StNicholasCenter.org

Traditional St. Nicholas Spice Cookies

Sinterklaas enjoying Speculaas
Postcard, Netherlands
St Nicholas Center Collection

Speculaas Koekjes (Dutch Spice Cookies)

Thirteen-year-old Lisa Jaarsma of Pella, Iowa, says, “I brought these cookies to the Marion County fair, where I received a top ribbon for them. From there they went to the Iowa State Fair where I received a blue ribbon and the special Meredith Award for them.” Lisa adapted this recipe from one used by the first settlers of Pella. Lisa’s father Ralph owns Pella’s Jaarsma Bakery which features many traditional Dutch pastries. These cookies are usually formed in wooden cookie board molds, traditionally in the shape of St. Nicholas, they’re often called “St. Nick” cookies.


St. Nicholas Cookie 
2 cups brown sugar
1 ½ cups butter or hard margarine
3 ½–4+ cups flour
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp salt, scant
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¾ teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon ginger

Cream butter and sugar. Add remaining ingredients and mix, adding enough flour to form a very stiff dough. Press well-chilled dough into cookie boards (flour mold well, press dough in with fingers, level it off, then turn the board over and bang one end on the counter so the cookie drops out).* Place on cookie sheet and bake at 350º F. for 10 to 12 minutes. Store in sealed container to retain crispness.

*To use withRycraft Cookie Stamp: wipe stamp lightly with oil to help prevent sticking. Form dough into 1-inch balls, (roll in granulated sugar), place on ungreased cookie sheet, and stamp immediately. If design disappears, add more flour to dough. If dough begins to stick, brush particles from stamp and treat again with oil.

*Or shape into cylinder of desired size and chill thoroughly in covered container. Slice and bake as above. Makes six dozen this way.The Bread Monk describes making St. Nicholas Cookies with tips for using this recipe in a terra cotta mold.

Sources for St. Nicholas cookie boards and stamps

Adapted from Dutch Touches: Recipes and Traditions, compiled by Carol Van Klompenburg and Dorothy Crum, Penfield Press, 1966.
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