Dutch Letters

We have friends who live in Iowa, and we visit them quite often.  During one of these visits we went to the Pella Tulip Festival.  If you haven’t been there, I highly recommend it. It is an adorable little town, with great food, beautiful flowers, and fun activities.

When I say great food, I’m specifically thinking about Jaarsma Bakery.  They have some very delicious items for sale.  One of my favorite items is a Dutch Letter.

I don’t like almonds, but I love these.  They are a light flaky pastry filled with an almond paste based filling.  So delicious.


Well our friends from Iowa visited us a few weeks ago and brought some of them with them.  I was then feeling pretty ambitious, and decided to make my own! I found many recipes that said they were based off the Jaarsma recipe.  I chose the one that looked the most reliable.  Though, they were all pretty much the same.  The only thing I would do differently is, I would use an egg wash on these.  The recipe doesn’t say to, but another one did, and I think that would have helped keep them in one piece.

Dutch Letters

  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups cold butter (1 pound)
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 cup ice water
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 8 – ounce can almond paste
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • Granulated sugar


  1. For dough, in a large mixing bowl, stir together flour and salt. Cut cold butter into 1/2-inch-thick slices (not cubes). Add butter slices to flour mixture; toss until slices are coated and separated.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, stir together egg and ice water. Add all at once to flour mixture. Using a spoon, quickly mix (butter will remain in large pieces and flour will not be completely moistened).
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured pastry cloth. Knead the dough 10 times by pressing and pushing dough together to form a rough-looking ball, lifting pastry cloth if necessary to press the dough together. Shape the dough into a rectangle (dough still will have some dry-looking areas). Make corners as square as possible. Slightly flatten dough. Working on a well-floured pastry cloth, roll dough into a 15×10-inch rectangle. Fold 2 short sides to meet in center; bring top edge down to meet bottom edge to form 4 layers each measuring (rectangle will now measure 7-1/2×5 inches).
  4. Repeat the rolling and folding process once more. Wrap dough with plastic wrap and chill for 20 minutes. Repeat rolling and folding process 2 more times. Chill dough for 20 minutes before using.
  5. For filling, in a small bowl, stir together egg white, almond paste, 1/2 cup granulated sugar and the brown sugar. Set aside.
  6. Using a sharp knife, cut dough crosswise into 4 equal portions. Wrap 3 portions in plastic wrap and chill. On a well-floured surface, roll 1 portion into a 12-1/2×10-inch rectangle. Cut rectangle crosswise into five 10×2-1/2-inch strips.
  7. Shape a slightly rounded tablespoon of the filling into a 9-inch-long rope and place it down the center of one strip. Roll up the strip lengthwise. Brush edge and ends with water; pinch to seal. Place, seam side down, on an ungreased baking sheet, shaping strip into a letter (traditionally the letter “S”). Brush with water and sprinkle with additional granulated sugar. Repeat with remaining dough strips and filling. Repeat with remaining dough portions and filling.
  8. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden. Remove from baking sheet. Cool on wire racks.


  •  For best results, use an almond paste made without syrup or liquid glucose.

Here are the ones I made!

Dutch Letters Dutch Letters 2 Dutch Letters 1


As you can see, they are broken.  That’s because these are actually the ones I mailed to Houghton.  They didn’t travel well.  I’m trying to find ways to prevent that.  I think maybe mixing the butter in a little more will help, and the egg wash should help give it a slight shell that should work.

I did an S, but you could do any letter you want.

These are quite tasty!


Gluten-Free Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

I originally found this recipe to make as a Christmas gift for one of my friends since she tends to avoid wheat gluten.

Its always been hit and miss for me when it comes to gluten-free cookies, but I think these were really delicious and worth it!

I found the original recipe here.  The only changes that were made to it, were I used dark chocolate chips instead of milk, and when they were made my friend used three large eggs instead of two jumbo.

Final Product

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies-in-a-Jar
By: Nicole @ Gluten-Free on a Shoestring.com
Recipe type: Cookies
Prep time:  10 mins
Cook time:  10 mins
Total time:  20 mins
Serves: 24
Gluten-free double chocolate chip cookies
  • 2 cups (280 grams) all-purpose gluten-free flour (I use Better Batter)
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if using Better Batter)
  • ⅔ cup (80 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1½ cups (300 grams) granulated sugar
  • 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 extra-large eggs at room temperature, lightly beaten
  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, place flour, xanthan gum, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and sugar, and whisk to combine well. Place the chocolate chips in a small bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of the dry ingredients and set the bowl aside.
  3. Add the butter, vanilla and eggs to the dry ingredients, mixing after each ingredient until the dough comes together. Add the chips and reserved dry ingredients, and mix until the chips are evenly distributed throughout the dough.
  4. Drop the dough by rounded tablespoons on nonstick rimmed baking sheets about 1 inch apart. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes until firm.
  5. Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake until just set, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet until almost entirely cool and solid. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet to cool completely.
To make cookies-in-a-jar, into a 1 liter (or 1 quart) mason jar, layer in first the flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, and salt, then the cocoa powder, followed by the sugar and, finally, the chips. After each layer, tap the jar on the counter to help the ingredients settle into an even, compact layer. On a hang tag, write out the instructions for the recipient to make the cookies
Let me know how yours turn out!

Super Simple Mini-Key Lime Pies

This is a recipe my family has used for years.

Most of the Key Lime Pies you see out there are bright green. Well my mom is from Florida and she will be the first one to tell you that real, Florida Key Lime Pie is not green…its yellow.


There are a few different ways to make it, some recipes call for eggs and cream of tartar, but this is a simple version that is really quick and easy.

Super Simple Mini-Key Lime Pies

1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup key lime juice (fresh or bottled)
1/2 pint Heavy whipping cream
Pie crust (pre-packaged or homemade.  I make mine with 1/2 cup shortening, butter, or lard; 1 1/3 cups flour; 1/2 tsp. salt; and 3 Tbsp. cold water.)

Divide crust up into one inch balls.  Press into tart pan. Bake at 425 degrees for 7 to 9 minutes, or until golden brown. Set aside to cool.  When they are cool enough to touch, remove from tart pan and set on cooling rack or serving tray.
In a medium bowl mix sweetened condensed milk, and key lime juice until thick.  Spoon into decorator bag, cut off tip, and squeeze into crust. (If you don’t have decorator bag, a ziploc bag works too.)
In a medium metal bowl, beat whipping cream until it has a whipped cream consistency.  Be sure not to beat it too long or it will turn into butter.  Just before it reaches right consistency, add enough sugar to sweeten it. Spoon into a clean decorator bag with coupler and tip, and put a dollop on each tart.

The tarts are now ready to eat! (Tip: these tarts are best served chilled.)


If you want to make this as a whole pie, just double the filling and the whipped topping.

Let me know how the turn out!

Sunrise Potatoes

Every Christmas my family goes to my Grandma’s house after opening a few presents at my house.  We do presents and brunch at my Grandma’s.  Every year we always have the same egg casserole for brunch.  I’ve never been a big fan of it, but we make it anyway.  Oddly enough I’m also the one who ends up making it….huh…

Well I though that it was time for a change, and this year I wanted to try something I had seen of Pinterest a while back.  They are called Sunrise Potatoes.  The original pin lead me back to Our Best Bites.  I thought they looked tasty.

I made them for Christmas morning. They were a hit! Everybody said they were really good! And they were really simple to make! The best part was, the potato that i scooped out was used later that day for the Mashed Potatoes at dinner.  No waste!

You know they look tasty….go to the original sight and give them a try.


Gluten-Free Cooking

Gluten-Free cooking and baking has become pretty popular.  Mostly for health reasons.  There seems to have been an upswing in gluten allergies and gluten-intolerance. That is no reason for 4-H not to adapt.  I think 4-Hers should start looking at alternative diets.  Not diets to help you lose weight, but diets to improve health.

After all….that is what one of the Hs stands for.

Marathon County 4-H is looking for some suggestions as to what some good, healthy, tasty gluten-free recipes might be.

There is a lot of negative stigma around Gluten-free, and we want to show that its really not bad at all.

Submit your recipes to marathoncounty4hwi@gmail.com

Thanks!Gluten Free Foods