Nov 5, 2009

Dutch Kruidnootjes

Now these are kruidnoten. Don’t ask me to literally translate that because, well, for the life of me I couldn’t. It would sound kinda strange. Kruidnootjes are tiny (gingerbread) cookies that are thrown around so our kids can eat them off the floor. Most of them scooping the lot in their tiny mouths with both hands. I so wish I could see the gaze of pure horror and shock in your eyes now.

It’s actually semi-true. Let me explain: kruidnoten are a big part of ‘Sinterklaas‘, a Dutch children’s holiday celebrated on Dec 5th. To the best of my knowledge Santa, Father Christmas or Kris Kringle—whatever you want to name the guy—is derived from this St. Nicholas. Anyway, these tiny cookies are inextricably connected to Sinterklaas. They’re thrown around by his helpers, zwarte pieten (Black Pete’s), along with other small candy. It’s called strooigoed, which translates to “throw-around goodies“.

They’re addictive. Highly addictive. And because they’re small, crunchy and delicious you’ll be tempted to eat way more than you should. There’s just no stopping until you’ve emptied the bag. Or bowl. Especially not when they’re dipped in chocolate.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you!



2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/2 tbsp speculaas spice
1/2 a tsp salt
2/3 cup brown sugar
4 oz soft butter
4 tbsp milk

Optional: chocolate



As soon as I grabbed my camera, the kid was jumping up and down behind me yelling: “Can I help, mom? Can I? Please?”. Now you have to be smart about these things, if you’re too eager they’ll figure you out. So I played the game well and as a result I ended up with a great, yet slightly messy help in the kitchen. He’s a good kid. Maybe I’ll let him eat the cookies from a bowl this time. But only this time!

Sieve 2 cups self-rising flour over a big bowl.


Add 2/3 cup brown sugar to the flour.


And in with the speculaas spice and salt.


Combine the ingredients.


Add 4 oz soft butter and 4 tbsp milk.


Start kneading. If the dough is too dry, add more milk until you have a supple dough.


If you’re lucky you won’t have to deal with this.


I could have rapped his knuckles, but I figured it was probably easier friendlier to just keep those tiny hands as busy as possible.


We rolled the dough into tiny balls and flattened them just a little. Mine were bigger than official kruidnoten are. Usually they’re 5 gr per piece or so, I made mine 10gr each. Strictly for chocolate dipping purposes.


Bake them in a preheated oven at 320F (160C) for 15 to 20 minutes.


You can eat them like this and they’ll be great, but ‘like this’ just isn’t good enough for us. We dip them in chocolate and that raises them to an even higher level. You can dip them in any kind of (melted) chocolate you like. We nuked some white chocolate and added food coloring, just for the heck of it.


You’ll be needing lots of ice cold milk with this. Oh, and you’ll need to renew your gym membership. Just so you know…


Traditionally kruidnootjes are served with hot cocoa. Try my Winter Wonderland version some time! It’s heavenly.


Kay’s Recipe Note:

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    1. 1

      Your son’s little hands are so precious!!!!!!!! These cookies look great. Are they crunchy or soft? Also, that is best-looking brown sugar I’ve ever seen. Wow.

      Memoria on Nov 5, 2009 @ 9:31 am Reply
    2. 2


      I adore the postings where he helps me. I love seeing those hands in my photos.

      They’re supposed to be really crunchy!

      Kay on Nov 5, 2009 @ 9:33 am Reply
    3. 3

      cute little treats from cute little hands!

      f.sarah on Nov 5, 2009 @ 10:00 am Reply
    4. 4

      I remember these! They were were really good.

      Judy on Nov 5, 2009 @ 10:02 am Reply
    5. 5

      They look so pretty dipped into the pastel coloured chocolate.

      Marisa on Nov 5, 2009 @ 10:09 am Reply
    6. 6

      What a pleasant boy! Interesting cookies!

      Mrs Ergül on Nov 5, 2009 @ 10:16 am Reply
    7. 7

      Oh my goodness, Kay. The cookies look great and the hot chocolate: heavenly indeed!

      Maria on Nov 5, 2009 @ 10:31 am Reply
    8. 8

      Kay, this recipe reminds me of how I make my gingernut cookies. Like heaps! Except I use golden syrup (or treacle) to bind it together and not milk. So mine spread out a lot more, unless I don’t quite use enough syrup. They are the best spice cookies EVER. I am just going to have to try these :)

      LizzieBee on Nov 5, 2009 @ 11:37 am Reply
    9. 9


      Okay, I’m convinced. Hand me the recipe and I’m off to buy golden syrup :)
      Once it stops raining.

      Kay on Nov 5, 2009 @ 11:38 am Reply
    10. 10

      Oh, I like the idea of dipping them in chocolate! Lekker!

      Alison on Nov 5, 2009 @ 12:03 pm Reply
    11. 11

      I am going to have to try making these sometime this year and bring them to work. They make for nice guinea pigs so I don’t have to eat recipes all myself. I can’t believe that the cookies you made are double the size of a normal kruidnoten since the version you made is already the smallest homemade cookies I have ever seen.

      Aaron B from IL (USA) on Nov 5, 2009 @ 12:18 pm Reply
    12. 12

      LOVE :
      Those hands
      And those pics – the contrasting colours in the bowl are gorgeous.
      And those cookies!!

      Top job, Kay!

      aadila on Nov 5, 2009 @ 12:24 pm Reply
    13. 13

      Ik heb zo gelachen om het stuk ‘cookies that are thrown around so our kids can eat them off the floor’, bedoel de gezichten van mensen die Sinterklaas niet kennen, kan het heel raar over komen…hahahahaha he he ik was een beetje dipperig vandaag, je hebt me opgevrolijkt :). Ik ga me trouwens begin december wagen aan een Gingerbread house ^^

      Bar on Nov 5, 2009 @ 2:00 pm Reply
    14. 14


      Ik zat het al keihard lachend te schrijven. Stelde me zo eens die gezichten voor.
      Whew, hele onderneming. Wens je veel succes, ik waag me er niet aan :)

      Kay on Nov 5, 2009 @ 2:14 pm Reply
    15. 15

      I will have to make these using your own speculaas recipe.

      This had nothing to do with your post, but on The Amazing Race, a US TV show, a portion of the show was filmed in The Netherlands and I think particularly in Gouda. One of the tasks was to eat raw herring with onions. Most of the contestants choose to take the alternte task, but I said to my husband, both of us would eat the herring in a heart beat! Hmmmm…so good.!

      deb on Nov 5, 2009 @ 3:40 pm Reply
    16. 16


      The raw herring with onions is something I don’t eat. I just can’t eat it. So salty and slippery. Yuck. But then again I don’t eat sushi either. Anything that either looks back at me from my plate, or that I can still perform CPR on it not my thing.

      Kay on Nov 5, 2009 @ 3:45 pm Reply
    17. 17

      OH! A neighbor introduced me to these when we were living in Amsterdam. I was pregnant and I kind of LIVED ON THESE, and I don’t even really LIKE gingerbread that much, but oh….these little suckers were addicitve. 3 years later and I literally salivated when I saw this post. I think TheGirl and I have a new recipe to try this week! thanks!

      and people say Dutch Food is unremarkable! whatever, people!!!!!

      jessica on Nov 5, 2009 @ 3:53 pm Reply
    18. 18

      @Kay: well, I remember having fresh herring and onion on a soft bun in the middle of Amsterdam! Oh, so good!

      deb on Nov 5, 2009 @ 4:24 pm Reply
    19. 19


      I do have to admit that when my guy eats one, it looks so incredibly tasty that I actually wish I liked them. But every time I try a little bite, I cringe.

      Kay on Nov 5, 2009 @ 4:26 pm Reply
    20. 20

      Oh I am printing this off right now and putting it in my Christmas cookie section of my binder of recipes! Yummy!

      Spruce Hill on Nov 5, 2009 @ 5:47 pm Reply
    21. 21

      Just about every time you post a new recipe, I KNOW i have to make it. You should definitely publish a cook book of delicious dutch food!

      Erin on Nov 5, 2009 @ 8:50 pm Reply
    22. 22

      just found your blog. so great loved reading and can’t wait to keep up with it!

      natalie on Nov 5, 2009 @ 11:25 pm Reply
    23. 23

      Oh my! When I read about you throwing them on the floor I burst out laughing. I could just picture my mother throwing cookies on the floor, it would have been a race to see if we were faster than the dog. lol
      These look like something Dad would have liked. I’ll have to try them.

      susan in fl on Nov 6, 2009 @ 12:33 am Reply
    24. 24

      I fall more in love with your blog each and ever day. I stumbled across you on foodgawker and am so glad. I come from a Dutch family and I everything you post makes me think of my family and our fun traditions, even if we do live in the States.

      I want to give these cookies a try!

      Jenn on Nov 6, 2009 @ 1:46 am Reply
    25. 25

      These cookies look great. You take such amazing pictures. Thanks for the “cookie history”. It’s neat to hear the tradition behind the food.

      Brad on Nov 6, 2009 @ 4:13 am Reply

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