Yet another Sinterklaas recipe today! I just can’t keep away from them this time of year 😉 This time I’ve made Taai Taai, which translates to “tough-tough”, hinting at the texture of this cookie. You usually need your teeth in place when biting into this delicacy! It’s somewhere between a cake and a cookie, soft but too thin for a cake (and too chewy for that matter). It’s flavored with aniseed, which is one of my favorite flavors in baking, something which comes with my Frisian heritage.
Taaitaai is somewhat similar in texture to the German Lebkuchen. Just like Lebkuchen, it is traditionally baked with syrup, although modern recipes often feature a combination of honey and sugar as in the recipe below. In my previous post, I wrote about the symbolism of speculaas “dolls”. Whereas a speculaas doll indicated you liked the recipient in a romantic manner, giving a taaitaai doll in return meant you were not interested. In Dutch, we have the verb “aftaaien” which means something like Well, in my opinion it’s a lot clearer (and more civilized) than today’s dating rituals!
I made my taaitaai in a special mold (designed by Nadine), but you can make yours by rolling the dough out and cutting out figures with (cookie) cutters 🙂
Recipe Taai Taai
Source: De Banketbakker – Cees Holtkamp
Tools: cookie cutters or taai taai mold; pastry brush
190 grams light brown sugar
130 grams liquid honey
100 grams water
230 grams pastry flour (T45 or Zeeuwse bloem)
200 grams white rye flour (roggebloem)
4 grams salt
15 grams ground aniseed
10 grams baking powder
1 egg, beaten
rice flour (optional)
1. Bring 170 grams of the sugar, the honey and 80 grams of the water to the boil. Take pan off the heat and stir in the pastry flour, rye flour and salt. Cover and leave to rest at room temperature for one day.
2. Preheat the oven to 210C/410F.
3. Knead the rest of the sugar, ground aniseed, baking powder and the rest of the water through the dough. You can try and use a stand mixer (like a Kitchenaid), but the dough is quite tough so be sure to stay with the mixer as there is a chance it will overheat. I kneaded by hand for a bit first and then transferred to the mixer.
4. If using a mold: dust with rice flour, push dough into mold. Use a knife to cut off excess dough and coax the dough out of the mold.
If using cookie cutters: roll out dough to 1 cm thickness in a lightly flour working surface. Cut out figures with cookie cutters.
5. Place figures on a greased baking tray. Brush with beaten egg. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes. Leave to cool on a wire rack.