Oh, it’s Sinterklaas* time again! It’s a good excuse to chill by the fireplace with a book and something tasty to eat. When I have some ‘me time’, I like to laze around and eat. I love savory food, but at this time of year, I also eat a bit more sweet stuff than usual. It’s good to indulge every now and then, but I make sure to do it without refined sugar. It might take some getting used to if you have a real sweet tooth, but once you get used to life without it, you’ll want it less. So get to work and make some naturally sweetened baked goods yourself! Below you’ll find a recipe for tasty pepernoten (mini gingerbread cookies) sweetened with coconut blossom sugar and dates for the holidays.
Note: In the Netherlands we celebrate Sinterklaas in November until the beginning of December. Sinterklaas is said to be the origin of Santa Claus. The Dutch tradition of Sinterklaas is one of the most typically Dutch traditions one can experience in the Netherlands (other than Queen’s Day). Sinterklaas refers to Sint Klaas, or Saint Nicholas in English. On December 5th, Dutch families get together and exchange gifts and eat lots of sweets including ‘pepernoten’.
5 days, in an airtight container
blender or food processor
baking sheet with parchment paper
140 g dates, pitted
40 g coconut blossom sugar
2 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
2 tsp speculaas spices (recipe: see topping) or all-spice
a pinch of sea salt
125 g spelt flour, preferably whole grain
50 g coconut oil, melted
a splash of water
pure chocolate, melted (a bain marie)
Soak the dates in water for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Combine the coconut blossom sugar, baking powder, spices, sea salt and spelt flour in a bowl and add the coconut oil. Knead into a dough. Drain the dates in a sieve and then chop coarsely. Put the chopped dates and a splash of water into the blender and process until finely mixed. If the dates stick to the sides of the blender, stop the blender every so often to scrape down the sides using a spatula. Combine the sticky date mixture with the dry dough and knead by hand until a soft, cohesive dough has formed. Shape it into a large ball. Pinch small amounts of dough off and roll them into smaller balls. Lay them on the parchment-lined baking sheet and repeat until the dough has been used up or about 50 have been placed on the baking sheet. Bake for about 25 minutes in the preheated oven. Keep your eye on them to make sure that they don’t get too dark, as every oven is different. Allow to cool.
Did you make this recipe?
Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with #powerfoodies and #renskroes. Enjoy!