Saturday, May 17, 2014

Three-Bite Dutch Letters

Three-Bite Dutch Letters: when a whole S is just too much.

Ah, Dutch letters. If you've never had them, just imagine buttery, flaky puff pastry wrapped around a soft, sweet filling. It’s hard to identify the filling because it mostly tastes sugary, but it’s actually sugar and almond paste. And there’s just enough of it in the middle to make this a sweet treat. Tonight I made these because I didn’t feel like going to the trouble of making cookies for a church event I was asked to make cookies for. Yeah. I don’t know what I was thinking. These are not, in fact, easier or faster than cookies, but they are so much more impressive. If I’d started making the pastry the night before and had the dough ready to go the next day, it probably would have taken half the time, and the “cookies” would not have arrived late to their destination, but I just wasn’t rolling like that this week. Good for me that I go to a church that lives out the tenet of Grace in every aspect of its function.

At any rate, although I already have two Dutch letters posts here on Food Pusher, I thought these were so cute on their own that I took too many pictures and am posting instructions on how to make them this size. Enjoy.

Three-Bite Dutch Letters

--from Midwest Living magazine (and Jaarsma’s Bakery

· 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


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.

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).

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured pastry cloth or wax paper. Knead the dough 10 times by pressing and pushing dough together to form a rough-looking ball, lifting pastry cloth (or wax paper) 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 15x10-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 7-1/2x5 inches).

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.

For filling, in a small bowl, stir together egg white, almond paste, 1/2 cup granulated sugar and the brown sugar. Set aside or, while the dough chills, form the filling into ropes. To shape filling, take a tablespoon size portion of filling and gently roll it into a rope of about 5/8-inch thickness. Set aside on a wax paper lined tray until ready to use. (Click here and scroll down to the bottom of the post to see the filling ropes.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

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 12-1/2x10-inch rectangle. Cut rectangle crosswise into five 10x2-1/2-inch strips.

Place a rope of filling down the center of one strip. (If the fililng rope is too long or too short, break off pieces or add them as needed.) Brush one long edge with water, roll from un-moistened side to the moistened side. Position rolled dough so that the seam is on the bottom, and gently press down on top to seal and slightly flatten the bottom. Set aside and repeat with remaining strips of dough.

Line a baking sheet with parchment. Cut each stuffed dough log into fourths.* Place pieces on prepared baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between pieces. Brush letters lightly with water and sprinkle with a little granulated sugar.

Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 18-21 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from baking sheet. Cool on wire racks.

Makes about 80 three-bite Dutch letters

*At the point of cutting the logs into fourths, you can place them on a wax paper lined sheet pan and freeze. Once they are completely frozen (about 2 hours), place them all in a gallon size zip-top bag. When you're ready to bake them, place them on the parchment lined baking sheet as stated in the directions, preheat your oven, and bake. They may take a little longer after having been frozen, but not much. They're good for about 6-8 weeks in the freezer, I'd say. Before you bake them, make sure your oven is very hot. I actually preheat my oven for nearly an hour. This ensures optimal rise.

The little dough logs freeze well and can be baked
later--I'd say up to two months later. See note above.


  1. I just made these. I used 1 box of store bought puff pastry and they taste very much like the Jaarsma's Bakery Dutch letter cookies. VERY easy to make. Thumbs up on this recipe.


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