Sinterklaas, a Dutch tradition I think almost everyone has heard of by now. I mean, anyone remember the Black Pete ‘discussion‘ that started a few years ago?

I’m not going to vent my opinion about this discussion here. Since it’s a children’s party that holds a lot of fun memory’s for me. I remember staying with my grandparents and all of the sudden the doorbell would ring and there would be a huge bag filled with gifts for my aunt, brother and me.

This recipe is something that’s tradition as well: speculaas. It’s a type of cookie with loads of spices that’s being eating around Sinterklaas. It comes in all shapes and sizes. In small bites called ‘kruidnoten’, but also in bigger cookies. You can also get it as a spread to put on your sandwich. When I was younger I would sometimes be allowed to put a speculaas-cookie on my slice of bread (we didn’t have that spread when I was younger)


Now I could have made the pepernoten or do a traditional filled speculaas. But I find that the almond paste used in most of the recipes are heavy on the stomach. So in order to make it a little lighter I added lemon juice. I think it turned out pretty great (and so did the Mr.). This is a little bit more work because I’m making the paste myself and it needs the develop for a few days.


Almond paste

  • 100 gr. of almonds, skins removed
  • 100 gr. of sugar
  • half an egg-replacer (I used no-egg)
  • lemon juice


  • 200 gr. of cold butter
  • 215 gr. of spelt flour
  • 140 gr. of sugar
  • salt
  • 3 tablespoons of baking powder
  • 13 gr. of speculaas kruiden
    • 8 gr. cinnamon
    • 2 gr. of nutmeg
    • 2 gr. of cloves
    • 1 gr. ginger
    • 1 gr. of cardamom

So, a few days before you need this you need to make the almond paste. If you bought almonds with the skin still on. boil them for 3 minutes in water with added baking soda. Take them out and put them in cold water. After a few minutes rinse the almonds and peel of the skins. After that, roast them for about 15 minutes in a 180 degree oven. Leave to cool. When that’s cooled down put the almonds, sugar, egg replacement and lemon juice into a blender and blend until smooth. Wrap in clean film and put in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it. I believe you can store it for up to two weeks, but it also freezes well (also, a good option when this is more of a last minute thing).

When you are ready to make the skillet cookie. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, spices and sugar together. I put my mixture through a sieve for a more smooth flour mixture. Add in the cold butter and a little bit of milk if needed and knead until you have a nice ball of dough. Wrap in clean film and let the dough rest for about half an hour.

Pre-heat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Take your skillet and put some butter and flour on the inside. Roll out half of the dough and transfer onto the skillet. Spread the almond paste on top and cover with the rest of the dough. Cut off the excess dough and roll them into little balls (pepernoten). Bake for about 25-30 minutes (pepernoten only need 15)


Let it cool before taking it out.