Bake Mouthwatering Saint Nicholas Cookies – A Holiday Treat
As a baker, I have always been fascinated by the tale of Saint Nicholas and how it has inspired a range of seasonal treats, from the German stollen to the Italian panettone. However, one treat that holds a special place in my heart is the Saint Nicholas Cookies recipe, which combines the flavors and textures of Dutch speculaas cookies with the warmth and spice of gingerbread.
What I love about Saint Nicholas Cookies is that they are more than just a sweet treat. They are a way to connect with centuries of tradition and folklore, dating back to 4th century Turkey and spreading across Europe and beyond. The story of Saint Nicholas, also known as Sinterklaas or Santa Claus, has evolved over time but it continues to inspire families and communities to celebrate generosity, kindness, and faith.
Baking Saint Nicholas Cookies is not only a way to honor this legacy but also to share it with those around us. Whether you make them for your loved ones, your neighbors, or your community members, these cookies are sure to bring joy and comfort during the holiday season. So grab your apron, preheat your oven, and let’s dive into this delicious recipe that will transport you to another time and place – the feast day of Saint Nicholas!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Imagine the warm, spicy aroma of freshly baked cookies filling your kitchen, tempting you with their sweet deliciousness. Now imagine those cookies being a special treat for Saint Nicholas Day, adding to the festive holiday spirit. This is exactly what you will experience when you make these scrumptious Saint Nicholas cookies.
What makes this recipe so special? For starters, it’s a traditional recipe dating back to the 15th century when Dutch bakers were creating spice cookies to celebrate the feast day of their patron saint, Nicholas. These cookies have been passed down from generation to generation and continue to be enjoyed today.
Not only is this recipe steeped in history and tradition, but it also offers a unique blend of spices that distinguishes these cookies from other desserts. The combination of cinnamon, ginger, and cloves creates a warm and inviting flavor that’s perfect for this time of year.
Another reason to love this recipe is its versatility. You can make them in any shape you desire using cookie cutters or by hand. You can also decorate them with frosting or leave them plain to let the spices shine on their own.
Beyond its taste and charm, there’s something special about making Saint Nicholas cookies. It’s a fun activity that brings family and friends together in the kitchen. The end result is both beautiful and delicious! So go ahead and give this recipe a try – I promise you won’t be disappointed!
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make St. Nicholas Cookies:
- 1 1/2 cups butter
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
You can substitute the butter for margarine if you prefer, although the flavor and texture will be slightly different. Additionally, some variations of this recipe call for Dutch speculaas spice (a combination of cinnamon, cloves, and ginger), which can be used in place of the individual spices listed above.
It’s also worth noting that St. Nicholas Cookies go by many different names, including “speculaas cookies,” “spice cookies,” and “Dutch St. Nicholas cookies.” Whatever you call them, they’re sure to be a hit on December 6th (St. Nicholas Day) or any other day you choose to make them!
The Recipe How-To
To make Saint Nicholas Cookies, cream together butter, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar until fluffy. Then beat in eggs and vanilla. After that, add 2 cups of all-purpose flour mixed with baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, ground cloves to the mixture in installments. Beat on low speed after each addition until everything is combined.
Pro tip: For the best results at this stage, it’s critical not to over-mix the flour.
Shaping the Cookies
The traditional shapes for St. Nicholas cookies are bishops’ hats or crosses. You can use any cookie cutter of your choice if you don’t have these specific cutters! Roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1/4 inch then cut your desired shapes.
Tip: Keep a bowl of flour on standby to dip your cookie cutter into every time you cut out a shape so that the dough doesn’t stick.
Next, place the shapes onto a baking tray leaving space between them as they will expand during baking. Refrigerate the cookies for at least 30 minutes or put them in the freezer for around 10-15 minutes before baking for better results.
Baking Time & Temperature
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until lightly golden. These cookies are usually thin and crunchy when baked.
Tip: If you prefer soft and chewy cookies instead of thin and crunchy ones, add an extra egg yolk or 1-2 tablespoons of milk to the batter. Or try refrigerating the dough overnight before cutting and baking!
That’s it! Your homemade Saint Nicholas Cookies are now ready to be enjoyed with family and friends on St. Nicholas Day or any time during the holiday season!
Substitutions and Variations
As a baker, I know that experimenting with recipe variations can be a delightful experience. Here are some substitutions and variations for the Saint Nicholas Cookies recipe that you can try to create a unique twist on this traditional holiday treat.
– Spice Cookies: If you prefer spiced cookies rather than gingerbread cookies, you can substitute the ginger, cloves, and cinnamon with nutmeg and cardamom, or any other spices of your liking.
– Butter or Margarine: While this recipe suggests using butter, you can replace it with margarine for a vegan-friendly option. Just ensure that it’s at room temperature before creaming it with sugar.
– Brown Sugar: If you’re out of brown sugar or prefer a different taste, you can somewhat replicate the taste by combining white granulated sugar with molasses. For every cup of granulated sugar used, add two tablespoons of molasses and mix until well combined.
– Flour: While all-purpose flour is used in this recipe, you can try using self-raising flour to give the cookies an additional lift of fluffiness. Additionally, substituting part of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour can make for a tastier and healthier cookie.
– Shape and Decoration: The cookie cutter shapes do not have to be restricted to Saint Nicholas shapes only. You can use star or angel shape cutters to make this recipe in accordance with your holiday theme. Decorating the cookies with sprinkles, colored sanding sugars, or icing creates a perfect textured bite as you enjoy your baked goods.
By trying these variations and making them your own through personal preferences and possibilities created with existing ingredients. You will increase not only the enjoyment of the baking process but also make an extra special memory during Saint Nicholas day (December 6th). Whatever substitution or twist you choose from these options! Try whatever suits you best!
Serving and Pairing
Once your St. Nicholas Cookies are baked to perfection, it’s time to serve and savor them. These spiced cookies are perfect for any occasion, but they are especially popular during the feast day of St. Nicholas on December 6th.
To make the presentation even more festive, you can use a cookie cutter to shape the St. Nicholas tale bonus cookies into creative holiday scenes like decorated trees or reindeer. You can also decorate them with icing or festive sprinkles for added flair.
Pair these cookies with a warm cup of hot cocoa or milk for an extra cozy treat. The sweetness of the cookies pairs perfectly with the creaminess of the drinks, making it a great snack option for any time of day.
For an unexpected pairing, try serving these Dutch Speculaas St. Nicholas Cookies alongside a glass of red wine, such as Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. The spice notes in both the cookies and the wine complement each other perfectly, creating a sophisticated and memorable pairing.
Whichever way you choose to serve and pair these Saint Nicholas Cookies, they are sure to be a hit with friends and family alike.
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
If you’re planning on baking Saint Nicholas Cookies for a special occasion, one of the best things you can do is make them ahead of time. In fact, these spicy treats taste even better if you let them sit for a day or two before serving.
To do this, simply follow the recipe instructions and let the dough chill in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, you can easily roll and cut out the cookies and bake them fresh. Alternatively, you can also freeze the unbaked cookies for up to two months in an airtight container or a plastic bag.
Once baked, these cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week. You might even consider placing a slice of bread in the container with them to keep them moist and fresh.
But let’s say you’ve already baked your Saint Nicholas Cookies and now you’re wondering how best to reheat them. Well, there’s good news, because reheating these cookies is easy. Simply preheat your oven to 350F (175C), place the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and pop them in the oven for about five minutes. This will crisp them up nicely and bring back that delicious scent of cinnamon, clove, and ginger.
Overall, this recipe is versatile enough that you can make these cookies ahead of time and still enjoy fresh, delicious flavor. Whether you’re serving them at a special event or just want to have some tasty treats on hand for your family, these cookies are sure to delight everyone who tastes them.
Tips for Perfect Results
With a recipe as special as Saint Nicholas Cookies, perfect results are a must. Here are some tips and tricks to help you make the best cookies possible.
First of all, make sure you’re using fresh ingredients. Freshly made butter and light brown sugar will provide a better taste and texture to your Saint Nicholas Cookies. If possible, it’s worth getting fresh spices, particularly ginger and cinnamon, to get the most out of their flavors.
Secondly, it’s important not to overmix your dough. After adding flour, be sure to mix only until just combined. Overmixing will develop the gluten in the flour, which will make the cookies denser and less tender.
When shaping the cookies with cookie cutters or carving them by hand, try to keep them at an even thickness throughout. This will ensure that the cookies cook evenly and won’t end up burnt on some edges and undercooked in others.
It’s essential to chill your dough before baking, too! The colder the dough is when it goes in the oven, the less they will spread while baking. When cookies spread too much while baking, they lose their shape and don’t look or taste quite right.
Finally, don’t forget about timing. Be sure to keep an eye on your Saint Nicholas Cookies while baking – every oven is different, so 8-10 minutes may be just right for some ovens, but others may need more or less time.
Following these tips can help ensure that your Saint Nicholas Cookies turn out perfectly every time!
In conclusion, if you are a fan of holiday treats and are looking for something special to bake this season, I highly recommend trying out this delightful Saint Nicholas Cookies recipe. With its warm blend of spices and rich buttery flavor, these cookies are sure to impress even the pickiest of eaters.
Not only is this recipe simple to make, but it can also be easily customized to your own taste preferences or dietary restrictions. And with the flexibility to make substitutions and variations, you can easily adapt this recipe into a year-round favorite.
In addition to their delicious taste and versatility, these cookies also have a rich history behind them – dating back centuries to the Catholic Feast Day of Saint Nicholas. So why not take a step back in time and celebrate the origins of these delicious cookies with your family and friends?
Overall, I believe that this Saint Nicholas Cookies recipe is a must-have for any holiday baking repertoire. Decorate them with cookie cutters or sprinkles – let your creativity run wild! Trust me, once you’ve tried them, you’ll never want to make any other spiced cookie again. Happy baking!
Saint Nicholas Cookies Recipe
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup butter or 1 cup margarine
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup blanched almond, sliced
- Sift flour with spices in bowl. Add baking powder and salt; set aside.
- In large bowl of electric mixer, at high speed, beat butter with sugar and egg until mixture is very light and fluffy.
- With wooden spoon, stir in half of flour mixture, then beat in rest of flour mixture and almonds, mixing with hands, if necessary.
- Refrigerate dough, covered, several hours.
- Preheat oven to 350°F Lightly grease several cookie sheets.
- Remove 1/4 of the dough at a time from the refrigerator. With hand, flatten dough or roll out to 1/8-inch thick. Cut with cookie cutter.
- Repeat with rest of dough, 1/4 at a time. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown around edges.
- Remove cookies to wire rack; cool completely.
- Dust lightly with icing sugar. Store cookies in covered container.
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Steven is a chef by heritage, so it’s no wonder why baking is such a big part of who he is. To share his passion for all things sweet, he created cookiesncrepes.com. It’s the perfect platform to indulge in delicious treats, all with a sprinkle of his signature flare.