It has been a while since I’ve posted a recipe. With the end of my MA classes and diving back into teaching, I’ve been preoccupied with the transition rather than baking and cooking. This week I am going to present my research project in the second level research class at MacEwan University where I teach part time, and it seemed like a good time to add another recipe. I was asked to come to the class after I received a student research award for the project from the Public Ethnography site—an honor that I am both surprised and honored by. I thought this cookie recipe would be perfect because I can bring my cookie press into the class and bake with the students. If I am going to talk about sensory ethnography, it seems only fitting to bring in as many senses as I can into my presentation.
Kniepertjes is another Christmas cookie recipe in our house, perhaps because Christmas is a time to return to those old, family recipes. In the Netherlands they are traditionally a New Year’s cookie, so we aren’t too far off. Apparently the literal translation is “little pinchies.” You need a press. They are not easy to find, and while an Italian pizzelle press works, the grooves are too deep. I have a Norwegian Krumkake press which has a flatter design.
This recipe comes to be through my mom, and I think from my grandmother. I’ve tried other recipes, but they don’t make the dough in the consistency I like, more like a soft cookie dough. The dough is rolled like a cookie and placed between the presses. The thicker dough means that it is less messy than other more liquid versions, but it is still soft enough that you can make a nice crisp, thin cookie. The flavour is subtle with a little caramel from the brown sugar and a nice wafting taste of almond that makes them smell so good when they cook. I am sure by now you’ve realized that the Dutch have a thing for almond flavouring.
Until recently, although I’ve eaten these cookies annually, I’ve never made them because they require the specialized press. Now that I have one, I see no reason to restrict our consumption to the holiday seasons—besides, it seems healthier to spread out our cookie intake throughout the year. It is a hands on process because they cook (and burn quickly) so you have to pay attention and keep moving while you bake. It is best to not have many distractions while you make these cookies. They are, however, less complicated than stroopwafels which are made with the same press then filled with caramel filling.
You can have some fun with these cookies. The original is laid flat and eaten plain, which is tasty, but you can also shape them while they are still hot (although you do have to work quickly and be prepared for scorched fingers). You can roll them up into “rollechjes” or cones or place into or over a bowl. We’ve dipped them in chocolate, filled them with whipped cream, and used them as dessert dishes such as ice cream or mousse. So many delicious possibilities!
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp almond flavouring
3 ¼ cup flour
- Cream butter and sugars.
- Beat in eggs and flavour extracts.
- Stir in flour.
- Leave in dough fridge for 1-2 hours (Sometimes when I am in a rush, I skip this step and it still works fine).
- Roll into small balls.
- Press in iron until lightly golden colour (Depending on the heat of your iron, this only take 30-60 seconds).
- Shape immediately into cone, bowl, roll, or lay flat (Be careful, they are HOT fresh off the press!).
- Let cool completely before storing in an air tight container.