10 Delicious & Famous Dutch Cookies
When you think of the Netherlands, you probably think of windmills, cycling, cheese, and Amsterdam.
However, the Dutch have a less well-known culture of drinking tea and eating cookies. Cookie baking in the Netherlands goes back to the 14th century, when in the Eastern parts of the country cookies were as everyday as bread.
The Dutch eat more than 18 kg of baked goods a year, more than anyone else in Europe. So let’s round-up some of the most popular Dutch cookies out there.
One of the most well-known cookies originating from the Netherlands is the Stroopwafel. Today, it is eaten around the world.
It is made with two very thin waffles held together with a caramel syrup. The cookie was first made in the city of Gouda, which you might know from the famous Dutch cheese with the same name. It is thought that this cookie first appeared around the 19th century.
You can buy Stroopwafels in every supermarket but to get the best ones in town, it is best to go the Dutch street markets, where they make the waffles directly in front of you.
When eating a Stroopwafel with a warm cup of tea or coffee, place the waffle on top of the cup to soften up the syrup inside.
2. Roze Koek
This could be a discussion of its own: is roze koek a cake or a cookie? Whichever your opinion, it can’t be excluded from a list of famous Dutch cookies as it is a very popular snack eaten around the whole country.
The roze koek is a flat cake topped with a layer of pink fondant. On important days in the year, the pink fondant turns Dutch orange, for Kingsday, for example, when the Dutch celebrate the birthday of their king.
There are multiple theories about where the roze koek originated. According to some, it was first made in Amsterdam before World War II and originally called Moesselientjes and were mainly sold in Italian ice-cream parlors.
Where the German have a tradition of eating gingerbread around the Christmas holidays, the Dutch have their own spiced shortcrust biscuit called Speculaas.
This delicious cookie contains a mixture of white pepper, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and cardamom. It is mostly eaten around the celebration of St Nicholas, which is a popular feast on the 5th of December.
The shape of Speculaas is made with a special wooden plank that comes in different shapes and figures. Once the dough is rolled over the plank it forms a figure on top. For this reason they are also called Dutch windmill cookies as that is a common image.
No one is sure where the name Speculaas came from as there are different theories. The most logical explanation is that the name derives from the process of spicing the dough.
Sprits are a very crunchy and simple cookie that has existed for over 400 years. The batter is made with flour, butter, sugar, and egg. Once made, it is placed in a piping bag to make long strips of dough on a baking tray. Once they come out of the oven, the cookies are immediately cut into pieces to get the perfect sized Sprits.
It is highly likely that Sprits came from Germany. The name is probably derived from the German word Spritzkuchen, which refers to how Sprits are made.
However, the Dutch rather cling on to a different theory of where Sprits originated. They say it was the other way around and that the Dutch introduced Sprits to the German royals back in the 16th century.
5. Gevulde Koek
If you say coffee or tea in the Netherlands, you often say Gevulde koek at the same time. This cookie is made with a buttery dough and has a delicious almond paste on the inside. The Gevulde koek is characterized by the single almond sitting on top of the pastry.
Around 1510, they found the first recipes in the Netherlands with almond paste, so it is a logical conclusion that the Gevulde koek was first made soon after that.
This particular cookie has different names in different parts of the country. In some southern parts of the Netherlands it’s called Gevulde herenkoek, which means a stuffed gentlemen’s cookie. This suggests that this cookie was a luxury back in the day.
Although this Dutch snack doesn’t originate from the Netherlands, it certainly belongs on the list with most famous Dutch cookies.
It goes all the way back to the time of Ancient Egypt, where this baked good was made from grains, honey, and spices. It was not until spices became available in Europe around the 15th and the 16th century that this cookie made his way over to the Netherlands.
There are a lot of variants of Ontbijtkoek, with extra ingredients such as raisins, apple, or nuts. Ontbijtkoek is also famous for being used in playing the game koekhappen, where people eat slices that are hung from a rope, blindfolded and without using their hands.
If you want to make it a bit easier for yourself, just get cup of coffee and a slice of this delicious snack with a layer of butter on top.
Once you take a bite out of this delicious thin and crunchy cookie, you won’t be able to stop yourself taking another. The ingredients of this authentic cookie are flour, sugar, almonds, and butter.
Kletskoppen get their crunchiness from the almonds used in the recipe. They are crushed first but not too fine, which makes the cookie snappy.
Once the cookie dough is formed, the Kletskoppen are baked in the oven. They were first made in the city of Leiden around the 16th century.
Bitterkoekjes were around in medieval times. The name bitterkoekje comes from the fact that they use bitter almonds rather than normal ones. The almonds are processed first because they contain prussic acid, a solution of cyanide and water. Never eat too many!
Bitterkoekjes used to be served when people got engaged. The sweet of the sugar and the bitterness of the almonds stood for the highs and lows of a marriage.
The Italian version of a Bitterkoekje is an Amaretti, but they use sweet almonds not bitter.
Odenkoeken are made from the most traditional ingredients cookie ingredients you can think of: sugar, flour, and butter. Odenkoeken are a large, round, thin shortbread cookies that were first made around 1872 by a famous baker in Alkmaar.
Because it is a shortbread biscuit, it is perfect for dipping in a cup of tea to get you through a cold winter’s day.
10. Amsterdamse Koggetjes
As the name suggests, this biscuit originates from Amsterdam, where it was first made during a baking competition in 1934. The competition wanted a cookie to represent the city of Amsterdam. Nowadays, this cookie is sold around the whole country.
This crunchy, snappy cookie contains butter, sugar, flour, and egg. But the special ingredient is bits of caramelized sugar baked in the dough.
Related: Popular Dutch Christmas Foods
Related: Most Popular Dutch Desserts
Related: Most Popular Dutch Food
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Great article! I lived in Netherlands for about a decade and it was interesting to read about the food I used to eat when I did. Ik mis het zo erg!