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Dutch Pepernoten Recipe

Dutch Pepernoten Recipe

Pepernoten is a small, round cookie that originates from the Netherlands, made from a blend of warm spices, including cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Traditionally the snack is enjoyed during the Sinterklass celebration (a Dutch holiday celebrated on December 5th) and are popular during the Christmas period throughout the country. 

Origin & Cultural Significance

Sinterklaas is the Dutch version of Santa Claus, who according to Dutch folklore, arrives in the Netherlands from Spain on a steamship filled with gifts and treats for the children – including pepenoten. Pepenoten is said to represent the lumps of coat that Sinterklass leaves in the shoes or boots of badly behaved children. 

Nowadays, the snack is enjoyed by everyone during the festive season and is often shared among friends and families during gift exchanges at Christmas. The cookies are made using rye flour, sugar, and anise, and occasionally with cinnamon and and cloves. The biscuits are chewy when fresh, and harden over time. 

Pepernoten also has deep roots as a fertility symbol, and traditionally families with new-borns would hide carrots under the baby’s pillow which would attract Sinterklass who would shower the child in pepernoten in order to bless them. Pepernoten is also traditionally thrown into rooms full of children who then search for the snacks.

Dutch Pepernoten

Dutch Pepernoten Recipe

Yield: 24
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Pepernoten is a small, round cookie that originates from the Netherlands. The cookies are made from a blend of warm spices, including cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.


  • All-purpose flour - 1 cup
  • Brown sugar - 1/4 cup
  • Butter (softened) - 1/4 cup
  • Milk - 2 tbsp
  • Baking powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Ground cinnamon - 1/2 tsp
  • Ground cloves - 1/4 tsp
  • Ground nutmeg - 1/4 tsp
  • Salt - 1/4 tsp


  1. In a mixing bowl, cream together softened butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Add milk to the butter-sugar mixture and mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together all-purpose flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, ground nutmeg, and salt.
  4. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing until a dough forms.
  5. Preheat your oven to 325°F (160°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Roll the dough into small balls, about 1/2 inch in diameter, and place them on the prepared baking sheet, leaving some space between each ball.
  7. Flatten each ball slightly with the back of a spoon or your fingers.
  8. Method Continued:
  9. Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, or until the pepernoten are golden brown and firm to the touch.
  10. Remove from the oven and let them cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  11. Once cooled, store the pepernoten in an airtight container at room temperature.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 44Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 51mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 0gSugar: 2gProtein: 1g

Nutrition is provided and calculated by Nutritionix. It is for general information purposes and is only a rough estimation.

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