Holiday Cookie Traditions on Aruba
During the holiday season, several varieties of cookies with Dutch origins serve as some of Aruba’s traditional culinary confections. While the cookies are similar in their spice ingredients—thanks to the impact that the Dutch East India spice trade had in the 17th and 18th centuries—the textures and shapes are the more defining features.
Taai-taai (pronounced “tie-tie”)
Taai-taai translates to “tough-tough,” as these cookies are a bit tough and chewy in texture. Made with rye flour, honey, brown sugar, and most notably ground aniseed, they are festively shaped as dolls or Sinterklaas himself through the use of baking molds.
Pepernoot translates to “pepper nut” and is a small, nugget-sized cookie. Although the texture is very hard and crunchy, the taste is very much the same as taai-taai, as they were traditionally made from the leftover scraps of dough used to make the taai taai molded cookies. These are a favorite of local children.
Often referred to as “windmill cookies,” these thin and crispy biscuit cookies are a shortbread-style cookie most often imprinted with a windmill shape. They have a toasted brown color from the caramelized gingerbread dough, which is spiced with cinnamon, cloves, and ginger. These have become popular worldwide and can often be found year-round.
This cookie, translated as “syrup waffle,” is comprised of two round waffle cookies made from a simple dough of flour, water, brown sugar, butter, yeast, and milk that is poured uniformly into a waffle iron and baked to a crisp. Sandwiched between the two cookies is a caramel center made with syrup, cinnamon, butter, and brown sugar. These have become so popular that they are sold worldwide, year-round.
*All of these cookies can be found during the holiday season at our local grocery stores and supermarkets.