The Taaitaai Quest
About a month ago Dutch baking blogger Mannin posted an appeal in an online food blogger community. She had baked the traditional St. Nicholas delicacy taaitaai (“tough tough”) but thought they looked boring without the traditional shape and pattern. The bloggers began to search for original woodcuts, but they were so rare that they decided to get them custom-made. Mannin approached Jan of koekstempel.nl, who makes bespoke molds and stamps for cookies, speculaas, and recently also taaitaai. In order to create the woodcuts Jan needed clear templates, and that’s when I jumped on the bandwagon.
I made pencil drawings of a Sint, Piet, and traditional taaiman, and turned them into digital drawings so Jan could work his magic. I was overjoyed when I found the mold in my mailbox yesterday and I immediately gave it a try. I had already prepared a traditional taaitaai recipe that uses honey, rye flour and ground star anise. It was my first time making taaitaai but working with the wooden mold was plain sailing. When these good-looking taaimen came out of the oven they filled my flat with a lovely aniseed smell. I am really happy with my woodcut and very excited to see how the taaitaai figures of the other bloggers turn out!
"What made Nelson Mandela great was precisely what made him human. We saw in him what we seek in ourselves,"