Here in Holland we are getting ready for the traditional Sinterklaas celebration on the 5th of December. Just like Santa he gives away presents on the eve of his birthday. But unlike Santa he likes a bit of a tease and sends poems in which bad habits, embarrassing incidents are mildly mocked. Often poems will be accompanied by a ‘surprise’ – a mock present that goes with the poem’s theme. We will eat the traditional speculaas cookie (click for my speculaas recipe) and marzipan molded in very realistic shapes like apples, piglets, mushrooms and even french fries. Mulled ‘bishops’ wine and hot chocolate are the drink of choice during Sinterklaas evening. This week’s cookie is one from Sinterklaas’s country of birth: Turkey. Just like the famous baklava the sekerpare cookie is drenched in a sweet lemony syrup after baking. The cookie turns a little soft because of the sweet liquid but is firm enough to serve easily. The flour is mixed with a little bit of semolina that gives the cookie a nice bite. It goes really well with all the little glasses of sweet and lightly bitter tea that are served everywhere in Turkey, but I am sure they will go just as well with hot chocolate, mulled wine and surprises. If you like this cookie, try my variation with traditional Dutch speculaas spices.
Sekerpare cookie from Turkey
for about 40 cookies
Make the syrup by bringing the sugar and water to the boil. Leave to boil for about 5 minutes, add the lemon juice and leave to cool.
Add the eggs and beat until fully incorporated.
Mix in the semolina.
Add the baking powder, the salt, the vanilla and the flour.
Form into a soft ball of dough.
Carefully transfer the cookies to an oven dish in which they fit snugly and pour over the syrup. Leave to soak for about 5 hours.
This post is also available in: Dutch