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How to make it: Janneke Hendrikx’s pepernoten recipe

These tiny festive cookies are traditionally associated with St Nicholas celebrations on 5 December, and are flavoured with warm spices that were imported from Indonesia during the colonial era. Children in the Netherlands eat them like sweets; Janneke enjoys them as an accompaniment to afternoon tea or coffee

How to make it: Janneke Hendrikx’s pepernoten recipe
Traditional pepernoten biscuits. Image: Celia Topping

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Makes: 40 biscuits
Takes: 30 mins, plus minimum 2 hrs resting

Ingredients
125g self-raising flour
125g white granulated sugar
30g unsalted butter, softened
1 medium egg
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground aniseed
½ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground white pepper

Method
1 Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix together, along with 1 tsp salt. Tip onto a lightly floured surface and knead into a soft dough, adding 1-2 tbsp milk if the mixture is too stiff.
2 Shape the dough into a smooth ball, wrap in clingfilm and leave in the fridge overnight if possible, or for at least a couple of hours, to allow the flavour to develop.
3 Preheat the oven to 200°C, fan 180°C, gas 6. Roll small pieces of dough into balls roughly ½cm in diameter. You should end up with about 40.
4 Place the balls about 2cm apart on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Press down lightly with your fingers.
5 Bake for 15 mins until golden brown, then cool on a wire rack.

Read Christie Dietz’s feature on cooking with the Hendrikx family.

As featured in Issue 4 of National Geographic Traveller Food.