The Spice People
A freshly ground sweet spice mix is the starting point for these aromatic winter nuts. It can be bought ready packaged but home grinding and grating whole spices gives a fresh kick to these nuts. Traditionally the spice mix is 2:1 cinnamon to each of cloves, ginger and nutmeg with a lesser amount of white pepper. Intrepid bakers spice up this combination with cardamon, coriander, fennel and anise.
250 g flour 1 tsp baking powder 15 g traditional spice mix (speculaas) Salt, large pinch 125 g brown sugar 100 g butter 45 ml milk
Sift flour and baking powder into a large bowl, mixing in the spices and salt, add sugar, cut in the butter, the milk, one tablespoon at a time until the dough is firm but soft. Rest dough for one hour.
Preheat the oven to 150°C.
Cut the dough into 10 gram pieces, roll into balls and place on a lightly buttered baking tray.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, shorter for softer nuts, longer for harder.
Kruidnootjes are part of the gingerbread tradition associated with the spiced molded biscuits produced on Saint Nicholas Day – known as speculaas in Belgium and the Netherlands, spekulatius in Germany and as gingerbread throughout Europe.
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