Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Letter for the Holidays

Made in Arizona

My mom figured out how to make these "Dutch Letters" by practicing over the years and trying out various recipes on her family until we confirmed that she had duplicated and then improved on the letterbanket product that you can purchase at Jaarsma Bakery in Pella, Iowa. Jaarsma's are fantastic, although I prefer my mom's now, because she doesn't put as much sugar on the outside, and makes better almond paste (which is what goes inside the letter. Also, hers are flakier, and lighter. They are like eating sweet almond clouds. 

She doesn't make them every year, but sometimes at Christmas she feels like making cookies and pastries. Among the different types she makes, I think these are a pain in the ass to fabricate, so I really appreciate it when she shows up with a box full. It feels like Christmas when she does that.

As she presented me with this batch, I asked her why they are always in the shape of an "S". She said that it stands for St. Nicholas. Or Sinterklaas, I suppose.

It looks like you can order letters from Jaarsma Bakery now, over the web, which I don't need to do since my mom makes them better, but you could. Although, if you were going to order something from Pella, I might start you off with some Pella Bologna from Ulrich's. 

This of course is not particularly bicycle-related, although letterbanket do come from the Netherlands, and I will have to ride a lot of miles to burn these calories. Get up. Go ride.



  1. {grin} Nice to have such a pleasurable reason to have to get up and go ride a little extra, huh?

  2. Boy, that looks good!
    Sweet almond clouds....

  3. Emma, it sure is, although the scales appear to be tipping toward "sit down, eat more" at the moment.

    limom, I should probably add, the Jaarsma's version is coated with crunchy sugar crystals which I really liked as a kid, but which are a little too much for me now. They also make a cinnamon crispy drenched in cinnamon sugar which is probably best consumed by me in my memories. Although, the memory of a cinnamon crispy drenched in sugar is not the same as eating one.


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