Bossche Bollen

Anytime we travel by train in the Netherlands, I always check to see if, by chance, Den Bosch station is on the route. Ever since I found out that the pastry store of Jan de Groot is right outside the station, I try to stop in and have their signature pastry: the Bossche bol. I take my research very seriously! ;-) Their iconic pastries are like chocolate eclairs but bigger, fluffier, rounder, with better chocolate and much more cream. These Bossche beauties have made the city of 's Hertogenbosch famous (or is it the other way around?) and are the number one pastry that is served with a fork and knife* and a handful of napkins. Because there is no way, just like with the tompouce, that you will not end up with whipped cream on your lap, on your tie or blouse, and on your fingers. And that is just the charm of these bollen.

Now, these come together fairly quickly and are not all that hard to make, so give it a try! And if they don't come out looking exactly the same as Jan de Groot's - not to worry. Practice makes perfect - and it's better to have a funny shaped Bossche bol than no Bossche bol. Right? Right!

Bossche Bollen
For the dough:
1/2 cup (125 ml) water
3 tablespoons (50 grams) butter
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup (75 grams) all-purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten

For the filling:
1 cup (250 ml) whipping cream
2 large tablespoons powdered sugar

For the glaze:
1/3 cup (75 ml) whipping cream
1 cup (125 grams) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Heat the water and the butter and a pinch of salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then take off the stove. Add the flour and stir until it all comes together in a ball. Let it cool a little bit (just a few minutes), then stir in the eggs a few spoonfuls at a time, and continue to stir until the dough has absorbed all the egg and is a homogenous whole.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, divide the dough in four and place it on top of the parchment. Bake in a 375F/190C degree oven for about 20-25 minutes or until puffy and golden. Cool on a rack. As they cool, they will deflate some, but not to worry. 

In the meantime, beat the whipping cream and the sugar until stiff. Fill a pastry bag with a small tip and poke through the bottom of the bol. Cup the pastry, bottom up, in your hand, and fill with whipped cream. It will puff up nicely and give a round shape to the pastry.

Heat the cream on the stove to boiling, then pull it off the heat and stir in the chocolate chips. Let them melt, and stir the whole thing into a sauce. Let it cool for about 10 minutes or until lukewarm, then carefully take the cream-filled Bossche bol and dip, head first, into the chocolate. If you don't want to get your hands dirty, just set the bollen on a rack and slowly pour the chocolate over the top, one spoonful at a time. I have had the best luck with pouring over, for an even coating. 

Cool in the fridge for about 20 minutes or until the chocolate is solid and everything has had a chance to firm up a bit. Enjoy with a nice cup of coffee and some good company. And keep those napkins handy!

And this is what happens when you turn your back for a moment and somebody else is with you in the kitchen.......Needless to say, the Bossche bol is messy enough to easily identify the culprit, although I wasn't sure if the whipped cream on their chin or the cheesy grin on their face gave them away. Both, I guess!

* purists will shudder at the thought of being given a knife and fork! They turn the pastry upside down and just bite into it. 


  1. I think I need a roadmap... you do have so many blogs, I don't know where to start? Are some a spin off from another (as I say these bunnies and tijgerbroodjes somewhere else too), is there one that's your mainblog or are they all different?
    Lovely bollen, I love them (though they're no good for me), my mother made them as a special birthday treat when I was little.... Moorkoppen... you know with a piece of pineapple on top. Yummy!!

  2. Hi Lien, thanks for visiting! Some of the baked goods also appear on this Dutch baking blog if they're a Dutch recipe, but otherwise I'm trying to keep everything separated! Yummm moorkoppen are sooo good, but yeah...not so healthy. Once a year for a birthday is probably just right!

  3. Finally i found my favorite dessert,as i am from Den Bosch and have had cravings,i think i will be able to make them myself now.just in time for Christmas!Little did i know that it looks like they are fairly simple to make.
    Thank you.

  4. Hello Johanna, welcome to the blog! You'll be surprised how easy it is to make, hope you enjoy them, let me know how they turned out!

  5. well - I had a trial run yesterday with your recipe.. (before i make some for the Holidays..
    here they are.. (only diff was - I used 1/2 semi-sweet and 1/2 dark chocolate chips..)

    next time I'll make them with a vanilla-cream/pudding filling instead of whipped cream - they keep longer that way..
    there goes the diet... !!

    thanks for that recipe - didn't know it was so easy..!!


  6. Oldjinks, they look fantastic! Love your blog by the way, thanks for sending the link. Have a wonderful Christmas and enjoy those Bossche Bollen!

  7. I just found your blog, very good recipes I think, I will try a few soon.

  8. Working in a 10 people office at a reknown pharmaceutical company in Oss it was mandatory for anybody celebrating his or her birthday to offer Bossche Bollen at coffee time. And he she had to go out on bicycle to buy them. My birthday is in June but for those born in January...
    Ahhhh, freshly whipped cream! Best chocolate on top!

  9. is this similar to moorkoppen???
    looks very much the same but not sure what the difference is.

  10. Hi Marcella,
    Nope, moorkoppen is something different. They look almost the same but a Bossche Bol is bigger(the moorkop measures 3cm or just over one inch, the Bossche bol measures about twice that size).

    The real difference however is in the pastry we use. In a Bossche Bol the pastry acts as a balloon, resulting in a slightly thicker dough, and hollow. Moorkoppen-pastry is different, the result is more a cream puff, so it has a much thinner crust and the inside has very thin, honeycomb-like pastry. This breaks when you fill it with hipped cream, but the texture is different none the less. Much lighter texture.

    For the best result don't use the easier whipped cream but the traditional 'banketbakkersroom': baker's cream. It is made with full-fat milk, eggyoak, sugar, vanilla(please use fresh) and custard.

  11. Marcella,
    You are very right, Bossche bollen do seem very similar to moorkoppen, and in some ways are. The main difference is the one that Anonymous pointed out above: the BB is filled with whipped cream but stays whole, the moorkop is sliced in two halves, then filled with a layer of whipped cream, and has an added swirl of whipped cream and a glazed piece of pineapple or mandarin orange on top.

    The chocolate coating also differs. Whereas the BB is covered with real chocolate, the moorkop is most often glazed with a cocoa solution instead.

    The recipe for the puff is for both the same, just a basic choux pastry.

    Nevertheless, the final execution may not always be the same. Pastry chefs and bakers across the country chose to serve these pastries with perhaps a different filling, like the above mentioned pastry cream. As for me, I've always only found moorkoppen and Bossche bollen with whipped cream.

    Either way, it's an easy to make pastry, so experiment and see what you like best!

  12. This looks delicious! Especially with the semi-sweet chocolate - yum!
    I wanted to copy & paste the recipe so I could print it out (just for me, in order to try making them) but wasn't able to.

  13. i really like your writing style. just went back home and we had a bossche bol (i thought it was a moorkop because we were in castricum not DB, but moorkoppen are entirely different apparently). anyway, nice blog.

  14. Thank you for posting this recipe! I can't wait to try it. My husband is from Den Bosch, and these are his ultimate favourite desert! We now live in my hometown in Nova Scotia, Canada (been here for 7 years, and hubby's now a Canadian citizen). He hasn't had a chance to go back home yet, and I know he misses his favourite foods that you can't always get here. So I thought it would be perfect to surprise him on our anniversary with a batch of Bossche Bollen! :) He will.flip.out.


  15. I live in a high altitude area (5000 ft). My Bossche Bollen remained dense. Any ideas? Thanks

    1. Baking at high altitude requires some changes to the recipe, especially with pastries and doughs that are finnicky. Increasing your oven temp and decreasing the baking time might help. Because there is less air pressure, the leavener has more opportunity to rise and then collapse onto itself, causing a dense baked good. Hope this helps!


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