I had some rye flour left in my kitchen cupboard. And since I don’t like to throw out good food, and the half-open package had been standing there for some time, I started googleing for recipes. To my surprise rye flour is used for Dutch Peperkoek, which translates to pepper-cookie. As with many other Dutch things like ‘bitter balls’ this cookie or cake does not taste like it sounds. First off: it is not a cookie but more like a cake. Second: it does not taste of pepper. Perhaps that is why people have started to call it ‘breakfast-cake’ nowadays. Check out the Ontbijtkoek Wiki if you want to know the real (and disgusting) reason why peperkoek is called peperkoek.

Anyways. Peperkoek is really good, despite it’s history. It contains loads and loads of honey and resembles gingerbread. What I like is the non standard flavours, like the version with ginger or sugar pearls. This time I went for my own favourite by adding nuts and raisins.

Fun fact about Peperkoek: On Kingsday we typically do this traditional game of ‘koekhappen’. We hang a slice of peperkoek on a cord above our heads and then eat it as fast as possible with our hands tied behind our backs. Hilarious! Put it on your list for next Kingsday! :)

Here’s what you need:

  •  500 gr. rye flour
  • 400 gr. honey
  • 50 gr. brown sugar
  • 200 ml. water
  • 15 gr. baking powder
  • 0,5 tsp. salt
  • 4 hands of mixed nuts and raisins
  • 15 gr. koekkruiden or speculaaskruiden spice mix (click link for a brief how-to)

This is how:

First mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl: the rye flour, and spices.  Then take a small pan and heat (but not cook) 300 gr. of honey, the brouwn sugar and 200 ml. water. Then add the honey mixture to the flour mixture and use a mixer with dough hooks to mix the whole to a firm dough. Cover the dough with plastic foil and let it rest in the refridgerator for 24 hours.

OhÆ if you are having trouble with the mixing… The easiest thing to do is to take a rubber spatula and a tall glass of water. A slightly wet spatula makes it easier to mix the ingredients.

The next day add another 100 grams of honey and the mixed nuts and raisins.

Grease your bread baking tray with butter or use baking papier to prevent the peperkoek from sticking to the tray. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Then, before putting the peperkoek in the oven, turn temperature back to 150 degrees Celcius. Bake for one hour. If the peperkoek is getting too dry on top then add a sheet of aluminium foil on top.

A thick layer of butter turns a slice of peperkoek into a real treat!