Okay, the whole world has been off-lay for almost a year now, but there are also bright spots. I personally find it quite touching, for example, how in the tail of shit year 2020 we try with all our might to keep our spirits up by blowing up the festive month of December as if it were bubblegum; kind of like little kids trying to make their birthday last as long as possible by waking up insanely early.

At the beginning of November, I saw the first Christmas tree twinkling in the bay window of an upstairs apartment near me. And when I now, three weeks later and still November, take an evening walk, more windows are decorated with lights than not. Literal bright spots. As if to say: come, let’s allay all the fear, unease and loneliness that this pandemic has brought us by making our homes as cozy as possible.

A little less pleasant about that December bubble is that there have also been firecrackers set off for weeks. Although I am less annoyed by that than in other years. After all, the youth has the greatest right of all of us to be off the leg. Moreover, those bangs at the craziest times still give a vaguely festive end-of-year feeling. While it is, again, still only November.

Anyway, in view of all this I dare to admit that I baked the first kruidnoten earlier than ever this year. It was to be exact on the Sunday afternoon after the winter time had set in. I detest late afternoon darkness and this, the sweet smell of butter and warm spices that wafted from the oven through my kitchen and home, snuggling it under a blanket on the couch, a pot of tea and a bowl of Sinterklaas candies, was my peaceful resistance. against it. My own little bright spot.

Wait, let me give you the recipe. They weren’t standard spice nuts; I cheered them up a bit. Instead of ordinary wheat flour, I made them with a mixture of whole wheat spelled flour and spelled flour. I added some extra ginger powder for the spice and a good dash of brown rum for the sjeu. And for the festivity, when they came out of the oven, I decorated them with a sprig of dark chocolate.

With that, by the way, I warn you for a moment, they are spice nuts for grown-ups.

Spice nuts for grown-ups

For a tin full:

150 g wholemeal spelled flour;
150 g (spelt) flour;
10 g (tartar) baking powder;
10 g speculaaskruiden;
½ tsp ginger powder;
½ tsp salt;
150 g dark brown sugar;
125 g of cold butter;
3 tbsp brown rum;
1 –3 tbsp milk;
100 – 150 g dark chocolate (minimum 72 percent cocoa), finely chopped.

sieve both flours, the baking powder, the speculaas spices, the ginger powder and the salt in a bowl. Add the caster sugar and mix. Chop the butter on top, add the rum and knead quickly and with cool hands to a dough. Add as much milk as needed for consistency. Cover the bowl with cling film and let the dough rest in the fridge for at least an hour. (1 or 2 days of rest is also allowed, the taste will ripen and the spice nuts will only get better.)

Heat preheat the oven to 175 degrees. Roll the dough into small balls and place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Leave some space in between, otherwise you will end up with one large cake. (Use 2 baking trays if necessary.) Bake the kruidnoten in the middle of the oven for 20 – 25 minutes. Lift them off the baking tray with baking paper and all and let them cool.

Leave melt the chocolate in a bain-marie. Dip a spoon in it and make a zigzagging motion over the spice nuts. Let the chocolate harden well.