Monday, February 16, 2009

Nougatientjes

I haven't been blogging for a while, but I'm back!
I've baked a lot of American recipes in the last year and a half and started to miss our own local baked goods. For christmas I received a book called Koekje, which translates to English as Cookie. It contains 100 Dutch cookie recipes, 50 are classics and 50 are more contemperary.

One of the recipes I made from this book is Nougatientjes or Amsterdamse Koggetjes. I have always known them as nougatientjes.

The recipe dates from 1935 when the Dutch Pastry Bakers Association held a contest to come up with a new cookie, it was probably mister Dorssen who won with the Amsterdamse Koggetjes.
The catholic and christian bakers were members of different associations and couldn't use the name Amsterdamse Koggetjes, so they baked them as Nougatientjes. Both names are still in use.

Ingredients:
For the Nougat:
75 grams caster sugar
25 grams water

For the Dough:
160 grams white soft sugar
200 grams soft unsalted butter
2 tablespoons milk
2 grams salt
15 grams vanilla sugar
200 grams soft flour*

Start with making the caramel (nougat).
Bring the water and sugar to a boil and let it caramelize until deep golden brown. Be careful, this stuff is hot!! Also while it's boiling don't stir the pan.
Pour the caramel in a thin layer on a piece of parchment paper and let it cool down.
Preheat your oven to 160 C (320 F).
Cream the butter with the soft white sugar, when creamy add the milk, salt and vanilla sugar, beat until smooth, add the sifted flour and stir until it's incorperated.
Roll over the caramel with a rolling pin to break it up in small pieces and stir the pieces through the dough.

The recipe from the book says that you can pipe the cookies, I just use 2 teaspoons and put little heaps of dough on a lighty buttered baking sheet, about 3/4 of a teaspoon of dough at the time, keep some space in between them, they will spread.
Bake the cookies about 15 minutes. They will have a light brown edge. (In my oven it takes about 17 minutes.)
Let them cool down a few minutes on the sheet, than take them off and let them cool further on a wire rack. This recipe makes about 50 cookies. They will stay fresh for about a week if you keep them in an airtight cookie jar.

*) Here in Holland we have a special flour that is called in Dutch "Zeeuwse Bloem", in English that would translate in to flour from Zeeland (a Dutch province).

What makes this flour special? The ground in Zeeland is mostly clay, the climate is a moderate sea climate. These two factors give a totaly different wheat than the wheat grown inland. The kernel has way less starch, is moister and doesn't bind as well as AP flour.

AP flour comes from inland, is dryer, has more starch, so more gluten which gives it a higher binding power.

I buy my flour at the windmill in Vlaardingen, hey this is Holland! You might try these recipes with cake flour or another low protein flour. It'll make all the difference in the end result!