Peppernuts with Javanese Sugar – Sinterklaas Delights

Sinterklaas cookies filled with spekuk herbs

Every tradition has it’s own treats and pepernoten or peppernuts are part of the Dutch Sinterklaas tradition. They are super easy to make yourself. I like to add some extra flavors to these lovely tiny cookies so I add spekkuk or thousand layer cake spices to them!

Sinterklaas is the Dutch equivalent of Santa Claus. The Dutch Sinterklaas tradition was exported to the Americas 200 years ago and Sinterklaas became Santa Claus. Same old guy with red clothes and white beard who hands out presents to kids ;-).

Black Piet (zwarte Piet)

(Big difference: American Santa Claus does not have black Piet to help him. In Holland there is lot of discussion how to change this tradition into a more non-discriminating feast for everyone).

Herb Nut Cookies

To be totally correct about this Dutch tiny cookie; The Dutch call these ‘pepernoten’ but this is not the pepernoten of the old days. Traditional pepernoten are rough shaped gingerbread pieces.

The recipe I present here are for ‘kruidnoten’ translated in English: ‘herb nuts’. But because everybody calls them pepernoten in Dutch I do too. The gingerbread nuts are not eaten as often anymore as the kruidnoten.

Confused? Doesn’t matter. Let’s bake!

Dutch ‘Peppernuts’ with Spekuk Herbs


250 grams of self-raising flour
125 grams of gula Jawa
150 grams of margarine or butter (room temperature)
50 ml of milk
5 grams of “five spices” mix (black pepper, cloves, cinnamon, ginger and aniseed)
1 teaspoon cardamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
half a teaspoon salt

  1. Add all the ingredients into a bowl
  2. Knead together into one big ball
  3. Then into smaller balls almost the size of a jelly bean but with a round shape
  4. Then place on a baking sheet and press gently down to flatten it a bit. They will rise in the oven
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes in the middle of the oven at 160 degrees Celsius

When you take them out of the oven they are still soft. During cooling, they will firm up. You can decorate them if you like with icing or eatable pearls (but that is nut the traditional way, but the way I like it ;-).

I’ve made spicy peppernuts too, by the way. Check out the recipe here.

pepernoten met spekkoek kruiden

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