Koggetjes (Dutch Caramel Cookies)

February 13, 2023
4 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • makes about 36 cookies
Author Notes

My mom is Dutch and over the years of visiting our family in the Netherlands has introduced me to an array of snacks and cookies that have become staples in our house. You see, where the Dutch really excel culinarily-speaking is in their sweet treats—and one of my all-time favorites is Koggetjes, or Dutch caramel cookies.

The storied history of these cookies goes back to 1935 when Amsterdam held a city-wide baking competition to see who could come up with a high-end cookie to represent the city. Both the Dutch Pastry Baker’s Guild and the Roman Catholic Baker’s Guild competed, with the former ultimately taking the prize for the best cookie. The Dutch Pastry Bakers Guild barred the Roman Catholic Bakers Guild from reproducing and selling the cookie in the years to follow, producing a special tin to hold the cookies. While it’s not for certain, the name Koggetjes is thought to be derived from the word "kog" in Dutch after the cog ships that established Amsterdam as a trade port centuries before.

The cookies are shockingly easy to execute for such worldwide fanfare. They’re crispy and small, coming in at about 2 inches, compared to most American-style cookies (as my mother repeatedly pointed out while testing these). Caramel is of course the star here, but I’ve added vanilla extract, a bit of ground cinnamon, and some salt to up the flavor. I love dipping them in tea which slightly softens the Koggetjes and creates pools of caramel in your mouth. —Alexis deBoschnek

What You'll Need
  • For the caramel:
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • For the cookie dough:
  • 10 tablespoons (1¼ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg white
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • cups all-purpose flour
  1. Heat the oven to 350˚F with a rack set in the middle of the oven. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or a nonstick mat.
  2. Make the caramel: Add the sugar and 3 tablespoons water to a small pot over medium-high heat. Cook, gently swirling the pan without stirring, until the sugar has dissolved and the caramel turns a deep golden-brown color and the temperature reaches 320˚F, about 7 to 10 minutes. Pour the caramel onto one sheet pan and let cool completely.
  3. Once the caramel has cooled, about 5 minutes, transfer it to a cutting board and finely chop until there are no pieces larger than a pea.
  4. Make the cookies: Add the butter and sugar to a large bowl and use a hand mixer on medium speed to cream until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the egg white, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and salt. Beat until smooth. Add the flour and beat until combined, about 30 seconds. Add the chopped caramel and use a spatula to fold in until just combined.
  5. Bake the cookies: Roll 2 teaspoons of dough and place on the remaining sheet pan, making sure the dough balls are placed 2 inches apart. Use your fingers to gently press the dough balls to flatten (about ⅓-inch-thick). Bake on the middle rack until the edges are lightly golden brown, about 10 to 13 minutes.
  6. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling completely (you may have to reuse the sheet pan to bake all the cookies). Repeat with the remaining dough, as needed.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Smaug
  • Alexis deBoschnek
    Alexis deBoschnek
Alexis deBoschnek is a freelance recipe developer, cook, and video host based in the Catskills.

3 Reviews

Smaug February 17, 2023
I liked this recipe a lot- I find as I get older, my taste in cookies runs more to the light and simple. I would like to assure the author that giant cookies, while popular with commercial bakeries as a convenient sales unit, are not really the American way- my grandmother, mother and I have always made normal sized cookies
The recipe is pretty simple- the caramel requires a bit of handling; it can fly around if you go at it too hard with a knife, and will clump up pretty fast in a humid room. I'm of the no water school of caramel cooking, and would recommend a small nonstick skillet, though it will make the color a little more difficult to see.
As the author doesn't specify how she measures the flour that amount is a little uncertain- I used a conversion rate of 125g/cup, and I think could have used another Tb. or so. A couple of things in the instructions seem unnecessary- you don't need a handheld mixer, I used a stand mixer, and it would be no problem by hand. And cookie sheets (if you have them) would be better than sheet pans. I skipped the cinnamon, which seemed like a huge departure from the original; I did sprinkle a couple with cinnamon sugar before baking, and it was good.
I looked up what seems like an original recipe- at any rate it's a Dutch recipe from 1935, and there are some differences. No egg, but it does add some milk- they're presumably using European butter, so that might be why. No vanilla extract, but it does use some vanilla sugar. And the major proportions- flour/sugar/butter- are significantly different; I'll have to give that one a try, but this is a good recipe.
Alexis D. March 14, 2023
I'm so glad you enjoyed the cookies! I tried quite a few original Dutch recipes but found them to be lacking -- or that we didn't have the ingredients available in the States.
Smaug March 14, 2023
I'm a little disappointed more people haven't (apparently) tried this- the trick with the caramel was a new one on me; quite simple and it worked very well; it could be used in other applications. Still haven't tried my old recipe, but the ingredients are no problem.