Pantry recipes: speculaasbrokken, kruidnootjes en pepernoten

All over the world you have traditional recipes which come from times where people would bake things at home from the most simple ingredients. Today, on special request,  some recipes from the Dutch tradition: speculaasbrokken, kruidnootjes en pepernoten. These cookies are eaten during the winter months. Kruidnoten en pepernoten are a part of the Dutch Sinterklaas tradition. Sinterklaas is a celebration for children held on the 5th of december. Sinterklaas lives in Spain and comes to the Netherlands every year and gives the children presents on his birthday. He has helpers and they carry the cookies in large jute bags and throw them at the children.

Important for the speculaasbrokken and the kruidnootjes are the spices. I make a lot at the same time and use it in a lot of baked cakes, breads and even sprinkle it on apple crisps before I dehydrate them:

Speculaas spices

  • 4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground mace
  • 1/3 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/5 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1/5 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/5 tsp ground coriander seeds
  • 1/5 tsp ground anise seeds
  • 1/5 tsp grated nutmeg


  • 150 gram soft butter
  • 125 gram pancake syrup
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 300 gram wheat flour ( I use home grinded wheat which I sieve through my flour sieve)
  • 10 grams speculaas spices
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Mix the butter and the pancake syrup when it is well mixed mix in the milk. Mix the flour, spices and the baking soda. Mix it into the butter mixture. Leave the dough on a cold place (not in the fridge). Divide the dough into 3 balls and rol them out until 1 cm thickness. Put them on a baking tray. You can put some egg or milk on top of it to give it a nice glance after baking.

Bake for 20 minutes at 175 degrees Celcius in the middle of the oven.


  • 200 gram selfraising flour
  • 100 gram soft butter
  • 100 gram brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp milk (room temperature)
  • 2 tbsp speculaas spices

Mix all the ingredients well, you can use your kitchen mixer, into a dough and form about 200 balls. Put these on a greased baking tray and bake for 12 minutes at 170 degrees Celsius.


Pepernoten are also small cookies, they taste completely different then Kruidnoten. Kruidnoten are crispy, like all Speculaas recipes, whereas Pepernoten look more like the consistency as Lebkuchen. You can use this recipe as Lebkuchen. If you are going to use it as Lebkuchen which you are going to decorate with sugar glace use 50 grams less cane sugar or honey.

  • 175 gram pancake syrup
  • 250 gram cane sugar or honey
  • 1.5 dl buttermilk (or 1/4 less when you use honey)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tbsp grinded cinnamon
  • 1 teasp allspice
  • 1 pinch grinded cloves
  • 2 teasp grinded anise seeds
  • 700 gram wheat flour ( I use sieved home grinded wheat)
  • 1/2 tbsp baking soda

Heat the sweetners with the buttermilk while stirring constantly untill all the sugar is dissolved. Leave the mixture untill it is cold again. Beat the spices and the egg in the cold mixture. Mix the flour and the baking soda in a big bowl. Put the cold syrup/buttermilk mixture in the bowl and start stirring from the middle to the sides of the bowl untill it formed a dough which is firm but a bit sticky. Leave the mixture for 12-24 hours at room temperature. Roll the dough out and cut into small pieces.

Bake for 15 minutes at 175 degrees Celcius