Monday, July 25, 2011

Kletskoppen

Sometimes this whole Dutch food mapping quest throws me a curve ball. Ever since I was a child, I remember these crispy, sweet cookies to be flavored with peanuts. Heck, I even thought that the name for it, kletskop* (bald head), was because of the glabrous goobers rising above the flat surface of the cookie.

But when looking up kletskop recipes in my collection of cookbooks, I noticed that the ingredients consistently listed almonds. Either ground or chopped almonds, but no peanuts. I consulted some of the Dutch friends that were online whether they remembered kletskoppen with peanuts or almonds, and all but one remembered peanuts. On top of that, last Christmas when I spent some time in Holland I bought an array of cookies (gotta love the extent of research I do for this blog!!) and I distinctly remember the kletskoppen having peanuts.

What to do, what to do? For authenticity's sake I would use almonds, since that seems to be the official version, but for memory's sake I'm more inclined to go with peanuts, seeing as how that's what seems to be the "right" cookie. So I made both. And I definitely favor the peanut one, if only for the fact that it makes the cookie bulkier and nuttier.

If you are allergic to nuts, make the cookie by itself or substitute the nuts for chocolate chips, raisins etc....If someone else along the line changed almonds to peanuts without telling any of us, you are more than welcome to make this cookie your own!

*Kletskop can also mean "chatterbox". Where the name comes from is unclear but the city of Leiden seems to claim kletskoppen as their own.

Kletskoppen
4 tablespoons of butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 cup Spanish peanuts
1/2 cup of brown sugar, tightly packed
1/3 cup of flour

Cream the butter with the sugar and the cinnamon. Add flour one tablespoon at a time until it's all absorbed. Fold in the peanuts and preheat the oven to 400F. Place the rack right above the middle position.

The dough should be slightly sticky but easy to work with. If it sticks too much, add a little bit of flour or refrigerate the dough for ten minutes, then try again. Test one cookie by rolling a little piece of dough into a marble. Line your baking sheet with a double lining of parchment paper or with a silicone pad. Put the dough marble on top and slightly flatten it with the palm of your hand. Bake for five minutes. The dough will spread significantly because of the high sugar/fat content but will burn just as quick so keep an eye on it.

Take the tray out of the oven, let the cookie cool for a minute or two, then carefully transfer it to a cooling rack. It will harden as it cools. Did it spread too much? Add half a tablespoon of flour and mix it into the dough. Did it not spread enough? Add half a tablespoon of water. Try again. Once you have the right result, roll the rest of the dough into marbles and bake. Check after five minutes to make sure they're not burning, remove and after cooling for a minute or two, transfer them to a cooling rack. Store in a cookie jar, as humidity will soften these babies up in no time!



Makes approximately 20 cookies. This is a fantastic cookie to go with a cup of coffee or tea. Because of its crispness, it lends itself beautifully to more than just a treat with your daily beverage of choice. Add texture to your puddings with a crisp kletskop or use two cookies for an ice cream sandwich!

8 comments:

  1. Nicole, definitely peanuts, that's my vote anyhow. I'm glad it passed the test because this is the taste I remember from my childhood in Poland. The communist Poland was not the place to find peanuts, but the imported cookies from Holland was the only thing that reminded me what they would taste. I had no idea what the cookies were, the name, or the ingredients debates that might persist there, all I knew they tasted wonderfully as I savored each bite. However, taking one look at your picture, my memory went instantly back to that childhood time and as I read your post it all came together so nicely. Thank you so much for the recipe. Frankly, I forgot all about these awesome cookies, but now I'm more than compelled to make them.... when we leave Arizona, that is, and are back to my cooler kitchen in Vancouver. As for the research you're forced to do for your blog, well, just grind your teeth if you have to, but please do it... for the science's sake, you know. Hugs. Gosia

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  2. Look great Nicole, I will have to try them! I remember my sisters and I being called "kletskop" when children and it definitely wasn't because we were bald...LOL.
    This triggered something for me - have you ever heard of pastry called moorkoppen (spelling?)? It was my late father's favourite but I have never seen or tasted one as the Dutch bakery was always sold out whenever we tried to buy some. Keep up the great work (and all that tiresome research...I really feel for you...haha!!!) Take care, Deb

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  3. Gosia, thank you for sharing your memory about the cookies! Food has an incredible way of taking us back to a certain time or place, doesn't it?

    Deb, *haha* my mom used to call me kletskop too for the same reason, that's funny! Check the Bossche Bollen recipe, it's another name for moorkop. These are one of my favorites too, and soooo easy to make, you'll love it! Thanks for asking!

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  4. Thanks Nicole! Now I finally see what a moorkop is! No wonder it was my dad's favourite - he also loved cooked from scratch chocolate pudding with lots of real whipped cream. I will have to make these for a family gathering - they don't look easy but I trust you when you say they are!

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  5. I love these cookies!!!! too hot in NJ to bake now but once the weather is right. . .oh I'll be making these. They were one of my favorites!
    yum yum yum!!! oh & I def remember peanuts too

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  6. They are called (Italian) Florentine(s) in the US.

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  7. My mom made these when I was little - with almonds - but then she never owned vanilla extract, everything got almond extract. My mother told me they were called kletskoppen because the "blabbed" all over the cookie sheet, spreading out the way a blabbermouth spreads gossip.

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  8. I am eating some kletskoppen now bought from the Albert Heijn in the city of Lelystad in Holland. Peanuts. I get them fairly often as they are one of my favorite cookies. Your instincts and memory are validated lol.

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