Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Nature or Nurture: Have a cookie.. or two? Dutch fare

The million dollar question... someone comes over for coffee and a chat. You go ahead, brew some fresh coffee, and sure enough something to nibble on.

What do you do?

A) Present a cookie, close the lid on the jar and put it out of reach?
B) Present a cookie, put the cookie jar out on the table and with a hand gesture encourage to go ahead and have some more?

A..... you're Dutch!
B..... might as well be Dutch but you've learned a thing or two...

I know the stories about the thrifty Dutch who, with one eye on the clock (6 pm) send guests out on the street when dinner time is nearing and it seems that the cookie thing is world famous. We (as in "we Dutch") offer sweets... one with each cup of coffee and that's it. Period.

When Ulrike asked me about the latter, I had to think...and blushed... I think it's true! Not too sure about my generation but I know for sure that for instance my mother in law had a strict schedule in presenting. Special days there were bonbons (one! with a tiny bonbon saucer) with the first cup of coffee. And a -one- butter cookie with the second cup of coffee. Oh and coffee; she used to ask how many cups of coffee you'd like and brewed exactly that amount... no way she'd risk throwing out any extra! Oooh stories... I have so many I could tell you... I think no one from my family in law reads this but let's keep it safe...

To assure you, (and show you the contrast hehe) I come from a family that habitually brews enormous pots of coffee, loads the table during birthday parties, always had plenty food for any guests (or inventive enough to come up with something), the cookie jar out on the table. Contrary..when my friends and I meet over coffee, we just have coffee.. but that might have to do with our hips and thighs.....

Recipe butter cookies:
200 gr butter, softened
100 gr soft white sugar
2 tbs (2 packages) gr vanilla sugar
1/4 ts salt
250 gr patent flour
1 egg, loosened with a fork (eggwash)
topping of your choice, eg: ginger, candied peel, sugar clumps, jam, sprinkles

Combine butter, sugars and salt (medium bowl, spoon or fork). Add the flour and make a soft-ish dough. Wrap in plastic and leave to firm in the fridge (at least 1 hour).

On a floured work surface proceed to roll out your dough, aim for 4 mm (1/4 inch). Either use a cutter or a knife to make squares, brush with eggwash and choose your topping. I made an assortment and used some of each.

Gather your scraps, and do it all over again. Bake for 15 minutes on 180C, keep an eye out they might brown easily and you'll have to pull them out before the timer rings.
Rest assured, this will make enough to survive one or maybe even two (!) coffee visits ;-D


  1. You see, I couldn't be Dutch: when I invite people over, it's to feed them. If they didn't eat ... well, I wouldn't get to bake anywhere near as much! Or, if I did, it would all land on those hips and thighs....

  2. Oh, it's terrible, but true...hee-hee! Thank goodness there are people like us from every sort of cultural background that feel the need to feed their friends, loved ones, and yes, even complete strangers.

  3. I surely could use a cup of and two of these cookies. The hips would just have to deal with it.

  4. I am a greedy and try all your cookies, don't invite me :-)

    Ulrike from Küchenlatein

  5. I wouldn't be able to stop at just one of these!!

  6. Ah, I'm Dutch, and I eat lots of cookies with my tea/coffee. My mother always let the box open for a while. She always said that we could have the broke ones and sometimes we just broke m on purpose ;) Cookies are good for the soul :D

  7. Yummy!

  8. You know, I think that's a German thing too. My grandmother always thrifted out her baked goods, which is weird because she loved to bake for people, but she always pinched pennies when she could. Or maybe that's just a result of growing up in the 1930s!

    The cookies look great!

  9. Ah you cookiemonster... I just finished my post and started looking around and see you're in to cookies too!!! Funny story. I'm dutch but this has never been the case where I come from (I'm afraid it shows), my mother baked several tins of cookies, I think once a week(simple ones but good) and she always said "Op is op".
    And when people come over here...I present lots of cookies, cake or whatever, because if théy eat it, I can bake something else. Clever dutch girl!

  10. WAUW: een link naar mijn blog! Ben zeer vereerd.

  11. I wonder if 'going Dutch' comes from the same tradition of...thriftiness. Hmm, intrigued!

  12. I'm sure there are thrifty people in every culture, but your plate full of cookies looks very inviting!


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