Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Roze koeken

Recently, I had the opportunity to spend some time with friends from Holland. It doesn't happen very often since most of us live in other states or countries, and it's not too frequent that we all are in the same place, at the same time. After the typical kissie-kissie greeting (three kisses on the cheek, left-right-left), we sat down, poured coffee, brought out the cookies and shared the latest news. And it's never too long before we start talking about food. "Hey, I found this great Gouda cheese online, I'll send you the link", "We have someone selling stroopwafels at the farmer's market. It's not exactly the same but it's good enough". "I'm really going to miss the Dutch store in town when we move, they even sell hagelslag.". Anyway, you get the drift.

The Dutch tend to be adventurous travelers, and you'll find us pretty much scattered across the globe and far away from home. We love to be out and about, but sometimes we do miss our food! So we sat, sipped coffee, and reminisced about culinaria neerlandica. After I brought out a big platter with suikerwafels and gevulde koeken, we started talking about cakes and cookies. I mentioned the ones that I had baked and listed, out loud, the many that I had yet to try. Everybody joined in calling out the ones they liked, we all went "ooh" and "aah", because they're all so good. But when I mentioned "roze koeken", pink cakes, I noticed that the exclamations were a little longer and the eyes sparkled a little more.

I'm, quite honestly, not sure why. Of all the cakes and cookies we have, the roze koek is possibly the least enticing one, skill-wise or ingredient-wise. No elaborate kneading, twisting and rolling needed as with the bolussen. No intricate web of nutmeg, white pepper, cinnamon, cloves and ginger to make a flavorful speculaas. The roze koek has content-wise very little to offer in complexity: butter, eggs, flour and sugar. I mean, don't get me wrong, you can't hardly mess up butter and sugar, but it's nothing unique or special. They do have something going for them, though, something very un-Dutch: a bright pink, almost neon, frosting! Hot Barbie pink, neon Peptobismol tones....just check the pictures and you know what I mean. 

My own theory is that, from all the Dutch cookies, this is the most extravagant one, and with our Calvinistic upbringing, the excitement of biting into a roze koek is like rebelling, it's almost akin to sin. There, that rhymes. The cake itself is buttery, sweet and tender: the pink icing mixed with berry juice adds a slight tang and creaminess to the whole. Definitely worth a try!

Roze koeken
2 sticks of butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of lemon zest
4 eggs
1 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour

For the icing
6 heaping tablespoons of powdered sugar
2 tablespoons of red raspberry juice
Red food coloring optional
Milk, optional

Cream the butter with the sugar. Add one egg at a time and beat until it's been fully absorbed by the mixture before adding the next one. Finally, fold the lemon zest and the flour through the mix until you have a pourable thick batter or scoopable dough.

Spray or grease a muffin pan (I used large muffin pans, which made 8 cakes total) and fill each cup half-full. With a wet spoon flatten the top. Bake the muffins in a 390F oven until they are golden, about twenty minutes.

Take them out of the pan, cool on a wire rack. If the muffin domed during baking time, cut this off to have a flat surface.

Mix the powdered sugar with the berry juice and stir well. You may want to add a drop of red food coloring if you are looking for that hot pink. Stir it well, add some milk if it gets too thick, and then ice the cakes with the hot pink sugary coating. Let the icing dry, then serve with coffee or tea. Feel terribly sinful for a couple of bites and then have another cake!


Thank you Lien for the great recipe, and thank you Ferdinand for the beautiful mugs!

14 comments:

  1. Fantastische roze koeken!! YAY for roze koeken!
    I remember that kids would eat them all the time in the break at school. I must say I never was very fond of them... unless homebaked!!

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  2. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! My whole family loves these and we have to wait for my aunt to send them from Utrecht. Now we can make them ourselves! :)

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  3. I was so happy to find this recipe. I gave it a shot and the cake is delicious! I do have a question about the frosting, first, mine ended up with a little too much raspberry flavor, I had to use A LOT more powdered sugar to get the right consistency and the color was too dark from the raspberry sauce...may I ask what juice you used?

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  4. I con't believe you have a recipe for these. I've been dying to taste these for years now. I moved to the USA in 2003 and have made me a few dutch things like worstenbroodjes and some simple cookies, tried some bread but can't get that really going yet. But rozen koeken. ai ai ai... my dads favorites, I'm going to definitely try to make these myself, hope they taste like the ones you buy in the store or better... home made is usually better. Been going through your recipes here and I'm definitely going to try some more of them. Always have a problem with substituting things, still... do you take requests? Just wondering. anyway, great I say, AWESOME blog. Thanks!!! Mieke

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    1. Do they taste exactly like the ones in the store? No. For one, these are made with real butter :-). But it'll be close enough. And if there's anything you'd like to see on the website but cannot find, do let me know! Have fun baking!

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  5. I've been in the habit of eating a roze koek with my coffee once a day and I've gained a cool 10 kg (22 pound) (but then I also quit smoking !!) from 86kg to 96kg (211 pounds) :P so it's fine to eat these just..be careful!

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    1. Roland, congratulations on quitting a bad habit! And even more congrats on keeping to one roze koek a day, that's tough! :-)

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  6. These were one of my favorites and would love to make them. Could anyone tell me how many grams a stick of butter is though as the Internet is giving contradictory info.

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    1. Janine, the average stick of butter will weigh in at about 114 grams. Hope that helps!

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  7. Nicole, I just made these and mine look abit like cupcakes. 2 sticks of butter = 1 cup right? When you cream the butter and sugar do you do it until the mixture is light and fluffy? or just till combined and smooth. I am thinking perhaps this is where I made the error... You get 8 out of this recipe? I got double that but I used reg muffin tins perhaps yours are really big. Regardless they taste amazing and the batter is delicious.
    Amie, Brantford, Ontario Canada

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  8. Just so you kow, I have a Dutch friend and co-worker (he lives in The Netherlands and I live, and we both work, in Brussels, Belgium). I was nagging him yesterday about the "why so much pink in Dutch cooking" question. Pink is just not my favourite colour. Guess what he brought me today? A packet of Roze Koeken! I would much rather have a Tiger Bread, lol, but now I can taste those cakes.

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    1. That's funny! How did you like those roze koeken?

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  9. We ship these in by the dozen every month or so from Holland to Alaska! As a Dutchman (and yes, brought up Calvinistic) with an American wife who got addicted to roze koeken during our 6 years in NL together, we've been doing this during our 17+ years here: shipping costs more than the cookies themselves but, it's our weekend treat! Now, thanks to Dutch Table, we may try home baking them!
    Con J.
    Anchorage, Alaska

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  10. All of a sudden it hit me... 3.5 yrs in the USA... I "survived" without my "to go to" comfort food.. ROZE KOEKEN!!!!! OMG!! So I started googling and of course my first result was your website Nicole :) I really need to make these.. or..ship them in also. Thanks!! Bianca :)

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