Chili Pepernoten – Dutch Sinterklaas Spicy Cookie

Oh, this is my new love in Sinterklaas treats: chili pepernoten! In Holland, Sinterklaas has arrived in our cold country to give the Dutch kids presents. He stays here a few weeks and leaves again after our ‘pakjesavond’ where he brings a big bag of presents to every house on the 5th of December. Sinterklaas is the Dutch Santa Claus.


I love spices and especially some chili spice! Dutch Pepernoten (traditional Sinterklaas treats) are made with loads of lovely spices from Asia (Indonesia used to be a Dutch colony). But they are not traditionally made with real chili powder.

Time to change this. I’ve added 3/4 of a teaspoon chili powder into the dough mix for that extra punch at the end.

I’ve kept the dough in the fridge overnight so that the spices get the chance to suck into the dough thoroughly.

This recipe is enough for about 35 chili pepernoten and they are ready in 5 quarters of an hour (including 30 minutes resting time in the refrigerator, but better is overnight).


  • 125 grams of self-raising flour
  • 100 grams of dark brown caster sugar
  • 50 grams of real butter
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 1,25 teaspoon of cinnamon (5 X 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon clove
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ginger
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp aniseed
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 3/4 tsp chili powder


The dough turns into a dark brown ball because almost everything that goes through the flour has a dark color. It is a firm, somewhat dry dough (that’s okay), but you can make it into a ball. Adding a few tablespoons of water, makes the dough easier to mix.

Just out of the fridge, it looks like a stone. Let it rest on the kitchen counter for a while, and gently knead it a bit. Take off a little piece. Knead that for 2 seconds and form it into a ball the size of a marble. Place it on an oven dish covered with parchment paper.

I try to keep them even sized, but I do not weigh the dough. I like the fact that they are all a bit different ;-). Makes them look bold and robust. But don’t make the sizes too different, because otherwise they will not bake evenly.


I bake my chili pepernoten at 160 degrees Celsius for 14 minutes. Depending on the size of the ‘pepernuts’, you have to bake them longer or shorter.

I let them cool down on the baking tray. They come out tender but quickly become crispy. The bigger ones stay a bit chewy inside …. oh so delicious! If they stay tender than pop them back in to the oven for another 5 minutes. Even if they are still soft the next day, you can easily bake them again for a few minutes and they will be fine!

Jopen beer: Oost-Indië Porter (East-Indies) 

This Dutch Jopen craft beer is a limited edition. I live near the Jopen brewery so I’m often able to try out their new brews. I love this Oost-Indië Porter. This beer is comparable to the beer that was taken on Dutch ships to the Dutch East Indies.

And what is the case: my spicy chili pepernuts fit perfectly with the bitter, sweet flavor of the Porter. Yum!

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