Tuesday, 26 January 2016

St. Nicholas pepernoten, spiced little cookies


This is an old recipe. It is from the time when people were still fasting before the christmas period. This means that there are no dairy or eggs used in this recipe. I personally do sometimes use milk or butter, simply because I like the flavour.
There is pepper in this recipe, as you can see in the name of the cookies. There are also other spices in there, which were shipped in from Asia by the Dutch trading ships and because of that fairly soon already common goods in The Netherlands, while they were still relatively unknown in other European countries.

Origin: The Netherlands

Difficulty: easy
Time: 30 minutes preparation, 1 night waiting, 20 minutes baking
Yield: about 50, depending on the size you make them


  • Oven
  • Kitchen machine


  • 125 grams sprouted flour
  • 125 grams sprouted rye flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 100 ml honey
  • 1 tablespoon of maple syrup
  • 4 black peppercorns
  • 4 cloves
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon aniseed
  • 100 ml water (I often use buttermilk as this prepares the flour better for digestion)
  • a bit of oil or ghee
  • Put all the spices in the kitchen machine and grind to a powder consistency. alternatively use all powder, though the flavour will be more rounded when using the whole spices and grinding them yourself.
  • Make sure honey is fluid, if need be warm it up a bit au bain marie.
  • Mix baking powder and flour, make sure there are no lumps in there.
  • Mix in the spices.
  • Mix in the honey and maple syrup
  • Add the water (or buttermilk) bit by bit, maybe you will need a bit less or a bit more than the 100 ml. Try to achieve a nice soft dough.
  • Put it in the fridge overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 180C
  • Rub a bit of oil or ghee on a baking tray, or use a silicon mat.
  • Make balls the size of a marble, or cut squares the size of marbles from the dough. Make sure the balls lay relatively close to each other, so that they rise up in stead of sideways.
  • Bake in a preheated oven for about 15 to 20 minutes, check after about 10 minutes how they are fairing. When you have made your balls small, they may need to go out after 10 minutes, when they are average it takes about 15 and big ones take about 20 minutes, use your nose and your eyes to check where they are.

Possible substitutions:
  1. butter - coconut, tallow, etc. depending on which flavour you can handle. In this case I would go for deodorised coconut oil if at all possible.
  2. sugar - honey, but then leave out the milk.
  3. sprouted flour - plain flour