Though popular at Christmas, these Dutch spiced biscuits are traditionally baked for Het Sint Nicolaasfeest (December 6th), which marks the start of the festive season. The dough is traditionally shaped using hand-carved wooden moulds before baking, but can be substituted for plain rounds.
- 250 g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 150 g (firmly packed) brown sugar
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp each ground nutmeg, ginger and cardamom
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- 150 g cold unsalted butter
- rice flour (optional), to dust
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Chilling time 30 minutes
Process flour, baking powder, sugar, spices, ¼ tsp salt and butter in a food processor until mixture forms fine breadcrumbs. Add 1 tbsp iced water and process until mixture just comes together. Turn out onto a work surface, form into a ball, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm.
Preheat oven to 170°C. Line an oven tray with baking paper. Roll dough into golf ball-size balls and press into a 6 cm-round mould dusted with rice flour. (If you're not using a mould, simply flatten the portions with the palm of your hand to form rounds.) Trim excess dough, then turn out onto the lined tray and repeat with remaining dough, dusting the mould between each batch. Refrigerate for 20 minutes to help the biscuits keep their shape. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Store biscuits in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Photography by John Laurie.
As seen in Feast magazine, December 2011, Issue 4. For more recipes and articles, pick up a copy of this month's Feast magazine or check out our great subscriptions offers here.