christmas baking: kruidnoten (dutch christmas spice biscuits)

kruidnoten: Dutch Christmas spice cookies
I have never met a spice biscuit that I didn’t like and these little cookies are an absolute treat. While these cookies are popular in the Netherlands at Christmas, they are packed full of all the spices that we like in Britain too.

I suspect though that these kruidnoten are probably strictly for the grownups as despite the sugar and golden syrup they aren’t actually very sweet. They are fragrantly spiced with a distinctly peppery flavour and a hint of bitterness coming from the cocoa powder. Which I imagine, if you have children, means all the more for you!

By the way, if you don’t have all the spices to hand, replace them with two to three teaspoons of the classic British mixed spice.

Makes about 25 to 30
Skill level: Easy

200g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground mace
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground white pepper
1 tbsp cocoa powder
30g mixed peel (optional)
finely chopped zest of 1 x orange (optional)
160g golden syrup
75g butter
1-2 tbsp milk


  1. Sift all dry ingredients together.
  2. Add the mixed peel and/or the orange zest if using.
  3. Gently melt the golden syrup and the butter together, and then set aside to cool slightly.
  4. When the buttery syrup has cooled a little, stir this into the dry ingredients together with 1 to 2 tablespoons of milk (enough to bring the ingredients together in a dough). Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. (As well as firming up the dough, this allows the spices to get to know each other – a little bit of spice magic!)
  5. Pre-heat the oven to 180C / Gas Mark 4.
  6. Grease or line 1 or 2 baking trays.
  7. Give the dough a bit of a knead and a scrunch, just to loosen it up a bit.
  8. Break off a piece of dough, about the size of walnut. Roll into a ball with your hands (which is easier to do if your hands are slightly dampened with cold water).
  9. Place, well-spaced apart, on the prepared baking tray. Lightly flatten the top of each cookie (the end of a rolling pin works well but you could just use the palm of your hand). Bake in the middle of the oven for 10 minutes or until the cookies are lightly browned. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  10. Dust with icing sugar before serving.


  • If you don’t have all the spices to hand, replace them with 2 to 3 teaspoons of mixed spice.
  • Replace the golden syrup with about 50g soft brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of runny honey.


Unknown said...

now these look extra special... I love the spices, perfect as a christmas treat and I bet they have a wonderful chewy crunch to them too!

Marmaduke Scarlet said...

They are slightly crunchy and chewy - not like ginger snaps, but very moreish - my waistline is expanding. Yikes!