All about kneecaps: the cookie we eat on New Year’s Eve

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Now that Christmas is over, we are fully focused on New Year’s Eve. Oliebollen , apple fritters , cocktails, patties… Heh, what?

Never heard of kneecaps? Then we can say two things: 1) You probably don’t come from the east and 2) this is everything you need to know about the traditional Dutch delicacy.

What are kneecaps?

A kippertje (in some dialects also called kippertie, kipperke or knijpertje) is a crispy thin wafer that most closely resembles one half of a stroopwafel – or a flat ice cream cone. But sweeter, and usually with cinnamon .

They are baked in a special waffle iron. Now you just connect it to a socket, but in the past the waffle iron was kept in the fire on a long stick. That is where the name comes from: the waffles were ‘squeezed’ between a squeezer.

You can eat your knees flat, but they are also often rolled up when they are still warm. They are then filled with whipped cream or, for example, buttercream . Incidentally, this was not always done, but we have only been doing so since the last century.

Officially, only the flat cookies are called ‘kneepertjes’; you call the rolled version New Year’s rolls. In practice, the rolled biscuits are often referred to as ‘kneepers’.

Where are they eaten?

Kniepertjes are mainly eaten in the east of the country: in the Achterhoek, Twente, Drenthe and Groningen. Each region has its own customs around the biscuits. In Drenthe, for example, they mainly eat flat kneecaps, while in Twente and the Achterhoek they prefer the rolled, stuffed variants.

Some people have another tradition; up to and including New Year’s Eve they eat a flat kneecap, from New Year’s onwards a rolled version. The idea then is that the new year ‘has not yet unfolded’.

How do you make your own knee pads?

To make kneecaps, you need a special waffle iron. Grease it with a lot of butter. Roll nice, even balls of the dough. These balls are placed in the waffle iron, which can then be squeezed shut. The cookies often take just over a minute to cook.

When the wafers are out of the iron, you can either let them cool immediately or roll them up first. This is easiest to do around a wooden stick, such as a thin rolling pin . Just before serving, fill them with plenty of whipped cream.

It is of course the most  foolproof  to make flat kneecaps – or at least start with that. You can use this recipe from Uit Paulines Keuken , for example.

Source: Culy by
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