In the Netherlands there's a huge debate going on about our 'Sinterklaas' tradition. He's kind of like Santa Claus, except he celebrates his birthday on the 5th of december and that's when he hands out toys to all the kids. The problem is, instead of having a gnome as a helper, he has a guy called Black Pete. You can imagine this looks quite racist, though most people are convinced he is black by climbing down the chimney. Really. He is pitch black, and has an afro. And 'he got that by climbing down the chimney.' Not everyone's convinced. Hope you can see the problem.
As a kid I believed this, but as an adult I can see there is something wrong with it. Especially once you've looked in to the child slave history of our country. That used to be tradition too. It's the key word in this debate. Tradition. Some people say, leave it alone, it's a tradition, it is so old, it has been here for such a long time. But they also say, stop worrying about slavery, it is an old discussion, that was such a long time ago.
Well, while everybody is killing each other over this tradition, I say, the only tradition we need to keep is the food part. And we can always have more.
I was wondering why, in America, they eat ginger cookies and how come they are so simular to pepernoten in Holland, which we eat during 'sinterklaas'. Apparently in Germany and Denmark they eat something simular, 'pfeffernüsse' or 'pebernødder', during christmas. So it's made only during these weeks in the wintertime. But in America they eat gingerbread cookies during Christmas as well, but they also start during Halloween and even up to Easter.
Now that's what I'm talking about! I say, let's start eating any of these delicious cinnamon-ginger-cloves-kind-of-cookies or cakes right at the start of the autumn season and keep in eating it untill spring. By then we should be sick of it and we can start working on our other tradition; working on our unrealistic beach body wish. But for now: a recipe. Make them look like bats or ghosts for Halloween and make some Christmas trees or any kind of tree ornament during the Christmas season.
250 gr. self rising flour
125 gr. brown caster sugar (could be replaced by palm sugar)
150 gr. Butter
4 tbsp milk
and 10 gr. of these gorgeous pepernoten spices. To mix a batch:
4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp mace.
Here's how we did it:
First put all ingredients in a bowl, and start kneading [the best part for kids!]
After this, you have a big ball of dough. We divided it in half, so we could make the traditional 'pepernoten', small little cookies, and use the other half for making shapes.
After this, you bake the cookies in a pre-heated oven (160 degrees celsius) for about 15 - 20 minutes. Easy as that! Of course you can decorate them, but there's enough sugar in them the way they are right now.
Watch out; very addictive. Enjoy!