Serve in small bowls with milk, coffee or tea.
Basterdsuiker is a typical Dutch product. It is manufactured by adding invert sugar and other ingredients to fine white refined sugar. This mixture helps to achieve certain textural structures and keeps baked goods moist. There are three varieties, white, brown and dark brown, called witte basterdsuiker, (licht)bruine basterdsuiker or gele basterdsuiker and donkerbruine basterdsuiker. It is widely available from Dutch supermarkets and some
Dutch groceries on the internet. I've had good results substituting the donkerbruine basterdsuiker in this recipe with pure cane sugar (demerera).
You can order little sachets of speculaas spices (known as speculaaskruiden) online. But you can easily substitute pumpkin pie spices. You can also make your own speculaaskruiden.
Kruidnoten make a great gift. Simply wrap up in some cellophane and tie with a ribbon.