A Dutch almond pastry called Banket

Breaking News: Check out our new recipe for Banket Bites — a new variation on this traditional Dutch pastry.

Important Update:  If you’re having trouble getting your hands on the almond paste necessary to make banket, see this latest post on how to make your own!

Second Update: We’ve just posted a cautionary tale on what NOT to do when making this banket recipe.  THIS recipe is perfect. Barb’s experiments were much less than perfect. Read about what NOT to do.

If you were to ask any of my family, nuclear or extended, what is THE most important family heirloom recipe, I think almost everybody would answer that it’s Banket. (Pronounced bahn-KET.) In my house, it is not Christmas until we’ve made Banket. Banket is a traditional Dutch pastry (have Barb and I mentioned that we are 100% Dutch? Our grandparents came over from Holland!) that is made in long tubes of pastry, with an almond paste filling. Some people shape the tubes into letters–into “Merry Christmas”, for example. We just do long skinny “baguettes”. It is unbelievably delicious, and any time I have served it to non-Dutch people, they have just about died from the deliciousness. (Now THERE’s a news headline for you–”Woman dies after sampling exquisite pastry, autopsy shows pleasure overload.”) Anyway, this is a wonderful thing, and is totally worth the very involved and time-consuming preparation.

Banket:

Pastry:

•1 lb. butter (Update: I just had TWO batches of this fail because I used warm butter. It needs to be cold, and cut into smaller chunks, so that it breaks into sorty of grainy granules, rather then just creaming into the flour.)

•4 c. flour

•1 tsp. baking powder

•1 tsp. salt

•1 c. ice water

If using a Kitchenaid mixer, mix the butter, flour, baking powder, and salt first, then drizzle in the ice water a little at a time, JUST until the dough forms a ball. (It might be a little less or a little more than 1 c., and it MUST be ice water.) If mixing by hand, cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter until all the butter is mixed in and the mixture is grainy. Then add the water a little at a time.

Roll the dough into a long oblong strip. Fold it in 1/3′s (fold the ends in 1/3 of the way) and let the dough rest in the fridge for 20 minutes or more.

Roll out into a long strip again, and fold in 3 again. Let rest for another 20 minutes.

Roll out 3rd time in long strip, fold in 3, let rest in fridge. Make filling (see below.) In a small bowl, whisk 2-3 egg whites with 1/4 c. water.

Filling:

•1 lb. almond paste, crumbled (don’t use marzipan–it has to be almond paste.)

•2 c. granulated sugar

•2 eggs.

Mix completely, then let chill in the fridge for 20 minutes or more. Divide filling into 8 equal parts.

Cut dough into 8 equal parts. Take one part and roll into a long strip (around 15-18″ long and about 6″ wide.) Put 1/8 of the filling along the strip in the middle, making an even ridge of filling about 1/2″ wide. Leave 1/2″-1″ of dough free on the ends. Fold the ends of the dough over the filling. Fold one side up over the filling, then the other. Using a pastry brush, brush egg white/water mixture along the seams, and use fingers to seal. Place tube (it will be around 1-2″ in diameter) on a long cookie sheet, seam side down. Brush top with egg white/water mixture, and sprinkle with a little sugar.

Repeat procedure with each of the 8 dough/filling portions. (I usually bake 4 sticks on a cookie sheet, but if you shape the tubs into letters, you’ll need to do each one separately.) Pierce the tops every 3-4 inches with a knife.

Bake at 450ºF for 15-20 minutes, until the top of the pastry is golden brown. Don’t be alarmed if some of the almond paste spills out–it is a favorite sneaky-snack in our house to eat the spilled almond paste after the pans come out of the oven. Let the pastry cool completely, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. To serve, cut in 1″ slices and serve on a beautiful plate. (or alternately, if nobody is looking, eat half a stick as fast as you can, skipping the plate. :-D)

LB

P.S.  Here’s a picture of my 3rd batch of the season–turned out prettier than the first 2:Banket

P.P.S. You may have to do some serious looking to find almond paste in the quantity you need. You can find little tubes of it in the grocery store baking aisle, but it’s ruinously expensive there. It’s best if you can find a predominantly Dutch community and buy the almond paste in #10 (7 pounds!) cans. I buy mine at a Dutch store in Jenison, Michigan, near Grand Rapids–I think the last can I bought cost about $30. It keeps practically forever if you wrap it tightly and store it in the freezer or coldest part of your fridge. I generally make at least 2 or 3 batches each year, and put all those sticks into the freezer. They make a great hostess gift or neighborhood gift, as well as a last-minute entertaining stand-by. Plus, I try to have at least 2 sticks left for Christmas Day, since it isn’t Christmas without banket. Try it–it’s so worth the effort!

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  1. I taught this recipe to my girls club at church and later I found one of them was turning out better banket than I was. Her secret was to roll the pastry loosely around the almond paste in the center leaving enough room for expansion of the inside roll. She had less problems with leakage than I did. Your Grandma used to make these every Christmas. Christmas smells at our house were wonderful.
    Joan

    • That’s what I do as well Aunt Joan! I also tend to roll the dough out a little thinner and in wider strips so I can wrap it around the paste twice… that helps A LOT! but you have to make sure you get the pastry dough JUST the right consistency or it won’t be nearly as flaky. I just , finished batch number 4 with 48 sticks made, and have had only 2 blowouts this year ( sorry mom- her favorite treat was the blowout part too!) best part is every time I make it it reminds me of baking with Grandma =) no better Christmas memory than that!

    • You can buy the 7# cans of Almond paste (and in smaller amounts) at VanderVeen’s Dutch store on 28th street in Grandville, MI. They sell everything!! Dutch. Fun store !!!!

      • ALMOND BARS – receipe – ALMOST as good as Banket :)
        and easier to make.

        Cream together -
        1 cup butter
        1/2#almond paste (grated) = (1 cup or 8 oz) I always add extra for more flavor :)
        Add –
        2 cups sugar
        2 eggs

        Mix together
        2 cups flour
        1/2 teas salt

        Add flour mix to first mix – pat into 9X13 greased pan (or Pam sprayed pan)
        Top with 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
        Bake in 300 degree oven for 40 minutes.

        • Are these supposed to be really soft in the middle 3/4 of the dish? Mine didn’t seem to be baked all the way, so I put them back in for another 5, then 10 min.
          (1 hr. total)

    • I make my own almond paste,i get the almonds in the supermart i cook them till the water boils take them out and peel them. for 8 pastrys i use 400 grams almonds 400 grams of suger 2 eggs and 4 tbs of lemmonjuice put in food processer and you ready to go i make mine 2 weeks before baking keeps well in the fridge.

    • I found a similar recipe in my mom’s things after she passed away, and it brought back the memories of heaven on earth when she baked this. Finally, after three years I got up the courage to try it myself, and have been giving away loaves to my neighbors and friends. To say it is to die for is definitely the truth. Everyone loves it, although my recipe isn’t as complicated as the one posted here. You make the dough and pop it in the fridge overnight, and the same with the filling. In the Chicago area, you can get almond paste at Jewel, and it’s on sale right now. It’s fun to bring back memories of my childhood, and remind me of the love in our home. Happy holidays to all, and enjoy your treat!

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  4. Hi,

    There seems to be a little misunderstanding about the word ‘Banket’ here.

    In Dutch, ‘Banket’ means ‘Pastry’ in general.

    The pastry you are talking about (these almond paste filled bars) are actually called ‘Banketstaaf’ in Dutch, where Banket = Pastry and staaf = bar.

    The stuffing in Dutch is called ‘Amandelspijs’, where Amandel = almond and spijs = an archaic word for ‘food’.

    Jos van Liempd

  5. Hi, Jos,

    Thanks for stopping in and bringing us up to speed on the language of banket. I can’t promise to stop calling this treat that we eat, “banket” but I love learning new things about the foods that my grandmas both baked for us when I was a child.

    warmly,

    Barb

  6. Hi, Barb,
    I was amazed to find someone actually home-making this. Never in my life (since 1954) have I ever seen a home-made Banketstaaf here in the Netherlands. Everybody buys it from the supermarket and i just tastes like cardboard. I think it’s reallly great that you make it yourself!

    How I got to ‘stop in’ here in mysisterskitchen is a funny coincidence. I was researching the word ‘Banket’ for a comedy piece I am writing on my weblog. It is about a little bakery-shop in the Netherlands, that is owned by a family called ‘Slager’ (which means butcher, so their shop is called ‘Bakery Butcher’, or ‘Bakkerij Slager’ in Dutch). They do have a website, and on their website the page labeled ‘Banket’ was inaccessible and clicking it returned a ‘Forbidden’ error message. Hoping that google might give me some nice suggestions, I queried for ‘Forbidden Banket’ and somhowe this got me to mysisterskitchen…

    Kindest regards,
    Jos

    • My mom is full dutch living in “Dutchland- Pella, Iowa” where she makes these homemade. There are so many stories of when she’d make a gift box of “dutch letters” as we call them, but they wouldn’t make it to the intended party. They kept getting eaten on the way! No one makes them like my mom. I have a few in the freezer from her now that we are eating a bit at a time. P.S. My mom’s mom was a teen and on a ship coming to the US when another boat sank- the Titanic.

      • Wow, Lila, what a great piece of family history to know! Several of our grandparents came over from Holland on a boat way back when and we’ve grown up hearing some of those stories too. Very cool.

      • My grandparents came from the Netherlands in 1911 into Ellis Island. Google EllisIsland, put in your g’parents names, and you can find out the date, where they came from, their age, etc. etc. what ship they came on – very interesting. Have fun!!!!

  7. Jos, We are laughing at the thought that you found us by googling “forbidden banket.” It makes it sound very exotic and mysterious.

    I was talking recently with someone who grew up with a host of very important traditional Christmas foods in her Swedish family. She said that when she was living on a medical missions ship that operates around Africa, there were people who were from Sweden, who only vaguely remembered or knew of her so-called traditional Swedish foods.

    We speculated that the European immigrants who came to the U.S. in the late 1800′s and early 1900′s brought certain “traditional” foods with them, and those traditions became ever more important to them here in the melting pot, while the foods faded to less prominence in their mother countries.

    I am sad to hear that banketstaaf is no longer the delicacy in Holland that it is here. (Sad for you–I can’t imagine banket that tastes like cardboard! My own is superlative. ;-) )
    It makes me wonder what are the must-have traditional foods in the Netherlands now. If you have any great recipes, we’d be happy to have them.

    Laura

  8. Hi Laura,

    Banketstaaf is still reasonably popular over here; it just doesn’t taste as well as it used to and nobody seems to know how to bake it well, anymore

    In my earlier message I forgot to mention that ‘Banketstaaf’ is/was usually eaten in the period of dec 5th (Sinterklaas, a Dutch pre-SantaClaus original holida) through Christmas.

    In my childhood most mothers got a Banketstaaf as a gift with Sinterklaas or Christmas. These were/are in the shape of a Roman capital ‘M’, and decorated with red and green pieces of confit fruits. Also the version shaped as an ‘S’ was/is popular; I believe the S stands for ‘Sinterklaas’ (I don’t know if you know about Sinterklaas, but that’s a whole other story – you may wat to check http://www.thehollandring.com/sinterklaas.shtml – tis site also has some related recipes).

    The most common name for what you call Banket is not Banketstaaf (only used for the bar-shaped version) but ‘Banketletter’ or ‘Een letter van banket’ (litterally: PastryCharacter resp. A Character made of Pastry).

    P.S.: probably your Banket tastes so good that that’s why it came up under ‘Forbidden’ ;-)

  9. Since I didn’t originally step in for a culinary reason, I forgot to mention that Banketstaaf is made with ‘Bladerdeeg’ which I believe in english is Fillo/Phyllo Pastry (or Millefeuilles in french).
    I don’t know if you do this, but in case you don’t – you may want to try. It is not for the faint hearted, though…:-)

    Here’s a good (eventhough it’s from the UK ;-) link:
    http://www.hub-uk.com/tallyrecip03/recipe0149.htm

    cheers,
    Jos

  10. Jos,

    We make our banket with a homemade pastry dough that is very flaky—full of butter. I’ve worked with phyllo dough before and this is a different sort of dough.

    My grandma used to shape her banket into letters and she called them Butter Letters (only she said it in Dutch, so it sounded a bit different than the English spelling.)

    Thanks so much for these wonderful bits of information on our heritage!

    Barb (by the way, you’ve been talking to two sisters: Barb and Laura)

  11. Barb & Laura,

    I got that, that I was talking to two sisters ;-)

    Your grandma probably pronounced it like ‘Boat-r-letters’, right?

    In the meantime, I have started browsing yor site a bit more and I think you’re doing a nice job!

    Bye for now & take care

    Jos

    • This recipe tastes just like Christmas at the neighbors’ in Grand Rapids from when I was growing up (they were Dutch, we are not) … thank you =)

      I have a question though, about shaping the loaves. It seems mine always seem to melt outwards and become flat. This doesn’t really affect the taste, but it doesn’t look as nice. Is there a way to avoid this flattening?

  12. I grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan and my grandma DeJong made the most fabulous homemade banket during every Christmas holiday.Some years,each banket was shaped into the first initial of our names…that was the best.
    I found this website because I was trying to find out the difference between marzipan and almond paste, following a little disagreement with someone today.
    I live in Seattle now and any Dutch food is rather hard to find.Lynden Washington has a restaurant called Dutch Mothers, but that is 2 hours away, and alas…I no longer eat gluten. No more banket for me, but I have great memories and a special place in my heart for almond paste.
    Thanks for giving me this time to remember my wonderful grandmother.And why do we Dutch love sugar so much ?
    Fondly,
    Sandy

  13. I need help with banket. When my Mom(Van Heel)made it, the filling was much firmer, not hard or anything & she did have some leakage on some rolls, but not squishy (filling) like mine are turning out. My pastry is fine, the recipe pretty much matches yours, but for the filling, we use 3 eggs, do you think that could be the problem? Plus I use extra large eggs, maybe my Mom used large? My mom has been gone nearly 10 years now and twice each year I make banket, but it is never as good as my Mom’s was. I use real almond paste from a Dutch store, not the canned variety. I have not done the folding & resting, & I’m not sure how that would affect the filling. My family say they love it, and the taste is good, it’s the texture that I can’t get! Help if you can!
    Nancy in Indiana

  14. Hi Nancy,
    I think the eggs might be part of the problem–try it with 2 instead of 3. I use extra large also, and 2 seems to be the ticket.

    Also, when you say you use real almond paste and not canned, I’m not sure what that means. The stuff I use comes from a Dutch store, but has always come in a #10 can (although I understand they are starting to package it in a big plastic tub now.) It is possible that you are using a different kind of almond paste, and that would contribute to the different texture. You might just run this by one of the staff at your Dutch store (look for a lady in at least her 60′s for the most credible knowledge! :-) )Ask them if the kind of paste you buy might make the texture different than your mom’s.

    Please let us know what you find out!

    Laura

    • I live in Lynden, WA and we bake banket every year for a fundraiser. We buy our almond paste in 50 pound boxes through a local representative of the American Almond Company. It is awesome paste! They also sell in smaller quantities, see their website. That makes 400 sticks, by the way, our recipe quite similar to yours, except we add a splash of real vanilla extract. We don’t bother rolling and resting, just let it sit as a ball for two hours (or overnight) in the fridge, and it does fabulous…put a little dusting of flour on the counter and on the roller (Pampered Chef makes a great little flour shaker), “pull” and squeeze the dough in your hands into a log until it is almost as long as you want it, and then roll it out the rest of the way on the counter. Someone asked about a thicker filling. Another traditional way to make the filling involves adding 4 crushed rusks (another Dutch delight) and using 3 large eggs instead of two in the filling. My mom is always trying different variations – she made this every year for our family, and we have to have it – it is the one Dutch tradition we hold onto, after over five generations! Also, the paste, unbaked and baked pastries freeze wonderfully – I have used paste 6 years old! The stix last up to a year or longer – make sure you repoke bf baking!

  15. Hi…after reading how yummy this is, and adoring almonds, I plan to try this one of these days. But far as I know, we don’t have any Dutch specialty stores near here (and I did date a guy from Holland for several years so I am pretty sure I would have heard about it lol).

    But even if we did, don’t think I would want that huge a can. I’m wondering if you are familiar with Solo Almond Cake & Pastry filling and if that would be ok to use?

    And to Nancy…I swear that there is an ingredient in a Mom’s hands that make things taste differently. I have a few family specialties my Mom not only taught me but made sure to measure out and even though I am a very good cook (if I do say so myself lol), and I can get hers tasting really close and pretty darn good, there is just something missing all the time. It’s that special ingredient I tell ya….Sniff!

    • If you found Solo Almond filling, the almond paste should be close by. I don’t know where you are from, but as I posted earlier, I get my paste at Jewel (Safeway?) Good luck finding it.

  16. Ellen, I’m not familiar with that filling, but it might be okay to use. Depending on how thick the filling is and how much it has already been sweetened, you might not want to add the eggs and sugar that we recommend for regular almond paste. The eggs and sugar will thin the paste out and if it’s too thin, you will end up with burned almond paste all over the bottom of your oven. You might want to experiment a bit with the Solo filling. Is it so dense that you have to cut it with a knife or the edge of a spoon? Then add some eggs and sugar. If it’s thin enough to spoon, then you should not add anything to it…just use it as it is.

    And I’m totally agreeing with you on the magic “mom” ingredient. My goal is to pass that mom magic on to my sons!

    Good luck,

    barb

  17. I grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan and eating almond letters at Christmas is a great memory. I asked my Aunt Annie to show me how to make letters one time when I was back in Kalamazoo visiting. She used the almond past from Meijers that is wrapped like a pound of cheese. Her letters were wonderful. Whenever we can, we buy some almond paste and bring it back with us. Now I find almond letters at my daughter’s home at Christmas time! How great is that!
    Now I have a question – can you please tell me the name of the fried dough goodie that sounds like “oliekooken, or oliebolen, or something like that??
    I sure enjoyed looking through My Sister’s Kitchen.
    Marcia in Augusta, Georgia

  18. Hi, Marcia, I’m glad you stopped by. I’ve written up some recipes for Olie Koeken. If you search for “Olie” you’ll come up with two of the recipes. Click on the first recipe. If you click on “next” at the bottom of each page, you’ll find the second and third recipes. I’m on a super slow connection right now and can’t post the links myself. When I get back home, I’ll try to edit this so that you can see the URLs here in the comment.

    Barb

  19. That’s it, Barb! Thank you! I had a friend that went to the Holland (Michigan) Tulip Festival this spring and I wanted to ask her if she saw any of this being prepared or served.
    I was always under the impression there were two ways to spell/pronounce this. The two ways reflected the geographic location in the “old country” – I don’t know which was which but, one was “high Dutch” and the other was “low Dutch”. High Dutch being the folks that lived near the sea and were more sophisticated, being influenced by the traders and visitors that came into the ports.
    My grandparents were from Groeningen – low Dutch for sure.
    Thanks again. I’ll check back soon. Marcia

    • my g’parents were from Gronigen also – Schaap was their name . Settled in Grand Rapids, MI
      I married a Kloostra from GR area. (g’parents also from Netherlands)

  20. I just found your wonderful informative site by googling butter letters. My mother in law, who is polish used to make them from a recipe in an Imperial margarine ad! When she gave me the recipe over 30 years ago, I made them with butter.
    Most of the recipes I have found have exactly the same proportions except they call for 4 cups of flour, 1 lb butter, 1 cup ice water. No baking powder.
    My mother in laws recipe only called for 3 1/2 cups of flour. Hers were quite light even though she mixed the dough quite well, not like a pie pastry.
    thanks,

  21. This sounds very close to my grandmother’s family recipe for Banquet (as she spelled it), which we always had at Christmas time when we visited her in Grand Rapids, MI. They sell it in the grocery stores there at X-mas time, but homemade is better.

    She used to make and chill the dough, make the filling, then roll the dough into 12×8 rectangles, put filling along one long edge, and then roll it up like a jelly roll and tuck the ends under.

    BTW, I have made it using Solo Almond Paste (NOT their almond filling) and that works fine. I bought the almond filling by mistake once, and that will not work (it’s a gooey pie type filling with hunks of almond in it, not a smooth thick paste). I prefer the almond paste that comes wrapped in plastic, but can’t always find it, whereas most grocery stores carry the solo brand.

    My mother and I still make this every December, and give rolls or half rolls away as Xmas gifts.

  22. I love making Banket and now my daughter does as well. I buy it in the 7 lb. tubs from Gordon Food Service stores. It is great! It is so yummy and a wonderful tradition to pass on to our children. My mother never made it because she was near a Dutch bakery in Holland, MI.

    Dottie
    Il.

  23. Hi – I am so glad to find this website! I never heard of Banket until I met my now-husband 22+ years ago. He’s from a Dutch family in Kalamazoo, Michigan and this was the ‘thing’ I had to learn to bake when we were first married. It isn’t that difficult! ;) I’ve taught others since. The other traditional dessert I had to learn to bake was a Snow Pie. Have you heard of that one? Its very similar to a souffle, and has almond flavoring. If you have heard of it, can you tell me anything about it? This recipe came from my hubby’s grandmother who is long since gone. No one really knows where it came from or anything else about it except that it is very tricky to get right. If the eggs are beaten too long or not long enough, the pie is either really puffy as it bakes then sinks to an inch high, or it just turns brown as it bakes. It’s supposed to stay white! Any information?

  24. Well, we’re assuming its a Dutch recipe because dh’s family is all Dutch/German (maybe it’s a German recipe?) It seems that only the daughters’ in-law can get it right! (probably because we know how much the husbands love it) ;) I can give you the recipe if you’d like. It’s been handed down for at least 3 generations so far. It’s added to Olie Bollen and Banket as the sweets to eat starting around Thanksgiving. I throw in homemade fudge from my side!

    Also, I wanted to give another idea for banket. I usually make it into a candy cane shape. I brush the dough with egg white/water and alternately sprinkle red and white sugar ‘stripes’. The kids love it :)

  25. I am the chef at Sheldom Meadows Living center in Hudsonville. I am looking forward to preparing this treat for our residents. Where did you say you found that almond paste in Jenison?

  26. Imagine my delight when searching for this recipe to find it published by someone else who both learned food was the language of love and enjoyed these delicious pastries in Kalamazoo, Michigan — my home town, although I’m now transplanted on the east coast. I had an aunt who baked these and I remember them tasting like heaven on earth. By the way, we called them ‘banket’ also, perhaps it’s a mid-west colloquilism of the name? Thanks for your great site! Take Care!

  27. Barb,
    thanks for posting this! My Grandmother made banket for us every christmas as well. The recipies are almost identical. I think it’s funny that the dutch in holland just buy it in the store, we also make stroopwaffels every year too.
    Happy holidays to you!
    Kelly
    Dutch in Maryland

  28. I am anxious to try making this again. Somewhere in the last many years, I quit making this and want to try again. Will it turn out okay if I only make a half recipe?

  29. Kelly, Trader Joes is a great source for stroepwaffels. I’ve never made them myself before. Would you share your recipe? I would LOVE to make them!

    Kate, I don’t THINK it would be a problem, but you will need to pay close attention to the texture of the dough. I’m just thinking how you can’t exactly double a pie crust recipe. When you make 2 crusts, the proportions are just a little different. It might be that way with banket crust too. Banket freezes nicely, so you could make an entire batch and freeze half of it!

    Barb

  30. Hi Kate – I have done only half a batch before and it turned out just fine. My dough is the same one as written here and it seems fairly forgiving. The only thing I do differently is to let the dough rest in the fridge for a day or so before starting the rolling process. My mother-in-law told me it gave it more flavor. ;) Don’t know if that’s true or not!

    Tammie

  31. Shawn, Sorry to be so late getting back to you. My inlaws got our almond paste at DeReuze in Grandville across from Rivertown Mall and next to D and W in a mall. I have also gotten it in the past a “VanderVeen’s Dutch Store” on 28th Street in Wyoming. I’m checking on a possible cheaper source. Have fun making banket!

    Laura

  32. Thank you so much for this recipe! This is the second time I’ve tried making banket. The first time was using my great-grandmother’s recipe who wrote down ingredients, but not methods. The pastry turned out dense and tough. But this recipe turns out a fantastic result – even better than I remember her making. In fact, this is the best banket I’ve ever tasted. And trust me, I’ve had a lot of banket!

  33. My family also makes banket every year for St. Nicholas Day and Christmas. My great grandparents came from Groeningen and even though there were probably Dutch bakeries in the Chicago neighborhoods where my grandparents and parents were raised, and I know Arnie’s and others in Grand Rapids make banket, we have always made it ourselves. Another tradition is to make Jon Hagel cookies – my dad’s favorite. This is my maternal grandmother’s recipe:

    1 c. sugar
    1 c. butter
    1 egg, separated
    2 c. sifted all-purpose flour
    1/2 t. baking soda
    ground nuts (she usually used walnuts, but I like almonds)

    Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg yolk. Stir in flour and soda to form a sticky dough. Spread very thin into a well greased pan. Rub dough with beaten egg white and sprinkle with ground nuts. Bake until golden brown, about 12 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Cut into squares while still warm – if you wait until cool, they will crack into pieces.

  34. Thank you for posting this great recipe! I grew up in Holland MI and have been making this with my grandmother (Dutch) since I was 10. She passed about 10 years ago, and I have been continuing to make this every holiday season (I’m 26 now and living in Chicago). I’m always happy to spread the joy of banket to every holiday party! I recently moved apartments and lost my recipe…which brought me to your site. The recipe seems to be quite the same, and I’m looking forward to baking this weekend!

    There is an all Dutch cook-book out there that everyone in Holland MI seemed to have (and my grandmother was no exception)…this is where my banket recipe came from. I believe it was published in the late 80′s / early 90′s. I have been trying to get my hands on it for some time, though no-one in Holland seems to be willing to give theirs up, and I haven’t found it for purchase. All I can remember is that it had a blue and white cover. It may have simply been a conglomeration of Dutch recipes from locals in Holland, though I’m not sure. If any of you know what I’m talking about, and/or have information on how to obtain this, please let me know!

    Thanks!
    -Mike

    • Hi, I found this wonderful site by looking for a Dutch letter recipe. (they’ re almost ready to go into the oven. While searching for the recipe, I found what seems to be a poopular Dutch cookbook. It’s called the Pella Cookbook, It seems to be one that has been published many times and I will be trying to get one. If you Google Pella Cookbook for sale there are several options including E-Bay and others. Hope this is of help. By the way what a wonderful site, thanks. Jay

  35. Mike! I have that same cookbook! It’s called Eet Smakelijk, and was put out by the Holland Junior Welfare League, PO Box 1633, Holland, MI 49422-1633. There have been several editions and many more printings, April 1964 being the first one. Mine was published in ’76 but printed in ’89, so there may be newer ones available. There is a notecard in the back to order more at the same PO Box. This book is almost 600 pages of recipes, a lot Dutch, some local celebrity favorites, plus others. My grandmother bought it for me at the Dutch Village Mall in Holland, it that helps. She also saw them at VanderVeen’s in Grand Rapids.

  36. Were is that Dutch store in Jenison? I live in hudsonville and am familiar with the area and am not sure what store this is. Could you please let me know. My mom no longer makes Banket – to much trouble for her. I miss this and around Christmas time and I know she had trouble in the past trying to find the almond paste. She usually brought it in a “brick” like a cheese brick. Any information would be wonderful. Thanks

  37. Lisa,
    Look up VanderVeen’s (Wyoming) and DeReuze (Grandville). Another commenter also mentioned that he had gotten the almond paste at GFS Marketplace, and that price seemed to be the cheapest. If all else fails, you can google “almond paste”, and find several sources that will sell you the 7-pound can for a lot more, plus shipping. Plan on spending at least $35-40 in town.

    Hope that’s helpful,
    Laura

  38. Tammie! thanks for the info. I did a little research online with the title you used…it is available online (at Amazon.com), also Readers World in Holland, as well as Dutch Village and VanderVeens like you mentioned. I’m heading to Holland for the Holiday, and will be picking one up for sure! Have you found it to be a good/useful cookbook?
    It’s more of a sense of nostalgia for me, though I’d love to try some new/old recipes! Thanks again!

  39. Hi Mike (my d.h.’s name too!) It is a good cookbook -the banana bread is excellent, the lemon bars, several chicken dishes (so far!) There are many old recipes which I tend to go for just because they aren’t around much anymore. It’s a good one to have around ;) I’m glad you could find it still!

    Tammie

  40. I got to this site trying to find a banket recipe. My grandmother always made this and when she wasn’t around there was a good Dutch bakery near our house. My grandmother would also make pie dough and make little pies (in a small muffin tin) filled with almond paste filling — wonderful!

    Pat

  41. Hi Mike or anyone in the Chicago area,
    I’m 25, living in Chicago and attempting Banket for the first time. I want to find authentic Almond Paste because my sisters say the canned stuff is too sweet. When I grew up in the Grand Rapids, MI area my mom (who has since past) always found Almond Paste in the grocery stores “wrapped like a pound of cheese”. Does anyone know anywhere in the Chicago area that would have it? I’ve tried a few places in Andersonville. Thanks!
    ~Meaghan

  42. Hi,

    I’ve made this and love it. Everyone thinks you’ve slaved over it. My recipe uses crushed rusk and I get the almond paste at Gordon Foods in Grand Rapids. We buy it in the fall when we come for apples and take it back to Iowa with us.

    Lois

  43. Hi Meaghan – I can only find it online. I like to order it from bluediamond.com in a 7 lb can. It is in the local stores, but it is outrageously priced for such a little bit. Here is the online address, if that helps: http://www.bluediamond.com/shop//nuts/paste.cfm I’ve also seen the wrapped version in several online stores. I’ve never tried it so I don’t know if there is any taste difference. You can also make your own paste with whole almonds in a food processor. There are several recipes out there for that too!
    Good luck!
    Tammie

  44. As a southside Chicago dutch guy, who went to College in Grand Rapids, Banket (BAHN-KET) and Almond Paste are pretty much staples of the holiday season.

    Try Walt’s in South Holland, Tinley Park, Crete, etc for Almond Paste. Some of the dutch Churches down here sell it as a fund raiser….Elim Christian School and Trinity Christian College, both in Palos Heights, have dutch festivals where almond paste, ollebollen, and banket are readily available.

  45. My sister and I had been making banket together for several years from a recipe handed down from our mother (almost exactly like the one you gave) We grew up around Chicago and were able to get almond paste in the brick form just like mom did. Then we moved to Colorado and were able to get the Solo almond paste in 8 oz cans. Then one year it suddenly became unavailable anywhere. We went into a panic. Fortunately I was able to find Solo’s on the web and call my order in the last part of November. (Sokol & Company 5315 Dansher Rd. Countryside, IL 60525 800-328-7656)
    so the tradition was saved. This year my sister moved to Arkansas closer to another sister so they will be carrying on the tradition there. I will be making it alone, but thinking of the fun we had eating the “blowouts.” We have such a call for banket that we would make 70-80 rolls at a time for family and friends. I enjoy seeing the variation with the colored sugars. We would add extracts to the fillings for flavor variation. Orange and lemon are two of our favorites. Last year for a lower carb version we make some with Splenda instead of sugar. The filling was a little creamier, that was the only way we could really tell the difference between the tradional and the lower carb variey. It was also greatly appreciated by my diabetic friends.

  46. I made Bankets for a reception for the new Director of Purdue Extesnion this week-(12-11-2007) everyone loved them

    My Grandma taught me how to make bankets- I still use her recipe which calls for a pound of flour, pound of sugar, pound of almond paste, 3 eggs, almond extract, and a cup of cold water. The first time I asked her how many cups were in a pound of flour and sugar she asked don’t you have a scale?- I do now- its grandmas.

    Grandma was born in Holland and grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan. My mom never learned how to make bankets- but my nieces are learning how. Tuesday was the first time I’d tried to do letter- worked quite well- grandma’s were better. She called them banket letters.

    Not only are these Christmas treats but also my son’s birthday treat and we also have them at Easter time- and any other time I want to make them.I buy the patse in the plastic tubs-
    Happy holidays,
    Julie Butus

  47. I am so excited about finding your recipe. I grew up in Muskegon, Michigan and am of Dutch & Swedish origin. I used to buy my banket from a bakery called Ryke’s, but after they changed owners, it was no longer available. I’ve tried Arnie’s, but am eager to try making it myself from your recipe. Thanks. I have the tins for sandbakkellse, but have not tried those yet,either. Have a great holiday season. Judy C.

  48. I just wanted to know if you can freeze banket? Do I need to make it first. I still have some pastry and filling uncooked in the refrig. and I wanted to know if I should freeze it that way or make it first. When you remove it from the freezer, how do you reheat? Thanks! I made this for my daughter because she had Holland when doing Christmas around the World. I was so proud of myself because it turned out great!

  49. Hi Carol,
    Congratulations on a successful first batch!

    You certainly can freeze banket–I have a LARGE pile of banket sticks sitting out on my (below freezing) back porch right now. I would recommend that you assemble the pastry and filling and bake it before freezing. Then all you need to do is let it sit out to thaw, and warm up with a minute or two in the microwave before serving.

    Merry Christmas!
    Laura

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  51. I just found your recipe for Banket (after i just made some)here is a question for you. Im also formerly from the G.R. area… can you tell me if your Banket is flakey like the banket you get at “Arnie”. I love there banket and the banket I made today is not flakey…. maybe I didnt do something right. Can you help me?

  52. Hi Cathy,
    I haven’t ever had banket from Arnie, so I don’t know about that, but my banket turns out flaky. There are a couple of key things that contribute to the flakiness: 1)using cold butter, not warm; 2)using only just enough ice water to make the dough stick together–too much will smooth it out and make it un-flaky; 3)not over mixing the dough–again, just mix it until it starts to form together, and then let the roll-outs do the rest; and 3)the 3 roll-outs, which create the layers of pastry.

    Hope that’s helpful,
    Laura

    • Hi. My grandmother was from Wolvega and Heerenveen in Friesland, NL. She purchased marzipan letters at Christmastime. I think a NYS store dealing in Dutch imports (MANY years ago) ordered them from Voortman’s in Canada. My great uncle was a baker, trained in the NL, and he made it from scratch a few times. Thank you so much for the information. I googled amandelspijs and my computer offered a translation option for the page with the recipe; others may want to try this. My grandmother also bought Dutch honey cake (a loaf shaped “quick bread” (no yeast). I have an old edition of the American Heart Association Cookbook that has a recipe for a similar cake. It’s a spice bread made with buttermilk and goes well a cup of tea.

      • Bonnie, I would love a peek at that recipe. My grandma and mom both used to make a spicy quickbread (yes, to eat with a cuppa tea) that called for grated citron. It was my favorite sweet treat when I was a child.

        Barb

  53. I make this every Christmas and give it to friends who I call “closet banket eaters’ as they hide it and will not share it with anyone. My daughters also make it. It is a family tradition. One question – one of my daughters lives in Albuquerque (high altitude) and has trouble with leakage. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  54. Hi Marion,
    I assume it’s the BANKET that’s leaking, not your daughter. :-)

    I am not sure that this is due to altitude, but I suppose it’s possible. My suggestion would be to pay extra attention to the “seams”–be generous with the egg-white, and go back over the seams with your finger to make sure it’s “glued” shut.

    Then, be sure to prick the top with a knife every few inches. My experience this year was that pricking it more, every inch or so, made it leak less. I guess it allows the steam to escape more readily or something.

    But realize that there is going to be some overflow of the filling–this is just one of those banket things, it’s going to leak a bit. I say, let the baker enjoy the overflow as one of the perks of the job. :-D

    Laura

    • I live in Santa Fe and altitude adjusted my mom’s recipe:
      No change in ingredients from the recipe here, bake at 450 for 20 minutes.
      Loosely wrap the tube of almond paste, allowing room for expansion, prick the wrapping, and be meticulous with sealing (a full 1-1 1/2 inch overlap well sealed by smearing the overlap with moistened fingers. Add a bit of prayer.

  55. As you can tell, I have a very common Dutch name. Both my parents came from the province of Friesland, The Netherlands.

    Banket was made every year close to the holidays and was a favorite of the family. We didn’t call it Banket but the recipe is the same. My brother and I still make it every year along with almond cookies. Both are favorites of our children.

    I was very pleased to see your comments about this on your web site.

    Gordon DeVries
    teatimefl@yahoo.com

  56. Hello, I too found this site by chance, when a customer came in asking if I made this pasrty? I never heard of Banket, so I asked her if it was BONKET as that is how she said it. BON-KET. Now I have been baking for 28+ years and never heard if it and felt stupid…hehehe, when she asked me, I gave her that HUH look and she said never mind… but I stopped her and asked more questions wrote BONKET down thinking that is how you spell it, and did a google..and your site came up, now I do feel stupid..hehehe…as I have been making an almond pastry just like the one mentioned above with a different twist added, (secret recipe) every Christmas for 30 years. I call mine Almond pastry wreath, as I shape three logs into a wreath. I sell this seasonally at my bakery. Now you must come in and try, I am a local GR bakery, just north of Grand Rapids, in Comstock Park Mi. Goodiesbakerycafe.com
    How nice it is to have a name for my creation, finally!
    Great site,
    Tracy Webber

  57. Glad to have found this website when I googled dutch pastries. I was born in Amsterdam. My mother used to make the banket, calling it boeter letter. The real dutch pastries are heavenly. I would love to find a recipe for mocha gebakjes (tarts, pastries). I’m particularly interested in the way they do their mocha frosting, so thick, firm and smooth. Can anyone help me?

  58. Does anyone have a recipe for the mocha gebakjes
    or cakes. I also would like a recipe for their mocha frosting. Can anyone help me.

  59. My parents emigrated to the U.S. in 1950. I grew up eating my mother’s homemade “Butter Letter.” Absolutely delicious – sweet yummy filling, buttery, flaky pastry. Unfortunately, she no longer has the strength to make it anymore. I can do it, but now she is also lactose intolerant. My sister is too and that is very unusual for natives of the Netherlands.

    One day my mother mentioned that she had discovered that the Pepperidge Farm puff pastry shells had no dairy in them and she was using them for a dish that she still makes. Ah ha, I thought! How about the puff pastry sheets? I checked – no dairy! So, I bought them the Christmas before last and used them to make the Butter Letter. It came out great! Not the same as the buttery, homemade pastry, but pretty good. My sister came to visit and we made them again using the Pepperidge Farm pastry sheets. She loved it. We know it’s not the same, but it let’s us enjoy a traditional treat. I’m happy to say that my nephew is very interested in the family recipes and we made this at Thanksgiving when he came to visit.

    So, if the idea of making the pastry is a daunting one for anyone out there, now you have an alternative. Just realize that it’s not the same as homemade, but it does taste delicious.

  60. Just found your website looking at recipes as I am teaching 3 people how to make banket tomorrow. I use 3 medium eggs – probably equivalet to your 2 extra large. The pastor of my church told me mine was better than his mother’s – but I’m sworn to secrecy – so he’s coming to learn how to make it tomorrow. I also buy the 7 pound can or the plastic tub in Grand Rapids or Jenison, Michigan but I live in Florida.

  61. I have found almond paste at a most reasonable price. Gordon Food Service has it for $27.49/ 7# can. I thought Peter’s Imports was good at $29 sale price but GFS has it year round at that price.
    It is not in a can but in a box, presumably in plastic.
    Joan

    • Mom always bought her almond paste at Kingma’s Produce- we lived in the SE area of Grand Rapids. Kingma’s is now on Plainfield, and I make a point to buy the almond paste there whenever I get back to GR. Once, when I was desperate, I persuaded a local Santa Fe bakery to sell me a 7# can, but they charged me about double the GR price.
      Also bought some fantastic Dutch black rye there; Mom used to send it to our Denver relatives. My husband, the family bread man, found a recipe for it and made some for us this year- excellent!

  62. Wow, you buy almond paste in a can? You must go broke!

    We always got it at our local grocers in Kalamazoo. Meijer’s can be depended on to carry it, as do other local stores in the area. It’ll only show up from Thanksgiving to Christmas, of course.

    Since moving to the South, where there are no Dutch immigrants, I was missing my bankets, but by luck I discovered a recipe for making almond paste in a Chinese cookbook. This makes sense, considering the Dutch had a colony in China once. It’s probably where they picked up the use of almond paste and adapted it for their own use in baking. The recipe makes the exact same thing we’re all used to. All you need is a food processor.

    If you cast around you can problem find a recipe to make your own almond paste.

  63. I also grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan and my Mother was 100% Dutch. We never made Banket however, I have always loved it as have my Children. I was visiting my family last weekend and went to a craft fair in Zeeland, MI where they were selling home made Banket. My Daughter-in-law had never had it but she loved it. I told her that we needed to learn to make it so I am so happy to have found this website. Thank you for keeping the heritage recipes going!! Sheryll

  64. My family (Dutch heritage – Grand Rapids, Michigan) is attempting to make banket using gluten-free flour. Your website has proved to be a valuable resource in our research. Thanks!

  65. Like several of you, I also grew up in Kalamazoo, MI and later lived in Holland/Zeeland, MI before moving to Washington, DC. (If anyone is familiar with Den Adel Court, a tiny street off Westnedge in Kzoo, I’m a Den Adel!) Thanks for the Banket recipe, Barb & Laura. We have tried for years to make it the way Grandpa remembers it (we never found Grandma’s recipe after she died) and never have satisfied him. I’m sure to try this one. Incidentally, I remember that blue & white cook book from sorting through Grandma’s things when she passed. That gave me an idea of where to look for her recipe! Yay!

  66. Hi!
    I am going to attempt to make Banket but I wondered how much 1 1b of almond paste is? I don’t have a scale but bought a 7 lb can at Blue Diamond.

    Thanks!

  67. Hi Beth,
    I have always taken out the whole 7 pounds, cut it into halves, then each half into 3rds, and then take a bit away from each piece to make one more piece. Then I weigh each of the 7 pieces to make sure they are roughly equal. I’d say that each piece ends up being maybe 1 1/2-2 cups, but I haven’t ever measured it out that way–sorry I can’t be more specific.

    Laura

  68. Okay, so here’s how I found your site:
    I am creating a cookbook for my grown sons to give them at Christmas. I wanted a photo of banket, as I couldn’t find mine–put away for safe keeping. THAT is how I found your site–Googled under images for banket, dutch pastry.

    Now that I’m here, I’m amazed in reading from some that they never heard of what I call my favorite pastry!

    I grew up in Lansing, IL and there has NEVER been a time when we didn’t have this pastry–which we never called pastry, either–just Banket. My mother usually made it near the holidays, and the smell that comes while it’s cooking, and the sweet almond taste after it’s cooled, with a good strong cup of coffee, or tea with sugar & milk–well, there are NO words–but here’s mine YUM and HEAVEN–but that constitutes two!

    We just came from a trip to Germany for a wedding, and our flight back included the airport in Amsterdam–and guess what? no banket there either.

    Back to where we live–currently in Temple, TX with no Dutchmen here either, and thus no almond paste.

    I usually get my almond paste when I travel home to the Chicago Area, so I can have my ‘fix’.

    Thanks for the information of where I can order and have shipped. And…I’m wishing we had a Meier’s store here.

    If you have anywhere that someone knows near Austin/Temple, TX area, please let me know.

    In the meantime, enjoy the holidays and thanks for your page. I’m including yours in my sons cookbook and I hope that’s okay.

    Sincerely,
    Cindy.

  69. When my Grandma Arnesen (nee Brandsen) moved into an assisted living facility, she couldn’t take many personal items, and definitely wouldn’t need her cookbooks. I went through her cupboard and took out the books that were the most spattered, torn and obviously well-used. I was thrilled to find her handwritten Banket recipe tucked into the pages of one of the books. Christmas was not Christmas without Grandma’s banket. She taught me how when I was a teenager, but I didn’t fully appreciate that lesson until I was grown and missing the Banket. After searching for almond paste, and one complete runny, leaking failure, (but still delicious!)I finally made a perfect batch last Christmas to share with my Southern neighbors here in North Carolina. They loved it, as do my children. So glad I found your site! Annette (grown in Michigan, living in NC)

    • Annette, I’m living in NC too these days and haven’t found much that is Dutch at all! I’m so tickled that you found your grandma’s banket recipe–your story warms my heart. Later this month I will be teaching a couple of young ladies the fine art of banket-making. And the gift goes on!

      Barb

  70. My family has been using the Pepridge farm puff pastry sheets for 3 generations. and the work great! they are trifolded and each sheet makes 3 nice sticks.

    its not Christmas without it.

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  73. Hi,
    I must say this site brings tears to my eyes. My uncle (Grootveld) was a Dutch baker. After WWII he openned his own bakery in Hawthorne, NJ. I can still remember sitting on a flour barrel watching him work. Butter Letter was one of his signature pieces. He would take 4-5 days to make the pastry letting it sit for 24 hour between rolling it out. As he told me years later….”roll it out fold it over, fold it over again then put it in the fridge…now do that for 5 days and you will have the start of the best “Butter Letter”.

  74. Dave, we’re so glad you stopped by. Your response of loving memory is EXACTLY why we started My Sister’s Kitchen: we wanted to preserve the recipes that, for our family, spell love and history and family. And this recipe for banket is, in my opinion, THE most important recipe in our Dutch heritage.

    Merry Christmas!
    Laura (and Barb)

  75. I’ve been making Bancutt for years now and I have taught my daughters to make and it is always a holiday favorite. My son said the other day why do we wait for the holiday. I used the same recipe except I did not use baking powder. I have a dutch recipe book that calls for 1/2 cup of corn starch. I like it better without the corn starch. It doesn’t do anything for my bancutt. I use 3 eggs in my recipe and I am going to try 2 eggs to make it firmer. Thanks for this site. I enjoyed reading it.

  76. My maternal grandfather (Kuiper) was born in Heerenveen and emigrated to the U.S. in the 1920s.
    He settled in a small town outside Utica, NY and worked in a bakery owned by his cousins. (Wind’s
    Bakery) Some of my fondest memories growing up are of watching him make the “letters” as we
    called them and the speculaas cookies. Unfortunately, he passed away before teaching
    anyone his secrets. Two years ago my mother gave me his pastry board and handwritten
    recipes! I have been trying to duplicate the wonderful tastes of my childhood Christmas treats
    ever since. I have not been consistent with my dough :( Some batches have are fabulous – buttery,
    flakey, just like grandpa made. My last two batches have been dense and less than acceptable.
    I noticed your recipe called for cold butter. I have been letting my butter get warm. I will try
    my next batch with cold butter. I also use the canned almond paste from Michigan.
    Thanks for your comments,
    Sarah

  77. I do not know if it was mentioned here yet, but for years I have purchased my 7 lb. tub of ALMOND PASTE from GFS (Gordens Food Service) This years (2008) going price is $34.99. Not too bad, that’s only $5.00 a pound. I realise for some of you ladies, 7 lbs. is a large amount, but if your community is anything like my Dutch town of DeMotte, Indiana, there has to be more of us dutchmen out there to share the amount or cost with. Lets face it, we’re a resourcefull people, find your Banket bakers and split the paste. I myself use two full tubs of Paste a Christmas season. Yep, 14 lbs.! I love to give them away as gifts. Our local grocery store (TYSENS) is charging $10.50 lb. What a rip! Find a GFS near you!

  78. help sticky dough!
    I made banket several years ago and after several tries the loaves finally turned out the way I have seen banket look (I used my sisters in-laws recipe, hers calls for 1lb of butter ). This year, may dough seems very sticky ( I used 3/4 lb of butter). Would anyone know why? Is there anthing I can do to salvage the dough or am I better of starting over.
    Any comments would be appreciated.

  79. Hi Lucy,
    I am almost certain your sticky dough is related to the temperature of your butter. It needs to be cold butter, cut into pieces and then cut into the flour. I wouldn’t just scrap the batch–I’d try rolling it out with a liberally floured surface, with liberal flour on top, too. If it was really sticky, I might even mix in another half cup or so of flour. This will make the pastry a bit tougher, but it shouldn’t ruin it, and I myself hate to throw out that much butter.

    Laura

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  81. Hi! I just googled “banket” and your site came up…I live in Zeeland so I was happy to see a local baker :) I am trying to figure out if I can freeze banket because we simply can’t eat all of the goodies we have received? I would love to know!
    Thanks!

    • Absolutely! You can freeze banket. My mom used to squirrel away a couple whole batches of banket every year, and bring it out one stick at a time, to be doled out in chintzy little 1-inch slices. (Apologies to Mom, but that’s just not enough!) It will keep for several months in the freezer, although in my house it’s extremely unlikely that it would actually be left alone that long.

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  83. This story echoes our family holidays always meant banket – this came from the DeVries side (I see the name in a comment above)
    Every year there were debates about the best techniques, who’s was best etc.
    A favorite of everybody in our family, it is fun to hear a similar account.

  84. Thanks for your wonderful banket recipe and tremendous comments that followed. I am of Dutch ancestry and not a stranger to banket. My parents resided in Chicago (Roseland) when I was born and I can remember visiting my grandmothers house (in the mid 1950′s) during the Christmas holidays. Grandma, and her brother Oscar, would be busy making and packaging banket. They would wrap the finished sticks in newspaper and give them to other family members and friends as gifts during the holdiay season. Banket making is fairly competitive in our family and I’m doing rather well thanks to your fine recipe and good tips. In fact, I think I’ve taken the lead.
    Have you ever made your own paste??
    I’m interrested in giving a try at making my own almond paste as described elsewhere in a link from this site. It doesn’t seem too difficult, but my question is this. After I follow the almond paste recipe – is the finished product ready as it is to be rolled into the pastry, or is it then necessary to follow the banket recipe and add sugar and egg to what I’ve just finished making? I think there is some almond pasted marketed out there that would be pretty much ready to be rolled into pastry, howevver, I’ve only made banket thus far with the solid almond paste as sold in stores such as Meijers and requires adding sugar and egg. Your advice and comments would be greatly appreciated

  85. Bill, you need to treat homemade almond paste exactly as you would the canned stuff–that is, you’ll need to add egg and sugar, even though you’ve already put sugar into the almond paste.

    I’ll let Barb comment on the difficulty or ease of making the almond paste from scratch. My impression is, it’s moderately time-consuming. But the cost factor is dramatically lower when you make your own–I think Barb figured that it would cut the cost by 40% at least. And that’s not insubstantial savings, given that a can of paste is currently running in the high $30′s.

    We are so glad to have assisted you in connecting more strongly with your family heritage. (And in pulling ahead in the family who’s-banket-is-best competition. Of course in our family, nobody’s competing. ;-) (My-husband-says-mine-is-best.)

    Ciao,
    Laura

  86. Thanks for the Banket receipe! I can hardly wait to make these. Here’s a stroopwaffelen recipe. You’ll need to dust off the old pizelle iron for these!

    Stroopwaffels

    4 cups all-purpose flour
    1/2 cup white sugar
    1 cup butter
    2 eggs
    1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
    1/2 cup warm water
    1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
    1 cup butter
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    6 tablespoons dark corn syrup

    DIRECTIONS

    1. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water.
    2. Cut 1 cup of the butter into the flour. Mix in the sugar, eggs and yeast mixture. Mix well and set aside to rise for 30 to 60 minutes.
    3. Roll dough into balls and bake in a pizelle iron.
    4. To Make Filling: In a saucepan boil the brown sugar, 1 cup of the butter, cinnamon and dark corn syrup until it reaches the soft ball stage (234-240 degrees F 112 -115 degrees C).
    5. Split waffles in half and spread cut sides with the warm filling. Then put the halves back together.

  87. My Grandma makes banket every Christmas as gifts. She makes the most buttery and flaky pastry that I have every had. The whole family can hardly wait each year to get this tasty treat. Banket is to die for!

  88. I enjoyed reading all the posts. Just wanted to let you know that many of the Dutch traditional home baked delicacies are still being done here in South Africa. My in-laws emigrated to South Africa from Holland in the 1960′s. I was taught how to make a banketstaaf as well as gevulde spekulaas, by my mother-in-law. I am looking for a recipe for bitterkoek (not botterkoek), premixed bitterkoek ingredients are available in Holland but not here in SA. Should anyone be able to help it would be most appreciated

  89. Hello,

    The receipe I’m looking for is for Boeter Koek—the round flat Butter Cake….I use to have the recipe and actually knew it by heart and made it all the time even after my parents moved back to Groningen…..I know it consists of butter, sugar, flour and almond extract but I’m sure I’m missing something…and I need the measurements for each…..can you help???

  90. My father, who had a bakery in The Netherlands before immigrating to the US in the 1950′s, would roll out the dough and put pieces of cold butter on the surface before folding and rolling again. I believe this was to make them more flaky. Would this be redundant in your recipe?

  91. Dear Laura and Barb,

    I grew up enjoying banket every Christmas. It has been 37 years since I have had any banket but I can still taste it. Both of my grandparents (DeVries) migrated from Holland (Friesland) to Grand Rapids MI. All of the brothers of my grandfather were bakers so even after my grandparents moved from Michigan to California every year around the holidays the large box would come from Michigan full of banket wrapped in newspaper. Once my grandparents and my own parents passed the banket stopped comming. The thought of banket popped into my head today for some strange reason and I just had to google it. Thank you so much for your wonderful site. I am going to carry on the holiday tradition of making Banket and sharing it with the family who all still remember it as I do. My two teenage boys are also looking forward to learn how to make it along side of me for the first time this holiday season.

  92. D.S.–I’ve always used salted, because that’s just what I buy all the time. I’d be interested to see how it came out with unsalted butter. Someone somewhere could probably take me to task for using salted butter in pastry (gasp!) But mine always turns out beautifully.

    • I know the purists always insist on unsalted butter, but I never use it and everything comes out fine. Butter today is not very salty anyway.

      Thanks so much for the wonderful recipe and posts. I am not dutch but wish I was! My German grandmother was a baker’s daughter and during the depression she turned my Greek grandfather’s produce store bruised fruit into pies and pastries which fed the family. Sometimes they traded with the butcher’s family down the street. But nothing was written down and everything died with her…sigh. So to hear all these wonderful stories makes me happy – and jealous! Perhaps I will be dutch for a day and make banket too! We LOVE anything with almond flavoring so it is sure to be a hit. Merry Christmas, everyone!!

  93. I am happy to see so many people trying to make this banket…I woked with a Dutch lady for years who used to bring me some at Christmas..Hers was the best Ive ever had…She put like a frosting glaze on it..If anyone has done this let me know and how to make it….

    • My family purchased marzipan letters– they were round instead of pipe-shaped and had a light glaze, plus some larger crystals of sugar on top w/ some candied fruit for decoration. This makes them look very festive for the holidays.

  94. I have been married to a dutch man for almost 10 years now and have had Banket almost every year due to my sister in law making it. I am desperate to make it myself and seeing the inlaws are coming to spend Christmas with us here in Australia, this is THE year!! I can’t wait to get onto it. Has been fabulous reading all the positive comments. Will let you know how mine turn out.

  95. I can totally relate to Deb’s remark. I have been married to a Dutch man for nearly 15 years. I was introduced to what we call “Dutch Letters” early on in our marriage, but the only time we got this treat was when someone visited Pella, Iowa and brought back goodies from the Jaarsma bakery (we live in AZ). I consider myself a decent baker so I was determined to learn how to make these tasty treats. I found this site last year while searching for a recipe that sounded the closest to what we call dutch letters. So I tried the recipe and I have to say they turned out wonderfully! My mother-in-law even said they were better than any she had ever made, I think she was supicious I had ordered them from Jaarsma. :-) I plan to make them again this year at Christmas time with my children and continue the Dutch tradition in our family. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe!!

  96. Does anyone know the history of the Dutch cookie, Jan Hagel? Is it a Christmas cookie with a specific tradition attached?

  97. the person that talked about the grand rapids, mi store, the Dutch store, i am from grand rapids, and i just bought almond paste from the Dutch store. i plan to make banket today. i have made it every year for my family and it has been “tradidtion” for more than 30 years. my friends all look forward to my banket gifts as well. and, yes, mine squeezes out, too!! now i am looking for a recipe for koek. this is also a Dutch recipe that my friend said her mother made every year. can anyone help me with this one? thanks

  98. Hi. I’m a Dutch American residing in Singapore. I was just back in Michigan during Thanksgiving and was indulging in holiday banket made by my mom. I’m thinking of baking some for British friends – as an alternative to their minced pies!
    However, I can’t find almond paste here in Singapore. I checked out your recipe for making the paste from scratch with blanched almonds – which I’m not afraid to try. But I’m considering two alternatives (easier) and wonder if you have some advice. 1) I found some organic F.S.A. powder which is a combo (equal proporations) of ground flaxseed, sunflower, and almond powders. It has a sandy color. Might this work as a substitute to the almond powder? 2) In one of the ‘expat’ supermarkets, I found canned ‘puree de marron’ (chestnut puree) imported from France – not even sure if it’s sweetened.
    Do you have any suggestions? If I’m feeling ambitious I may try one batch of each.

    Below is a link for photo/descriptions of various nut pastes – may be useful for folks needing to ID them.
    http://www.foodsubs.com/Nutseed.html

    • Hi TJ,
      I’m intrigued with some of your options for making homemade almond paste. If it was me, I’d experiment using both the FSA powder as well the chestnut puree. (not together though.)
      I think you could try using that FSA powder in the almond paste recipe and just use it as if it is the ground up blanched almonds. The chestnut puree is a different matter. Depending on the texture and the sweetness, you might even be able to use it directly in the banket (or whatever new name you coin for the pastry, since it won’t have almond paste in it at all!) Let me know how this goes. I’m very interested.

      Barb

  99. I recall some folks in previous posts were asking about some traditional ‘Dutch’ recipes for baked goods. I’m presently searching for almond paste, here in Singapore and came across the site of the Dutch Embassy. Many of you must recall ‘speculaas’ windmill cookies -they were a staple in our household when we lived in Pella, IA!

    Loads of recipes (in English) for some ‘heel lekker’ baked goods! Happy holiday baking!

    http://singapore.nlembassy.org/about_the/holidays_and/the_feast_of_saint/sinterklaas_recipes

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  101. Barb,

    Help! I am getting ready to make banket for the first time. You say you use extra large eggs. I have tried every major food store for extra large eggs and they do not carry them, just jumbo and they look like a duck laid them. Should I use 2 large or try it with 3. Anixously waiting for your reply.

    Terri DeFreze

  102. This recipe was my first attempt at making banket, a treat I recall eating as a child while visiting relatives in Holland. It turned out SOOO good; my sister and her family swooned over it, as did I. I’m sure my parents, who emigrated from Nederland in ’65, will love it, too. Thanks for sharing!

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    • Thanks for the recipe. I am from Holland, MI but now live in Chicago. I LOVED banket as a child and never made it as an adult because I heard it was quite tricky to do. But I tried your recipe and it worked the very first time! Even my Dutch husband was impressed.

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  105. another good place in GR to get almond paste is Kingmas over on the NE side – 7 lbs for 30 dollars. Also, I hate to admit it but I get way better results with full fat margarine than butter …it’s the only time I ever eat hydrogenated oils!

  106. Living in Singapore, I can’t find almond paste; so I made my own last night using your recipe. It’s remarkably easy and I’d reckon it cuts costs compared to buying the big cans.
    To make a pound of paste, I spent less than $10 (US $6). I used 2 pks of 100g slivered almonds and powdered them in my coffee mill – took about 30 sec. In a bowl, I then mixed that with 1 1/2 c powdered sugar, egg white, salt, and almond extract. Took no more than 15 minutes – mixing by hand!

  107. I’ve been making Ban Ket Letters for at least 15 years (my grandma taught me, her mother was Dutch) and found this thread through a search I did out of random curiosity. I never knew that premade almond paste was so widely used, we have always made our own (apparently my great-great-grandmother used to blanch her own almonds before you could buy them that way). The recipe we have always used is:

    1/2 lb ground almonds
    2 egg yolks
    lemon zest from one lemon
    2 cups sugar
    a little ice water

    I grind the almonds using a blender or food processor, this year I had to use a coffee grinder because the cat broke the blender.

    I wonder what the difference would be between this and what everyone else is using, tastewise?

    It’s nice to see that the pastry spilling out is typical, I’ve always assumed that there was a trick that I didn’t know. That said, I ruin at least one baking sheet a year, that filling is like glue! I have never heard of cutting slits to vent, will be trying that immediately. Also thought I might try using parchment paper this year, does anyone else use that?

    My great-grandmother apparently used to shape the pastry into initials and give as gifts. My grandmother never learned to do this. I wonder, what is the typical size of a pastry stick? Ours tend to be 7-8 inches long and about 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick…although it looks like some people make them much larger?

    Very interesting thread!

  108. Almond paste can be purchased from amazon.com at a very good price compared to grocery. Amazon had it for $5 a can and it arrived in 2 days. This is a good source if you don’t have a Dutch community near you.

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  110. Living in the Zeeland, MI area, I have made Banket Staven for over 30 years. We have a new neighbor who has given us a plate of “Almond Pie” the last 2 holidays and I am desperate to get the recipe! I’ve tried asking her directly and even sent my young daughter, but she will not share her “secret recipe”! Does anyone out there have it? It is baked in a pie plate and tastes just like Banket, but I think all of the ingredients are just mixed together and baked. Imagine all of the taste of the pastry rolls, minus time and effort! Any ideas????

  111. I was so excited to find this recipe for banket. My grandmother used to make it when I was a child. As I have read in many of the other comments, try as I might I have never been able to get the right formula that grandma had. We also are from the Kalamazoo area. I was able to buy it around Christmas time at different bakeries, but I live in Cadillac now an when I ask about it they look at me like I have 3 heads. Now I can say Thank You for the recipe. I will let you knoe how it turns out. Thank You again.

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  113. Hi. Thanks for posting this recipe. My grandmother emigrated from Holland and lived in Massachusetts, in a town with a large Dutch population. She always brought an almond pastry with her at Christmas time. She called it “marsepein” but I think it’s the same thing. :)

  114. Banket is readily available from several bakeries here in Iowa (Pella, Orange City, Sioux Center). I was thinking of trying to make it myself, and I’m excited to have found your recipe & tips! I have seen almond paste sold in plastic-wrapped tubes at Costco World Market stores, which might be another option for those who can’t find it elsewhere.

  115. Banket is readily available at some bakeries here in Iowa (Pella, Orange City, Sioux Center). I was thinking of trying to make it myself, and I’m excited to have found your recipes & tips! I’ve seen the plastic-wrapped tubes of almond paste available at Costco World Market stores, which may be another option for those who can’t find it elsewhere.

  116. Hi, me again.

    Just wanted to mention a couple more things. First, my frugal grandmother (whose maiden name was DeVries, which seems to be a very common name in this thread) sometimes used Kernel Paste (made from apricot pits) instead of almond paste, since it was cheaper, but very similar.

    Secondly, my mother and I often will make the rolls and then freeze some of them unbaked, so we can thaw them and bake them fresh when we need them. We just put them on a baking tray in the freezer (or fridge) until firm, then remove from the tray and roll them up in plastic wrap to store them in the freezer.

    This lets me make a batch to give as Xmas gifts, and still save a roll to bake fresh for my father when I see him in January.

    • Ooooh, I remember my grandma using kernal paste for years and years before it became unavailable. I love the idea of freezing the unbaked banket to pull out later for fresh, hot-out-of-the-oven goodness.

  117. I used this recipe last year at Christmas. I wasn’t convinced my husband would like it, but he has been bugging me all year to make it again and has told me I can’t give so much of it away this year! I am glad he appreciates some of what I grew up with (raised in Holland, Michigan). Thanks for posting this recipe! Looking forward to many more batches in the future.

  118. I happened to google butter letter today and came upon your site. Had a great time reading some of the posts. I grew up with some great Dutch Traditions in my house and have now kept them going in my home with my children. Your Butter Letter recipe is very similar to my Mom’s. I have also made Oliebollen from scratch but found that allthingsdutch.com has a great box mix for Oliebollen and it tastes exactly the same.(If you order it make sure you get the English translation)Tried the Butter Letter from them but my Mom’s recipe is much better!
    We celebrate Sinterklaas in our home and I always order chocolate letters,coins,Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet from this company as well to stick in the Wooden Shoes by the fireplace.
    Thanks for this great website ladies!

    Kimberly Klein-Crocco

  119. Loved reading about all the people still baking Banket! As a full-blown Dutch woman (with, of course, a Dutch husband), Banket is a staple at Christmastime. Unfortunately, I’ve never made it! My mom has spoiled us every year with the delicacy. She is no longer able to make it alone, so this year, my sisters and I are baking it with her. We should have done this years ago! We will teach our children at the same time.
    Thanks for the recipes and all the hints!

  120. Thank you for posting this! It was one of my favorite Christmas treats growing up (we’re not Dutch, but we have a bunch of friends who are), and I never got the recipe from my mom. I’m turning it into a tradition to make a batch on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, stashing it in the Freezer for a last-minute dessert through the holidays.

    On the finding-almond-paste front, I’ve been able to find 8oz cans of it in the pie-filling aisle at my local discount supermarket for about $2 or $3.

  121. Thank you so much for this recipe and all the helpful tips posted! Especially after I saw so many of the comments reference southwestern Michigan, I knew I had found the right place. My grandma lives in Kalamazoo, MI, is 100% Dutch and makes banket all the time; a visit to her house is never complete without almond pastry :) I followed the directions exactly (down to the cold butter and ice water) and it turned out perfectly! I had literally never made a pastry before in my life and the crust was flaky and delicious and about half the sticks had a little bit of almond overflow on the top…yum! Thanks again!

    • We’re so glad it turned out for you–we love hearing success stories, especially when it comes to our own grandmother’s (world’s best) banket recipe.

      Barb and Laura

  122. *sigh* Your recipe is too good. Now I am going to have to make 2 or 3 batches this year. ;D I grew up in Grand Rapids, MI and always had banket on Christmas morning. We would just buy ours pre-made from Meijer (done by Arnie’s bakery). Well last year my mom forgot to mail me one so I decided to try your recipe. She ended up mailing me one so I got to do a “side by side taste test”. Your recipe wins, hands down! :D

    So I have a question for all you banket ladies: have you shipped one? What did you use to package it in? I need to mail some out this year after word got out that I made some really delicious bankets. I am trying to find a cost effective way to get bankets to my family and friends with as little damage to them as possible. I am thinking a ring might be a better shape for packaging. I could try to shape them to fit a Ziploc/Rubbermaid container… Any input or thoughts would be much appreciated.

    Oh and for those of you who need almond paste and didn’t order online, check your local Super Target. I found the Odense tubes for under $5 each (yes still expensive but better than some stores!!!). Mind you I live in Northern VA (DC Metro area) so prices are high here to begin with.

    Thank you again for the wonderful recipe. My 2.5 year old and I are getting excited for banket baking day again this year.

    • Amanda, our family mails banket all the time. We all have different methods that involve a lot of padding. My secret is that i make half sticks to mail. Those are easier to pack. I like your idea of making a ring that you pack in a rubbermaid container too.

        • Just to follow up, one year later and one year wiser… I did make the “U” shaped Bankets. I had a heck of a a time finding just the right containers for them. I sent 20 of them out so tins and expensive boxes were not an option. I searched and found some containers that are a little larger than the standard sandwich size containers. I found the target brand and a seasonal one (can’t remember the brand). Both worked well. And, joy of joys, they actually fit in bubble mailers. And they arrived not so mangled and delicious. Most reported that theirs was in perfect condition.

          Now the “U” shapes can be a bit tricky. If your dough isn’t pliable enough you will get splits and leaks during baking (well, more than the acceptable amount of leaks). The hardest part for me was getting them off the baking sheets and on to cooling racks whole.

          Hope this helps. I have made my Banket list, checked it twice, and it seems all my family and friends have been way too nice…I have 24 to make and send!! And family that didn’t know what a Banket was last year have been hinting around and wondering if they will get another one this year. :D

          and I will do “U”s again. I just am a purist I guess but I can’t bring myself to do mini sticks to send. I did do mini sticks and goofy shapes for my kids with the left over dough and filling and they thought that was fun.

          • I made a shape that looks a bit like a “lower case e” that fits in Rubbermaid Take Along 2.9 cup containers. They worked out so well. I had one of the containers lightly floured so that I could mold the bankets to fit if they looked too large. they filled the containers perfectly and shipped very well. I used bubble mailers and put the containers in them again. All reports were tasty, whole bankets. Thanks again for the great recipe which I will use year after year!

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  125. I got almost this exact same recipe from my grandma. We call it “Lettimacatts” (I think!). I think it came from Letter Banket and it got lost in translation. My great grandma and her family had tickets to come over on the Titanic. However, an uncle decided he wanted to come at the last minute and they couldn’t get any more tickets and decided not to come over from Holland.

  126. Hi I’m from northern Michigan, McBain to be more exact and we make Banket here too. I’ve been using my grandmother’s recipe for about 10 years now. I have occasional blowouts in my banket as well. My grandmother had us use a fork to poke holes throughout the stick so that any steam would leave through the holes. This seems to help. As does placing the seam of the banket on the bottom and tucking the ends in. I also know that we seal the top of the banket with brushed on beaten egg white. Then sprinkle the top with sugar.

    I can get my almond paste from Ebels in Falmouth, Mi seasonally. My brother also supplies me with almond paste from The Dutch Store in Grandville. The Meijers in Cadillac doesn’t carry it. Bummer!

  127. I’m a Dutch girl transplanted to Indy, the Land of NO Dutch Folks! I’m making a slew of Banket for teachers gifts because here in the Circle City NO ONE has ever heard of it! Score for the Girl With Roots in Groeningen :-)

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  129. I have made banket every Christmas season for the last 20 years – before my Grandma died and since. It is fun to make, although a bit time-consuming, and WAY fun to eat with your coffee in the morning. I make mine pretty by brushing it with milk and sprinkling it with sugar before I bake it. I don’t score it with a knife, but I do take it out half-way through baking and poke it gently with a fork every inch or so to make it look pretty. I sift my flour four (4) times to help make it fluffy, and I like to freeze the filling and refrigerate the dough overnight before I actually roll it out and bake it. I find it is much easier to work with. I have never tried to freeze a stick before I baked it, but you can definitely freeze it after you bake it – it will keep for a long time! If you haven’t make this sweet treat, you should try – but don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t turn out right away, I still mess up the first batch every year! Also, you can usually find 7# containers of almond paste at Gordon Food Service locations. I slice and freeze what I don’t use so I don’t have to buy it every year.

    • You would make your Grandma proud continuing on with her dutch family tradition!

      Another helpful hint:You can place your sticks of Banket on parchment paper for baking. The paper will darken, but it works great and saves clean up time:-)

  130. I will appologize in advance for the long back story :) Thank for you for recipe…my husband and I have been together for over 10 years and he grew up making and enjoying banket with his very dutch family…I however had never heard of it until him (I grew up making tamales and rice pudding :)). In the 10 years I think I have had banket 2 or 3 times. Whenever his mom would bring some home from a friend at work he would hide it and eat it all either before he got home. When I decided to try making my own I was a little nervous, what if I didn’t do a good job or that it wasn’t the same? But my 10 year old son and I braved it this Christmas Eve, we made one batch using our food processor I was able to get everything ready the night before (I cut the butter into chunks to keep cold, shredded the almond paste using my processor) We made 8 beautiful bankets that we shared (one) with my family and one for his mom and sister, the rest again, I think he hid them…I can only find one :) Thanks again for the recipe. This will be a new tradition for my kids (my 3 year old wanted to “help” by eating the dough) and myself…my husband gives his thanks for a treat that he thought he wouldn’t have again. (next time I just won’t tell him I made it and hide it myself :))

  131. Thank you both so much for posting this recipe!I found the paste as many others have,wrapped up like cheese but from Walmart. Now for the cheats I figured out. I was pressed for time and this is my husbands favorite treat(he was raised in Holland,MI). I purchased two boxes of already made and rolled pie crust. Then as I was baking them and looking at the filling that was stuck to the pan I grabbed the Reynold’s Non Stick Quick Release aluminum foil. Worked great! When the bankets were done I just lifted off both the foil & bankets and put it onto a cooling rack and slid on the next sheet of foil with the prepared bankets. When they cooled they just lifted right off.Clean up was a snap. Hope this helps you all and happy baking! Ran out of pie crust and used crescent rolls to finish. LOL Gotta love us modern cooks.

  132. Hiya everyone, great website I find It absolutely accessible and it’s helped me out loads.
    _________________

  133. I’ve been married to a wonderful Dutchman for 22 years. I’ve been making banket for about 20 years. It always goes flat while baking. I am so envious of the nice round bankets I see others making. What am I doing wrong that it goes flat???? It still tastes great, but I am trying to perfect my pastry. Thanks.

  134. It’s Banket season at our house; my mom always made it at Christmas time, and I have kept up the tradition and make it every December, I am definitely guilty of sneaking a stick and eating it all by my self! *LOL* I just recently saw almond paste being sold at Meijer in Jenison, they were small cans though and I wasn’t sure how these were. I have always bought it in vacuum sealed packages. When I was living in California a couple of years I actually had to mail order my almond paste from Vanderveens because I couldn’t find it out there. Also, I saw that Peters Imports in Grandville sells the BIG cans (like gallon size paint cans)at their store. I’m so happy to be back in Jenison and the great dutch community of West Michigan! :)

  135. I am one of 12 children and learned to make Banket from my Grandmother in the 60′s. My family love it, and so do the people I work with. I don’t go through all the trouble of rolling out the dough multiple times, just refrigerate overnight. My Grandmother also sealed hers and brushed the top with cream and then sprinkled with red and green sugar when she made it for Christmas. As for buying the Almond paste, I buy it from Gorden Food Services in Holland, Michigan. I believe you can order online, too. This year it was $39 for a 7 pound tub. And my family thinks the first batch only makes 7 sticks (the cooks reward)!

  136. I’m making banket for the first time in YEARS. Originally from So. Holland,IL where it wasn’t Christmas until banket was baking. My paternal grandparents were Fresian Dutch and produced a lot of redheads!

  137. I am also from South Holland Suzanne! I got the recipe from Ann DeGraff when I took sewing lessons from her. I am hoping that mine look as pretty as hers after reading the hints here. It was always such a treat to have her make banket at Christmas for our lessons!

  138. I am 100% Dutch, and one of my fondest memories is eating a delicious pastry that I thought was called “boot-a-let-a”. After reading all these posts I now see that my great Grandma, who spoke almost no English, was probably saying “butter letters.” I can’t wait to try to make this most wonderful treat!!

  139. Thank you so much for the recipe. Can “banket” be made with phyllo?
    I put “banket” in quotes because, although my Dutch-descended family also called it “banket,” when I lived in the Netherlands several years ago, no one there knew what I was talking about. Turns out that ALL baked good are called “banket.”

    • I’ve never heard of ALL in the Netherlands pasteries being called Banket. Must be something new, or someone was messing with you. Banket is an almond-filled pastry, which is never made with phyllo dough.

      • Right. Using Phyllo dough is not the same, and would be called something else. Banket is Banket – almond paste filling wrapped in a flaky, buttery dough. Using Phyllo dough would be like leaving the “love” out of it.

    • Merry, you can make a pastry with almond filling using phyllo dough, but it won’t be the same thing. (I’m sure it will be yummy, but not the same.)

      Interestingly, when I sent some banket to a friend who was traveling with an international medical crew on Mercy Ships, she found out from her Dutch friends that most people in the Netherlands don’t know what banket is anymore. It seems that many European immigrants to the U.S. retained the comfort foods that were current when they left their homelands, and elevated them to important family traditions, while the people back in the mother countries moved on and developed other comfort foods. If you were able to go back to the Netherlands around the turn of the last century, you’d probably find many many Dutch people making banket. And then they and their families emigrated to the U.S. and Canada and countries in South America, and each strand of immigrants developed their own particular versions of all their common recipes. You can see from how many comments are on this post that Americans who still identify themselves as Dutch are often very passionate about their banket.

  140. Having grown up in Australia to Dutch parents from Delft, my mother would not let a Christmas pass without the banket staven. Some years it would be hard to find but she would always manage to find a Dutch baker in Melbourne and get the staven at Christmas. Can’t imagine a Christmas without it! Now that my parents are no longer around, I am maintaining the tradition. Last year I bought my banket from the Dutch Market in Canada, this year, I will use your recipe for not only the almond paste, but also the banket staven. Hopefully it will turn out as nice as your picture! Thank you in advance. We will have bitteballen Christmas Eve (another family tradition) and banket from St Niklaas to Christmas Day. Then I guess it will be time to cook my own olieballen!

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  142. Horrocks in Kentwood (44th street/Breton Ave), MI has Almond Paste wrapped in smaller amounts. They have it year round if you are hungry for it off season!