Best Dutch Cookies (Arnhemse Meisjes Sparkling Cookies)
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Best Dutch Cookies (Arnhemse Meisjes)

The irresistible Dutch cookies called Arnhemse meisjes are cracker thin, sweet, and crunchy. They are sometimes called sparkling cookies because they covered in sanding sugar and sparkle in the light!

Dutch Cookies in a metal pail

While some might argue that speculoos or Biscoff cookies are the best Dutch cookies, don’t rule out Arnhemse meisjes until you’ve tried them. They are always so popular and you can even make them in fun shapes like I do when I make dessert nachos.

What Makes These Dutch Cookies so Unique

No Sugar in the Batter

Arnhemse meisjes are the only cookies I’ve ever seen with no sugar or sweetener of any kind in the batter! They get their sweetness from the sugar on the outside of the cookie.

Instead of rolling the dough out on flour, you roll the dough out on sanding sugar. The crunchy sanding sugar becomes embedded into the cookies, creating sparkling cookies and a sugary sweet crunch.

Yeast

It seems counterintuitive that such flat cookies would use yeast. But, the yeast gives the cookies just enough lift to have a small air pocket. For this recipe, it is important to use instant or rapid-rise yeast. These yeasts are designed to be able to be added directly to dry ingredients.

How to Make Arnhemse Meisjes

Mix together flour, milk, yeast, and salt in an electric mixer.

Cut butter into four pieces and mix them in one piece at a time, beating for a full minute between each addition and an additional three minutes after the last addition. The dough should look smooth and satiny.

Adding Butter

Place dough in an oiled bowl that gives it a little room to rise, cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight. The cold dough is easier to roll and the refrigeration time gives the yeast time to grow.

When ready to bake, sprinkle a work surface liberally with sanding sugar as you would flour. Place some of the rest of the sanding sugar on top of the dough and roll the dough out to 1/8″ thick.

Add more sanding sugar to the top of the dough and also lift the dough and add more to the bottom as needed to fill spaces that don’t have much sugar or simply to keep the dough from sticking. For extra fun, you can also use sprinkles instead of sanding sugar – as shown below.

rolling Dutch cookies in sprinkles

Use a pizza wheel or a knife to cut the dough into diamonds (or any other shape you like).

Place the cut dough onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet, each dough piece one inch apart from the next.

Bake for 30-45 minutes, until the cookies have puffed up slightly and are a light brown color.

History of Arnhemse Meisjes

Arnhemse meisjes is a signature cookie of Arnhem in the Netherlands. These sparkling cookies are said to have been created by Hagdorn, a baker at Van Zalinghein in Arnhem who developed it around 1829.

The cookie recipe was made famous by Roald Dahl (yes, the same guy who wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) when he happened to be passing through Arnhem on a book tour, tasted the cookie, got a recipe, and put it in his cookbook (aptly called Roald Dahl’s Cookbook).

Other Must-Try Dutch Desserts

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Sparkle Cookies
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5 from 1 vote

Dutch Cookies

These Dutch cookies called arnhense meisjes are crispy with a sugary sweet crunch. Easy to make and so pretty and sparkeling!
Course Dessert
Cuisine Dutch
Keyword Arnhense Meisjes, Dutch cookies, sparkling cookies
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Rest Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Servings 40
Calories 30kcal
Author Stef

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sanding sugar

Instructions

  • In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix together flour, milk, yeast, and salt until stiff.
  • Cut the butter into four pieces and mix them in one piece at a time, beating for a full minute between each addition and an additional three minutes after the last addition. The dough should look smooth and satiny.
  • Place dough in an oiled bowl that gives it a little room to rise, cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight.
  • When ready to bake, preheat oven to 275 F.
  • Sprinkle a work surface liberally with sanding sugar as you would flour.
  • Place some of the rest of the sanding sugar on top of the dough and roll the dough out to 1/8" thick. Add more sanding sugar to the top of the dough and also lift the dough and add more to the bottom as needed to fill spaces that don't have much sugar or simply to keep the dough from sticking.
  • Use a pizza wheel or a knife to cut the dough into diamonds (or any other shape you like).
  • Place the cut dough onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet, each dough piece one inch apart from the next.
  • Bake for 30-45 minutes until the cookies have puffed up slightly and are a light brown color.
  • Cool on a cooling rack.

Notes

Some versions of this recipe call for the addition of a few drops of lemon oil. I did not add this, but it would be worth trying.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Dutch Cookies
Amount Per Serving
Calories 30 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Cholesterol 3mg1%
Sodium 8mg0%
Potassium 6mg0%
Carbohydrates 4g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 38IU1%
Calcium 2mg0%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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