This time of the year is always the best because of the Dutch winter snacks that hit the shelves. If you’re not familiar with typical Dutch foods first check out what is traditional in the Netherlands. Then take a look at these delicious snacks that you may want to include on your next shopping trip.
Chocolate letters are gifted and eaten on the Dutch family holiday Sinterklaas (not to be confused with Santa Claus). Basically, it’s exclusive to the 5th of December. You buy it for anyone: your colleagues, friends, and family. No matter your preference there is definitely a chocolate letter for you. Flavors such as: milk chocolate, dark and white are the most popular but if you go to a decent bakery you can get one with a special filling or toppings like praline or almond.
This is a traditional holiday cookie that is eaten during Sinterklaas. They are small, chewy, and have distinctive spices: like anise, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon. Pepernoten translates to spice nuts in English and has a strong and more intense flavor. It’s a taste that the older appreciate and the younger tender to dislike.
Some people get confused with the difference between Pepernoten and Kruidnoten and put it under the umbrella of Pepernoten. However, there is a difference. Kruidnoten on the other hand is hard and crunchy and similar to the ingredients in speculaas cookie. It’s sweeter than Pepernoten and more of the Dutch tend to prefer it. They are also used to be thrown at kids when the character Zwarte Piet hands them out during Sinterklaas.
Roomboter Amandel Kerstkrans or Butter Almond Christmas Wreath
I recently discovered this Dutch winter snack and cannot get enough of it. It’s a butter puff pastry filled with almond paste, topped with powdered sugar and almond flakes. It’s presented in the shape of a Christmas wreath and eaten during Christmas time. They are sold at any store but it’s best to go get one fresh from a good bakery. There are different variations that are decorated with chocolate Christmas trees and cherries. You can also get it plain in the form of a stick called Amandelstaaf or almond stick in English. Amandel snacks are traditional to both Easter and Christmas. So you won’t have to worry about waiting until the end of the year to eat this scrumptious sweet.
Kerstkranjes or Christmas Cookies
Kerstkrantjes translates to Christmas wreaths in English and also because they resemble them. The tradition in the Netherlands is to hang these cookies on your Christmas trees like decorations. There are many different shapes and flavors to choose from or make. The most important part is that they have a hole in the center. This way you’re able to add a string and tie it onto a branch to hang on the tree. We hung dark chocolate covered cookies with sprinkles on top. They added a nice pop of color! However, it was hard to resist eating them all. If the temptation is too much to handle have some with coffee or tea.
Kerststol or Christmas Bread
This fruity Christmas bread is a favorite to have on the dining table. It’s a raisin/currant bread filled with: almond paste in the middle, candied fruits, nuts and sprinkled with powdered sugar. This rich combination of ingredients gives it the name of a luxe krentenbrood or luxury currant bread. Some stores and bakeries even soak the raisins in amaretto or rum! About 35-40% of the bread is filled with raisins and currants so if that’s your thing you’ll be heaven. Cut your kerststol into thick slices and serve with fresh butter on the side. You’ll definitely be adding this snack to your Dutch winter snacks checklist.
This is a seasonal favorite that is eaten on New Year’s Day. It’s a deep-fried ball that is soft and chewy inside and slightly crunchy on the outside. The original Oliebollen has raisins and is dusted with powdered sugar. The closest dessert you can compare it to is a donut (but Oliebollen is way better in my opinion). On the last day of the year, people will get up early in the morning to get them fresh. This means you must be willing to queue for sometimes hours but this is how the tradition goes.
Some people will also make Oliebollen homemade on New Year’s Day. It’s advised to make this sweet outside the house like in your backyard shed. This is because of the fried smell that may linger in your house for up to a week. Oliebollen is definitely one of the best Dutch winter snacks that you need to try.