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Sunday, April 26, 2009

muisjes koekjes

April must be the month for boys to be born. In the past week, we have had the arrivals of three. My nephew was born last week and two more friends in the neighbourhood received the joy of first borns. And I know at least three more friends expecting the arrival of little men anytime now.

While babies are a joy to hold and to play with, motherhood in the first month is really not easy. Trust me, it is exhausting! Not only the little joy has to be fed every two hours, you have to change them, burp them and just before you thought you can get a little shut eye and put your feet up, it is their next feeding round.

And there is the thing about not having time to yourself. Sometimes you feel you can't even have time to shower. And there is the thing about being up to visitors who no matter how good they are at making appointments just to see mommy and baby, you just can't wait for them to leave.

There is this beautiful tradition in The Netherlands where the visitors are usually treated to muisjes on beschuit - anise sugar sprinkle on buttered rusks. You get the pink and white ones for girls and blue and white for boys. I love the tradition and the taste of the beschuit with muisjes.

I thought it would be great to make cookies with the muisjes so instead of spending time in the kitchen preparing the beschuits, which if you have a group of visitors at the same time can take a while; you can just bring a cute cookie jar or tin out and serve them with tea or coffee.

The muisjes are already sweet enough so the cookie base has to be more neutral and rusky. I devised the basic recipe for the sugar cookies and cut down the sugar further, replaced a cup of flour with oatmeal and instead of using almond meal, I used half a cup of chopped toasted almond. The result is a buttery, crunchy oatmealy and nutty sweet and spicy cookies which was very popular with my two friends and their families. I left a cookie tin with each so they can serve them for their guests but they both told me they left the cookie tins by their bedside for their own enjoyment.

Muisjes Koekjes

1 cup flour
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup almond - toasted and chopped
1/4 cup corn flour
125g light brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
250g butter- cubed
1 egg, slightly beaten
3 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
a bit more milk or eggwash to glaze the cookies
enough muisjes to decorate the cookies

1 Using a food processor, combine and pulse the dry ingredients for a few minutes.
2 Add in butter, egg, milk and vanilla extract.
3 Blend thoroughly
4 Chill in disk shape in 3 different plastic bags for at least 30 minutes. This will make them so easy to roll.
5 Heat up the oven to 160 C
6 Take the chilled dough from the fridge and set on a floured board.
7 Using a floured pin, roll out the dough to about a 1/4 inch thickness.
8 Cut out and brush with a little milk.
9 Place the muisjes in a bowl. Press each cookie into the muisjes.
10 Place them on an ungreased cookie pan.
11 Bake for 10- 12 minutes at 400 F or 160 C.
12 Remove the cookies from the oven as soon as you see them turning color at the base of the cookie.
13 Let cool completely.


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