I left out the powdered sugar because the pie was already sweet enough.
If you have ever flown Delta, you have probably had those delicious Biscoff cookies. They are basically Speculaas/Speculoos cookies and they are delicious. You may also be familiar with Speculoos Cookie Spread from Trader Joes. It is basically just as addicting and delicious as Nutella and I found a recipe here for a pie using both of these!
I left out the powdered sugar because the pie was already sweet enough.
Smashed Biscoff cookies and butter make up the crust.
If you want, you can top the pie with whipped cream, 2 crushed cookies and melted cookie butter/Biscoff spread.
While I was at my parent's house for the holidays, my sister and I tried another recipe from the Dominique Ansel Cookbook. We originally wanted to make another flavor of the At-Home Cronut but we did not have the time so we went for the Apple Tart Tatin instead. It turned out to be a great choice!
uIf you don't have the Dominique Ansel Cookbook (which you need to get!), here is the recipe. This was our first attempt and we learned some lessons: 1. We need to use a proper pan next time because the muffin tin we used in lieu of six 3-inch cake pans did not submerge the entire apple, even at the end when the apple shrunk so one end did not get fully caramelized. 2. We need to buy creme fraiche ahead of time because Publix did not carry it and after trying to make our own with buttermilk and heavy cream we forgot to refrigerate it after the allotted time and I'm pretty sure I spoiled the creme fraiche. 3. Allot 2 hours for the actual cooking because we though, at first glance, the recipe said 30 minutes but you are supposed to press the apples down at 30 minute intervals 4 times. Okay, now you're ready!
Gather your ingredients:
Make the cookies that will serve as the base (the dough needs to refrigerate overnight after rolling it):
Make the caramel:
I had to cut a good amount off the sides of the apples because they did not fit into the sad little muffin tins but we made it work )one apple broke because my sister and I don't know our own strength so my sister tied it - ingenuity).
Not pretty but that's just because this end did not reach the caramel.
The other side turned out awesome and the tarts were absolutely delicious! I had never had anything like this. The apple basically absorbs the caramel and becomes this amazing, juicy, sweet, perfectly-balanced refreshing circle of goodness. You would think that the caramel would make these too sweet and gooey but they are actually super refreshing. These babies are worth buying the 3-inch cake pans for! These are supposed to be garnished with creme fraiche but we spoiled ours so we suffered and went without. Still delicious. Go try it!
Sinterklaas is back in the Netherlands and after a rough week in the world between Kenya, Lebanon and Paris, I decided to make some traditional Dutch treats eaten between mid November to December 5th when Sinterklaas is in the country. Sinterklaas is St. Nicholas and is where the concept of Santa Claus came from (the Dutch - not the Germans - don't let anyone tell you otherwise) brought this tradition to America and it was later morphed into the current concept of Santa). Sinterklaas was a former holy man from the area of Turkey who used to bring clothes to poor children and freed slaves. Story goes that after being freed, these former slaves decided to help St.Nicholas carry out his work. Currently, Sinterklaas and his helpers (Zwarte Piet - Black Pete) live in his mansion in Spain. Mid-November they sail on a huge steamboat with presents and candy for all of the children in the Netherlands. This event actually takes place and is broadcasted on national television. A city is chosen in advance and the major of this city will greet Sinterklaas and lead him and his helpers through the city. From this day until December 5th when Sinterklaas gives presents to kids on his birthday, you can put your shoe by the chimney - or a door if your house does not have one - and sing songs and put some water or carrots for Sinterklaas' horse and in the morning, it will be filled with traditional candy and/or treats. It's amazing.
Below is a picture of my brother, sister and I (I'm on the left) at the annual Sinterklaas event in our neighborhood where all of the kids in the area get to personally meet Sinterklaas and his helpers a few days before the night where we get presents from his. The look on my brother's face basically sums up how exciting this whole Sinterklaas ordeal is.
Since you cannot get pepernoten in the States unless you order them from a place like this, here is a recipe to make your own.
The first step is making Speculaas mix. If you have this, you can skip this step. Here is what you need:
3 3/4 tbsp cinnamon
1 1/4 tbsp nutmeg
1 1/4 tbsp ground cloves
little less than 2 tsp anise (if you can, buy powdered because it was a pain to grind these seeds since I do not have a pestle and mortar)
little less than 2 tsp white pepper
little less than 2 tsp ground coriander
little less than 1/4 tsp ginger
Grind all ingredients - they should be powder - and mix them together. This will make about 6 tbsp. For the pepernoten, you only need 1 1/2 so save your extra!
2 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup PLUS 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
7 tbsp chilled butter
3 1/2 tbsp milk
1 1/2 tbsp speculaas mix
1. Preheat oven to 340 degrees fahrenheit.
2. Beat butter until it is soft
3. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, dark brown sugar, milk and speculaas mix to the butter and kneed with your hands until it is fully mixed.
4. Roll little balls (a good rule of thumb is how much dough you can pick up just between your thump and index finger) and put them on a lined baking sheet.
5. Press down lightly
6. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes ( I couldn't fit all of the pepernoten on one sheet so I did a smalls second batch).
Traditionally, pepernoten are mixed with a few different candies but since I could not find any of those here, I just threw in some English Licorice (all-sorts) because they're delicious.
My amazing sister has mastered Dominique Ansel'd Mini Madeleines and I helped her make a batch last time we both visited our parents. And by help, I mean watch and take pictures. You can find the recipe here but I highly recommend getting his cookbook. It's fantastic! It's the same cookbook we used when we made out attempt at his at-home Cronuts.
Get your ingredient together (and make sure you have a mini madeleine pan!) and prep your batter the day before you plan on making the madeleines.
The recipe calls for incorporating the eggs by making a well in the center of the flour.
This fun video is a great tool to reference how to do this. Start at time 2:29 and enjoy!
Add the butter, brown sugar and honey mixture and then add the orange and lemon zest.
Leave the batter in the refrigerator covered overnight. The next day you are ready to made delicious mini madeleines!
It will take several batches to use all of the batter. It took us 5 but they only take about 10 minutes each so it goes very fast. Just a warning - you may end up eating half to a full batch as you are baking because ether are amazing fresh out of the oven. Depending on the type of honey you use, the middle of the madeleines can puff up in the middle - this is normal so no worries.
Dip those suckers in chocolate if you'd like to turn it up a notch. The madeleines are actually super flavorful on their own but we wanted to add colorful sprinkles and chocolate was the best way to do that.
This post was inspired by my fun lemon print Keds by Kate Spade. It was further encouraged by Phil Dunphy's quote from Modern Family. That guy is hilarious:
I have not yet figured out how to make lemons out of lemonade but making lemonade out of lemons is super easy. Not as cool but more delicious.
This recipe serves 2
3 lemons (plus one for garnish)
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups water
Juice the lemons and remove any seeds. Dissolve the sugar in the water (this can take a little while). Add the lemon juice and refrigerate for a refreshing home-made beverage. Easy peasy.
About the Author
Born and raised in the Netherlands, I now work as a designer in NYC. I love trying new things, candy and the color orange. In this blog, I will post about things I've learned and things I love. Veel plezier!