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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Roze koeken

Recently, I had the opportunity to spend some time with friends from Holland. It doesn't happen very often since most of us live in other states or countries, and it's not too frequent that we all are in the same place, at the same time. After the typical kissie-kissie greeting (three kisses on the cheek, left-right-left), we sat down, poured coffee, brought out the cookies and shared the latest news. And it's never too long before we start talking about food. "Hey, I found this great Gouda cheese online, I'll send you the link", "We have someone selling stroopwafels at the farmer's market. It's not exactly the same but it's good enough". "I'm really going to miss the Dutch store in town when we move, they even sell hagelslag.". Anyway, you get the drift.

The Dutch tend to be adventurous travelers, and you'll find us pretty much scattered across the globe and far away from home. We love to be out and about, but sometimes we do miss our food! So we sat, sipped coffee, and reminisced about culinaria neerlandica. After I brought out a big platter with suikerwafels and gevulde koeken, we started talking about cakes and cookies. I mentioned the ones that I had baked and listed, out loud, the many that I had yet to try. Everybody joined in calling out the ones they liked, we all went "ooh" and "aah", because they're all so good. But when I mentioned "roze koeken", pink cakes, I noticed that the exclamations were a little longer and the eyes sparkled a little more.

I'm, quite honestly, not sure why. Of all the cakes and cookies we have, the roze koek is possibly the least enticing one, skill-wise or ingredient-wise. No elaborate kneading, twisting and rolling needed as with the bolussen. No intricate web of nutmeg, white pepper, cinnamon, cloves and ginger to make a flavorful speculaas. The roze koek has content-wise very little to offer in complexity: butter, eggs, flour and sugar. I mean, don't get me wrong, you can't hardly mess up butter and sugar, but it's nothing unique or special. They do have something going for them, though, something very un-Dutch: a bright pink, almost neon, frosting! Hot Barbie pink, neon Peptobismol tones....just check the pictures and you know what I mean. 

My own theory is that, from all the Dutch cookies, this is the most extravagant one, and with our Calvinistic upbringing, the excitement of biting into a roze koek is like rebelling, it's almost akin to sin. There, that rhymes. The cake itself is buttery, sweet and tender: the pink icing mixed with berry juice adds a slight tang and creaminess to the whole. Definitely worth a try!

Roze koeken
2 sticks of butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of lemon zest
4 eggs
1 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour

For the icing
6 heaping tablespoons of powdered sugar
2 tablespoons of red raspberry juice
Red food coloring optional
Milk, optional

Cream the butter with the sugar. Add one egg at a time and beat until it's been fully absorbed by the mixture before adding the next one. Finally, fold the lemon zest and the flour through the mix until you have a pourable thick batter or scoopable dough.

Spray or grease a muffin pan (I used large muffin pans, which made 8 cakes total) and fill each cup half-full. With a wet spoon flatten the top. Bake the muffins in a 390F oven until they are golden, about twenty minutes.

Take them out of the pan, cool on a wire rack. If the muffin domed during baking time, cut this off to have a flat surface.

Mix the powdered sugar with the berry juice and stir well. You may want to add a drop of red food coloring if you are looking for that hot pink. Stir it well, add some milk if it gets too thick, and then ice the cakes with the hot pink sugary coating. Let the icing dry, then serve with coffee or tea. Feel terribly sinful for a couple of bites and then have another cake!


Thank you Lien for the great recipe, and thank you Ferdinand for the beautiful mugs!

1 comment:

  1. Fantastische roze koeken!! YAY for roze koeken!
    I remember that kids would eat them all the time in the break at school. I must say I never was very fond of them... unless homebaked!!

    ReplyDelete

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