Monday, December 04, 2006

More on Sinterklaas - raw pepernoten recipe

It was all about Sinterklaas yesterday.. woke up, wrote poems in bed.. got a plan. Spent the day out shopping.. lots of stores, lots of bags. But the beauty about Sinterklaas is that originality and personal effort and thought are more the emphasis rather than the commercial value of the gift. I love that. So apparently the table is set with chocolate letters as place-cards.. there are gingerbread men ‘speculaasplank’ and a big basket of mysterious gifts to be opened later. In some traditions the gifts are hidden, treasure hunt style around the house and found.. maybe then they go in the basket. Each gift is wrapped with a poem attached which gets read aloud 1st in front of everyone before the present gets unwrapped. The poem is an old custom and one of the most challenging parts of the tradition. The day is all about fun and making fun of people in a friendly way is part of it. The poem enclosed has to do with the recipient, or the gift or both.. habits, love interests, foibles, habits, embarrassing incidents are all fair game. After the present is opened, the recipient thanks Sinterklaas as all the gifts are given technically anonymously and really come from Sinterklaas.

So I shopped, which was easy, small presents for everyone, it was easier and more fun than Christmas shopping, but to be honest I got some of that done also. Then came home prepared dinner, made Dutch chocolate hearts.. my raw chocolate cookies in the shape of hearts. Chocosol sells my cookies at their chocolate bar, they are getting heart shaped ones this week. ..and I made Pepernoten (Ginger Nuts) with a special traditional spice blend, which can include cinnamon, powdered cloves, nutmeg, powdered coriander, allspice, aniseed, ginger, cardamom, & mace. The proportions being a question of taste.. each chef has his own secret blend. The trick is to be careful with the strong spices and leave out the flavours you don’t like. my recipe is:


1c hazelnuts

1c almonds

1c dates

10 figs

1" ginger -minced

spice blend withaprox. 1t cinnamon, 1/2 t cloves & nutmeg, ground coriander and cardamom. I would have tried aniseed and allspice in there but I don't have those spices here. Roll into little balls, the size of a hazelnut.. mine are slightly bigger.

Have a great and beautiful day!

pic of cooked verson of pepernoten from

Raw chocolate letters coming next year!

(Dec 5th note: I am on holiday until Dec 7th.. unless something urgent comes up that I have a need to post. Lots to do! )

Happy Sinterklaas!

1 comment:

Cyan said...

So let the fun are great Robin...Love always.