I grew up on a breakfast of buttered bread with a layer of jam and fresh pastries on Sundays. That’s how we did things in Belgium back in the 80’s. Cereal was new and expensive and I don’t think a lot of people had heard of muesli. Compared to all the breakfast options we have today, it seems very boring and unhealthy. Now and again though, I like to go back to this kind of breakfast purely for nostalgic reasons.
Something that was always on the table at home was peperkoek (spiced bread). It’s not really a bread in the traditional sense. The concept is similar to banana bread: looks like cake but is called “bread”. The proper peperkoek has rye flour and lots of honey. It is light on the inside and has a dark brown, soft, sticky crust. I found this version of peperkoek when I was looking for a simpler recipe that didn’t have so much sugars in it. Granted, this recipe still calls for 250g of brown sugar but the amount of the honey is limited to 1 and a half tablespoons.
The spices is what makes this bread an absolute dream. If you are a fan of speculaas (biscoff cookies) this will be right up your street. It uses the exact same spices. You can find my recipe for speculaas spice mix here. The only way to eat this peperkoek is with a rather thick layer of real butter. Another way to really enjoy it is by putting a slice in between 2 slices of fresh, crusty white bread.
So this isn’t going to be in the top 10 of “healthy breakfasts for you” but it definitely would be part of the “tastiest breakfast treats” list. I think you should try this peperkoek. If anything, for the fact that it makes your house smell amazing. But, if you’re trying to cut down on sugar as part of a new year’s resolution, just save it for later via my Pinterest board.
What is your favourite breakfast? Do you make an extra effort on the weekend? And does anyone make their own croissants?
Peperkoek (spiced bread)
Makes 1 big loaf
100ml of water
2 tsp baking powder
250g dark brown sugar
2 tsp speculaas spice mix
1 1/2 tbsp runny honey
1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C.
2. Line a rectangular cake tin with baking paper.
3. In the bowl of a standmixer fitted with a whisk (or use a big bowl and a handmixer), mix all the ingredients except the flour and baking powder.
4. When the mixture is smooth, add the flour and baking powder, a tablespoon at a time. Mix until all the flour is incorporated. Then mix on medium-high speed for about 7-10 minutes. When you stop mixing you should see bubbles trying to form on the surface.
5. Pour the mixture in the cake tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 1hr. Use a knife or skewer to check if it is baked completely.
6. Take the peperkoek out of the oven and let it cool for 5 minutes before taking it out of the tin and letting it cool further on a wire rack.