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Festive Almond Meringues

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling totally Christmassy, and miraculously have a little bit of time on my hands. Normally, this time of year, I’m super stressed and don’t even have time to wrap my gifts or pack my suitcase. But all is good this year – plenty of time left to wrap, bake, and chill out. For this reason, I decided to make these festive almond meringues for friends and family. Wrap them up in a cellophane bag, and they’re just a lovely little gift during the holiday season. You can change up the colourings or flavourings easily – these would be really nice with peppermint flavouring too. Almond just feels very festive to me, though, so I went for almond.

 

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Don’t they just look happy and festive, like little Christmas dreams? They’ll just cheer you right up. Let’s make them.

 

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Gingerbread with Almond Paste (Gevulde Speculaas)

If you aren’t Dutch, you probably have never come across this type of biscuit/cake – unless you’ve been to Christmas markets somewhere and decided to pay £6 for a slice.

 

If you have, then you will know how absolutely delicious this is, especially if you love almonds. If not, you’ll just have to take my word for it. Imagine a layer of moist almond filling, sandwiched between two layers of lovely spicy gingerbread. If you don’t like almonds or gingerbread, don’t read on.

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Pepernoten (Dutch Gingernuts) Recipe

Pepernoten (also called kruidnoten) are something that everyone in the Netherlands grows up with. These little brown biscuits are a key feature of our major December holiday, ‘Sinterklaas’. Sinterklaas (or Sint Nicolaas) is our Santa or Father Christmas: he brings presents, wears red, is beloved by children.

 

Unlike Santa though, Sinterklaas rides a horse, is dressed like a Bishop, lives in Spain (although his nationality is Turkish) and leaves the chimneys to his army of helpers in blackface… So not quite the same.

 

These biscuits, though, only appear in stores around the time Sinterklaas is due to make his way over to the Netherlands, and are associated with the holiday as the treat children are given by Sinterklaas and his helpers.

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