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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Gevulde Koeken

Gevulde koeken are the Dutch equivalent of the American chocolate chip cookie: if there's only one cookie to be sold, this will be the one. A favorite of many, it is often associated with ice skating, gezellige afternoons drinking tea with friends and, in my particular case, with traveling by train. Practically each train station in the Netherlands has a small kiosk where you can buy cookies, magazines, coffee, and hot snacks. If the station is really small, most often you can still get a cup of coffee and a cookie. And if wherever you are getting on the train is so small you can't even find that, there will be a chance to buy a refreshment on the train. And I bet you that even that refreshment cart has gevulde koeken......

The Dutch usually don't travel by train for just a hop, skip and a jump. Within the cities, you usually travel by tram, bus, metro or bike. To reach other places, for example if you want to go from Amsterdam to Maastricht, you would travel by train unless you had a car. This last activity usually goes paired with, sometimes undeserved, grumbling towards the Nederlandse Spoorwegen (Dutch Railroads). Not all trains run on time, all the time. Especially this winter, with the huge amounts of snow and the incredibly low temperatures, train travelers were often confronted with delayed trains, missing connections or no trains at all. But look at the gorgeous view when the sun comes out!

But back to the cookie. Gevulde koek, or filled cookie, is a crumbly, buttery, tender dough with an almond filling. The almond decorating the cookie is a dead giveaway. First you taste the cookie, then a sweet, slightly moist almond filling hits you and it's just heaven. Together with a hot cup of coffee (try Douwe Egberts sometime, a Dutch coffee brand and a national favorite), it is a combination that soothes travel irritations, whether you're going anywhere or not.

Gevulde koek
For the dough:
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup of sugar
1 scant teaspoon of baking powder
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon of cold water
1 3/4 stick of butter

For the filling:
1 cup of almond paste*
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 egg white
2 tablespoons of water
1 teaspoon of almond essence

For brushing:
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon of milk
8 sliced or whole almonds

Mix the dry ingredients and cut the butter into the dough, until it has the consistency of wet sand. Add a tablespoon of icecold water and knead the dough into a cohesive whole, making sure all the butter is well mixed in. Pat into an oval, cover with plastic film and refrigerate while you make the paste.

Now crumble up the almond paste and beat it with the rest of the ingredients foamy and thick. If you think it's too runny, add a tablespoon of flour, but not more.

Set your oven to 350F and turn it on. Take the dough out of the fridge, cut it in half and roll one half out, to about 1/8 of an inch and cut out eight rounds. I use the canning ring for a wide mouth jar, it's approximately eight inches across. Roll the other half out and cut another eight rounds (or more ofcourse!). Place one huge heaping teaspoon of almond paste mix in the middle of one cookie, place a second round on top and carefully seal the edges. You can do this with a fork or gently tapping it with your finger.

When all are done, place them on a parchment lined baking sheet or on a silicone mat. Beat the egg yolk with the milk and brush the top of the cookies, then place an almond on top. Bake for about thirty minutes or until golden.

Let them cool a little bit and enjoy this typical Dutch treat!



*If you don't have access to canned almond paste, you can easily make your own by processing two cups of slivered raw almonds, adding 1/4 cup of sugar and three tablespoons of water to make it into a thick paste.

4 comments:

  1. Gevulde koeken is a big favorite, aspecially when large and juicy. I do not like the ones with the very hard dry outer rim, like the cheap brands have. I do guess most people like them a lot, but my father did not like 'm one bit. This, because it also was the default cookie in the army, so my father ate them for almost 2 years, and that sort of cured him for ever ;-). I never made it that long in the army, plus since I was stationed in Egypt, we did not have them that often, so I still like 'm to date...

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  2. hmmmmm gevulde koeken. They are definitely one of the best cookies around. They were delicious Nicole. Sign me up for another batch :)

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  3. Typing this with one hand because I'm munching on one of these right now. Used your recipe today and they came out wonderfully! :)
    Thanks!

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  4. Thanks for the message, Shadee, I'm glad you like 'm, they're a tad addictive :-)

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Nicole

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