Monday, December 6

Happy St Nicholas day! Enjoy some dutch gingerbread (Taai Taai) Guest post!

Now those people who said the Dutch didn't have a sense of humour - take hold of yourself - my friend Di (yes the one who chastised me the other day for bastardising her lolly wreath) has written a guest post for me today (probably because she doesn't trust me not to change it too much and offend Dutch people everywhere) about Dutch gingerbread.  Because you know, I know you haven't had enough gingerbread yet. Yep, me neither. 

So please enjoy this very humourous and helpful recipe from Di - and follow her on twitter - she's really funny there (and in real life too - wish she would resurrect her blog though...) - Thanks Di xxx

It’s St Nicholas day today, which means that all the good girls and boys put out their shoes last night  and hoped to find them filled with goodies this morning.

At least the ones with Dutch heritage. Yes, we get to have two visits from Santa.  Woot!

And if you are especially good, you will find in your shoes some Taai Taai, which is generally translated as Dutch Gingerbread, but which actually has no ginger in it atall. The English version o the name is “Tough Tough”, and yes, they are a bit. They are very chewy and hard. And delicious.

My sister sent me a recipe for taai taai many years ago, which I have never actually made, because traditionally Taai Taai takes 2 weeks to produce. Much easier to pop to Coles and buy some.

However, this year a hunt for recipes on the web let me discover this version at best recipes, that is almost exact.

I won’t be following it exactly, I use wholemeal flour instead of ordinary plain (and,really, it should be rye), and aniseed seeds instead of the essence. Mine is basically a mix of this recipe and the traditional one, and I am doubling the amounts used, because I need to bake for school and work as well as my own addiction. The parts in italics are not actually the recipe, but things that happen if you are me.


250 g plain flour
200g Honey
1 ½ Tbs Golden Syrup or Treacle
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
3 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cloves
aniseed essence

In a small (or large) saucepan, put 400gms honey, great big splodge of treacle, 2
tablespoons aniseed seeds. Wonder why you have a sudden urge to have sour dough
with dukka , olive oil and caramelised balsamic for lunch....

Over a low temperature, heat until it is almost boiling. This takes ages. Far more ages than you think it will. Don’t give into the urge to turn it onto high so you can get it over with. You’ll need to stir this a lot too.

Foolishly dip your finger tip in it to see how close it is to boiling. Burn your finger.

Turn off and cool.

Sift 500g wholemeal flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking powder, 6 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp nutmeg, 1 tsp of ground cloves together into a bowl.

Wonder where on earth your cinnamon is. You had a huge packet of cinnamon the other day. You didn’t use it all. Where could it have gone? Look in spice drawer. Nup. Look on benchtop. Nup. Look on floor near benchtop. Nup. Sigh and realise that if you were tidy like Liss, you wouldn’t have this problem. Add heaps of cinnamon sticks to your honey mixture instead. Curse. And then add some ginger to the flour mixture, just in case.

Strain the honey mixture into the flour. Realise if you had your cinnamon, you wouldn’t have to do this

About now you should probably turn your oven on. 160C

Mix everything together with a spoon.

Now it is time to get your hands dirty. Get in there and knead that baby. Add more flour if necessary. You should end up with a squishy ball.

Line some baking trays with baking paper Run out of baking paper. Why was there only about 2cms left on the roll? Curse, and go the traditional butter route.

Roll out your mixture, or if you are me, pat out your mixture, and cut out shapes. These traditionally are ones of St Nicholas or Windmills or shiz like that. Mine are stars.

Taste the mixture. OMG, this stuff is mega yummy. Wonder if people at work and school REALLY need your taai taai. I mean, they aren’t Dutch, right? They might not even like it. Maybe it’s like Dutch licorice, where you really have to have been brought up with it, otherwise it tastes like burnt asphalt. Ignore evidence that everyone you have ever met loves taai taai.

Bung into the oven for half an hour or so. Take out and cool on tray.

Eat whilst hot. Remember that the traditional way says you have to keep these babies for at least a week before eating. Laugh sneeringly at the traditional way.

This stuff will theoretically keep forever in a sealed container. In reality, it lasts until people realise you have taai taai.

And a final note of warning: If you don’t have Dutch or German heritage, you may not have grown up putting your shoes out for St Nicholas. You may think “Ha! I now DECIDE to have Dutch or German heritage, because I also deserve to wake up on December 6 with a shoe full of dutch chocolate and specalaas and taai taai.” If you do this, make sure you HAVE been good this year. Because St Nicholas isn’t a woosie like Santa. None of this “just don’t get a present” if you’ve been bad. Nope, if you have been bad, St Nicholas’ companion Black Peter puts you in his bag and hauls you off to the coal (or salt) mine.
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2 lovely comments:

Chantelle {fat mum slim} on December 6, 2010 at 7:30 AM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Oh I love this! What a way to start the week.

Di, Happy St Nicholas Day Eve (or however you call it!). I hope your shoes are filled with all things good.

PS. The cinnamon goes missing in our house too... and then after a big tidy I realise I have 4 jars of the stuff!

di-a-tribe on December 6, 2010 at 1:43 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

It's not that I don't trust you, Liss...

It's just that, well, I didn't want you to explode from too much gingerbread.


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