Showing posts with label Holland. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Holland. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 3


A new year, a new beginning.
Good resolutions, firework, lots and lots of oliebollen and a chance for 20 million in the new years eve lottery.
That last one didn’t come true of course, but the oliebollen part made it up quite all right…

As I already let you know with my ‘Things to Eat before You Die’-list, oliebollen are one of my favourite things in the world.
But, needless to say, only oliebollen from my family recipe. The average bol that is sold during this time of year in the special pastry stalls is a bit too greasy for my taste and has nothing, or maybe, when you’re lucky, 4 raisins as filling. Not really my taste. We like our bollen as they were made intentionally: properly filled. The trick is to use eggs, lemon zest ànd juice and lots and lots (and lots) of apples, raisins and currants. A delicious, sweet, airy and moist bol with a golden brown, crispy layer will be the result.

I love oliebollen. It’s strange you can attach so much to customs; it happens still occasionally through the year, mid June for example, that I would kill for a fresh, still warm bol - we however haven’t made them ever on a different day then the 31st. It’s just not right. We wait a year, and then eat for 3 days nothing else than oliebollen. Period. (and we are of course at least a month sick of them afterwards…) ;)

Oliebollen are one of the most well-known Dutch things. Although not everybody makes them their selves, making them is in our family a true tradition. We start bright and early with our batch, call how it’s going with the others and the next day tasting and comparing the golden beauties with the rest…

So, a new year.
"Let's hope it's a good one, without any fears."
Up to new starts, hopes, wishes, opportunities and chances.
And of course...Tasting Life!

Superbollen, Oliebollen
(“dough balls”) makes about 45
- 800g (6 cups) flour
- 16g (1 Tbsp) salt
- 4 eggs
- 40g fresh yeast
- 0.6L (2 ½ cups) milk
- 2 Jonagold apples
- 3 Goudreinet apples (if you don’ have these apples, just use firm, sour apples)
- 200g yellow sultana raisins,
- 200g blue sultana raisins,
- 200g currants
- 3 lemons - the zest of 3 lemons, and the juice of 1/2 lemon
- 100g (1 stick/½ cup) butter

- a deep-frying pan with fresh deep-frying fat (sunflower oil)
- kitchen paper and napkins
- powder sugar

1. In a small saucepan, heat about 0,2L (1 cup) of the total 0.6L until it’s tepid. (about 40°C - 104°F) Pour the warm milk in a small bowl and crumble the yeast over it. Stir gradually until it’s completely dissolved, cover up and set to rest on a warm place.

2. Peel the apples, chop them in 4 pieces, remove the core, and cut the parts into tiny little pieces. Put the apples together with the raisins, currants, lemon juice and lemon zest in a large bowl and mix well.

3. In the biggest basin you have, (or a clean bucket) sift together the flour and salt. Make a small hole in the centre and insert one egg. Mix with the electric mixer fitted with the dough hooks until the egg is completely inserted. Then add the second egg and repeat this process until all eggs are added.
In a small pan, melt the butter. Heat in the ‘milk’ pan the rest of the milk until tepid.
Add to the flour/egg mixture the yeast mixture that was resting and mix until well blended. Add the rest of the milk and mix until combined, to end with mix the melted butter in. Change the dough hooks for the whisk hooks and mix until the whole mixture is one smooth mass. Scoop the filling in, mix well, cover up with a damp towel and set to rest on a very warm place for 1 to 2 hours. Now the dough will have risen and doubled in its size…

4. Heat the deep-frying fat until it reaches 180ºC. take an ice scooper or two tablespoons and stick the spoons in the heated fat for a couple of seconds. (this will prevent the batter from sticking to the spoons) take a big spoon full of dough, round it a bit, and carefully dip it into the oil. Repeat this, but don't have more than 6 of them into the oil at the same time (this also depends on the size of your pan). Fry the 'oliebollen' for 6 minutes, 3 for each side, until they are nice gold brownish.

5. Take the oliebollen out and let them leak out on kitchen paper until they are completely dry. Serve warm or cold with lots and lots of powder sugar. The oliebollen will keep for 2,3 days, but they are best the first day. Keep them in a bowl covered with a towel.

Saturday, November 25

1 + 1 = 3

Sometimes is 1+1=3
These Chocolade Stroopkoeken (chocolate treacle cookies) are a classic example for this. They are not just two crispy chocolaty cookies fused together with some hot, creamy, salted treacle….but they are the best crispy chocolaty cookies fused together with some hot, creamy, salted treacle. They are amazing.
Make a hundred and you still want more, I guarantee.

The stroopkoek is a typically Dutch product. Only, undeserved, a whole lot less known then it’s brother the stroopwaffle. Although I can appreciate a hot, freshly made stroopwaffle from time to time, (especially with this colder weather) I prefer a stroopkoek. And then of course the version as shown here above: thinner, chocolaty and salted. Heaven.

I got them from Koekje, the cookie-bible I wrote about before. The recipe comes from Kees Raat (kind of logical since it’s a(n incredible) twist on the normal stroopkoek…) but I adjusted it slightly since I didn’t have pepper vinegar or zeeuwse flour (from Zeeland - a part of Holland) and because - let’s face it - I like it always just a bit more salty and chocolaty.

Two thin chocolate biscuits with the best salty caramel-y syrup which will make the cookies deliciously chewy and sticky. What do you want more? Enjoy immediately while the treacle is still hot. Try them and love them…;)

Chocolade Stroopkoeken
- 120g (1 stick/½ cup) butter, softened
- 60g (1/3 cup) dark brown sugar
- 60g (1/3 cup) white brown sugar (witte basterdsuiker)
- pinch of salt and pepper
- 1 tsp vinegar
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 200g (1 ½ cup) flour
- 4 big Tbsp cacao powder
- 1 big tsp baking powder
For the syrup:
- 100g (½ cup) stroop (treacle)
- 60g (1/3 cup) white brown sugar
- 60g (½ stick, ¼ cup) butter, softened
- 1 Tbsp sea salt

1. In a medium bowl, sift together flower, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and pepper. Set aside. In a large bowl, mix butter, the two sugars, vinegar and egg. Add the flower mixture to the sugar mixture and knead it to a ball. Pack in foil and let rest in the fridge for at least one hour.

2. Preheat oven to 170°C (340°F) and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

3. Get the dough out of the fridge and roll out thinly on a lightly flowered surface. (if it’s too sticky, use some more flower) you can best do this in 3 or 4 times as the dough will break easily.
With a round 10cm (4inches) form, - or a cute small one…- stick out cookies and line them on the baking sheets. Bake for about 10 minutes, until set and down. Let cool completely and make the syrup.

1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt treacle with sugar, butter and salt. Stir until well blended and let cool a bit.

2. Ladle syrup on the flat side of a cookies, move it a bit back and forth to even and close with a second cookie. Repeat with remaining cookies.
Enjoy immediately or keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Wednesday, November 22

Going Dutch: Koekje

In Holland there are just a few really good, legendary, patissiers.
Two of them are Cees Holtkamp and Kees Raat.
They are both really different and yet the same;
Cees Holtkamp started in Amsterdam in 1969 and is famous for his simple, straightforward and traditional approach to baking.
Kees Raat opened his ‘Unlimited Delicious’ in Amsterdam 15 years ago and became known for his originality and uniqueness.
These two masters are now combined in one beautiful little book: Koekje. (Cookie)

I can’t believe Koekje wasn’t here earlier - it’s indispensable.
The concept is brilliant; Holtkamp wrote down his (50!) recipes for all the classic Dutch cookies, - such as stroopwafels, Arnhemse Meisjes, Goudse Moppen and Jan Hagel… - and Kees Raat gave each cookie his own, creative twist and came up with 50 brand new cookies as Chocolate Blini’s, Javaanse Jongens and Zeeschuim (!)

Koekje is a clear-cut, beautiful book with on every single page a picture.
I love that I now finally have a book where all the recipes for good Dutch cookies are bound together.
And I’ve discovered so many new, which are in fact old, recipes(!)
Who still knows how a Haarlems Halletje or Nonnenscheetje taste?
And Haagsche Wind??
Haagsche Wind (Wind of the Hague) dates all the way back to 1880. Living in The Hague and never having tried it - how could I not make it?

(Plus it was a wonderful opportunity to use my new pastry bag from la Bovida that I still hadn’t used since my trip to Paris…!)

Haagsche Wind is a sweet little meringue cookie with cute looking almonds on top. It’s one lovely cloudy bite: crunchy on the outside and soft and airy inside.
Meringues are well loved in my family.
I once tried to make meringues, but it didn’t work out so well - this recipe however, is a keeper.

99 recipes left in ‘Koekje’…what will I make next?

Haagsche Wind
- 3 egg whites
- 150g (¾ cup) finely granulated sugar
- 100g (½ cup) confectioner’s sugar, sifted
- 100g (1 cup) almonds, lightly roasted and roughly chopped

1. Preheat oven to 120° C (248° F) and line one baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Beat, with an electric mixer, egg whites until frothy. Gradually add granulated sugar and mix until well blended. Beat in the confectioner’s sugar carefully until the mixture is white and glossy.

3. Fill pastry bag (with a 2cm, 1 inch tip) with the mixture and drop little dots on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with the roasted almonds and bake for 20 minutes until set. Let cool completely before enjoying and store in an airtight container.

Vijzelgracht 15
1017 HM Amsterdam

Unlimited Delicious
Haarlemmerstraat 122
1013 EX Amsterdam

Monday, September 18

Prinsjesdag & Royal Cookies

Every third Tuesday of September - as tomorrow - is Prinsjesdag.
Prinsjesdag, literally translated day of the princes, is the official opening of the Dutch parliamentary year. On this day the Queen rides in her Gouden Koets (Golden Coach) all the way through The Hague. She begins her route at the Noordeinde Palace and ends at the Dutch Parliament on het Binnenhof.

Here, in de Ridderzaal, she reads her annual speech in which she introduces the plans of the government, together with the national budget for the Netherlands for the new year.
The name ‘Golden Coach’ is in fact a bit misleading, since the wood is only partially gilded; the rest of it is painted. The carriage is decorated with symbolic motifs and is drawn by eight horses...

Prinsjesdag is a real festive day here in Holland; flags are hanged out and the whole city is orange. (the Royal name is Van Oranje-Nassau… oranje means orange!)
There is carnival, thousands of tourists come to The Hague and…we get a day off from school!
We can go watch the parade, look at the carriage, wave at the queen and - what I especially enjoy - go check out what kind of outfits with big ridiculous matching hats the royals picked out to wear this year! Maybe feathers this year? A pyramid, some vegetables, or simply some fruit?

Because my mother works in the second chamber, (part of the parliament) I grew up very close to all this and is it very fun to walk nonchalant by the tourists, past the security and go inside…!

The year I was 8 (a time where there weren’t terrorist alarms yet) my mum even found a short cut to Het Binnenhof and I could sneak all the way to the front and stand right next to the Golden Coach…=)
I’m not at all pro-royal, but yet I enjoy this day always very much.
Prinsjesdag seemed a good motive (and excuse!) for me to bake something orange, royal and of course, sweet!

I made these royal cookies with orange and ginger.
I adapted them from the classic gingerbreadmans -
added orange zest and orange juice, shaped them into little crowns and decorated them with a simple sugar glaze and orange muisjes.

These cookies are delicious, smell incredible and have a slightly orange hint. They are thin and crispy, a bit buttery and full of flavour. Although the glaze and decorating does give an extra touch, and is fun to do!, they are also delicious just plain.

Royal Orange Ginger Cookies (makes about 2 dozen)
- 420g (3 ½ cup) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 ½ tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- 225g (2 sticks/1 cup) butter, room temperature
- 150g (¾ cup) granulated sugar
- 135 g (¾ cup) packed dark-brown sugar
- 2 tsp orange zest
- 1 egg
- 70g (¼ cup) unsulfured molasses
- 200g (1 cup) icing sugar
- 1to 2 Tbsp orange juice and 1 Tbsp orange zest

1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, allspice. Set aside.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, both sugars and orange zest on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in egg and molasses to combine. With mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture, beating until just incorporated.

3. Turn out the dough onto a clean work surface. Divide in half, shape into flattened disks and wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate at least one hour or overnight.

4. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F) and line to baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
Remove dough from the refrigerator, and let stand until slightly soften. (this will help keep the dough from cracking when rolled.)
On a large piece of parchment paper lightly dusted with flour, roll the dough thinly out. Place the dough and parchment paper on another baking sheet (or a tray) and freeze until very firm, about 15 minutes.

5. Remove dough from freezer, working quickly, cut out large cookies with cookie cutters or your self invented ones with a knife. Using a wide metal spatula (or a cake-slice) transfer cut-outs to prepared baking sheets and bake, rotating sheets halfway through, for 12 to 15 minutes, until crisp but not darkened. - they will harden more when they cool! -
Transfer cookies and parchment paper to a wire rack to cool completely. Decorate if you want.
Cookies can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.


sift the icing sugar above a bowl and pour in enough orange juice to get a very thick glace. Add the orange zest and mix well. It is better to get a glace that is too thick than a soft, runny one! Spoon the glace onto the cookies and wait a minute or so till it's completely hard.

Wednesday, September 6


Some days I just crave for sweet. Often something in particular and once I’ve figured out what exactly, I just want to get a move on and make it as soon as I can. (or simply buy it of course…)
Well, last weekend I had this distinct urge for kletskoppen. Kletskoppen are caramelized peanut biscuits and beloved old-Dutch cookies.
Although you can buy them in every supermarket and almost every bakery sells them fresh, I decided to make them myself. I found many, many recipes on the net, all quite similar, so I just merged a few different ones, added to taste some more peanuts and finally ended up with this.

Figurative is a kletskop in Dutch someone who talks a lot and superficial, but this biscuit got its peculiar name - literally translated means it smack head - as a result of the preparation; when you put the dough on the baking sheets, you have to klets (smack) the tops with the back of a spoon and make them as thin as you can. This way you will get a lovely crispy cookie.

A kletskop is made of almost only sugar and will melt in the oven to a delicious crispy biscuit with little holes in it. They are sweet and crunchy, great to nibble on or served with dessert. ice cream for example.

Kletskoppen (makes 20 if you don’t snack to much of the dough…)

- 50 g peanuts, finely chopped
- 125 g brown castor sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 55 g butter, melted
- 50 g all-purpose flour

1. Preheat the oven to 200 ° C and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Mix in a standard mixing bowl castor sugar, cinnamon powder and salt. Add the melted butter and mix until well blended. Add in parts the flour and chopped peanuts and mix until you’ll have a compact dough.

3. Shape little balls, about a tablespoon full, and place them with 10 cm space between them on the baking sheets. Smack them with the back of a spoon out as thinly as you can. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes until melted, paper-thin and golden brown. Leave them to cool and harden on the baking sheets and keep in an airtight box.