While I was writing The Dutch Girl I discovered that the 18th century Dutch were known for their rich and inventive cuisine. The more I read about their cooking, the hungrier I got. Many of the dishes we think of as distinctly American—cookies and coleslaw, to name a few—have Dutch origins. The Dutch who settled the Hudson River Valley, Manhattan, and the Jerseys, not only brought with them a flair for using spices (a trade the Dutch dominated in that era) but they eagerly adopted local ingredients into their cooking—fusion cuisine, 18th century style!

When I ran across mention of koekjes—or cookies—flavored with cardamom and orange flower water and stretched with the distinctly American addition of corn meal, I knew I had to include them in the book. And I wanted to taste them myself. I’m a huge fan of Kimberly Walters’s wonderful cook book, A Book of Cookery by a Lady, and I knew that if anyone could bring these treats to life for a modern kitchen, she could! You can bake step by step with Kimberly Walters and Gema Gonzalez in the video above, shot on location at historic Gunston Hall. And if you don’t own a tin oven or a bake kettle, fear not—baking times and temperatures for contemporary ovens can be found below.


1 Cup White Flour

1/4 Cup White Wheat Flour

¼ Cup White Ground Corn Meal

1 Cup Natural Sugar

1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda

½ cup Butter

1 Teaspoon Orange Flower Water

1 Teaspoon ground Cardamom

1 Teaspoon ground Cinnamon

1 Egg


Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees. In a medium sized bowl combine flour, cornmeal, baking soda, and spices. Mix together and set aside. In a larger bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until smooth. Add the egg and Orange Flower Water and mix until blended. Add the flour mixture, a little at a time, until all are combined into a dough consistency. Pinch out small pieces of dough and roll them into a ball in the palm of your hand. Place balls on a buttered cookie sheet or baking tray. Don’t handle them too much—or the butter will melt and a mess! Press the dough down with your hand or with the buttered bottom of a round glass. Place on your baking pans, put in the oven, and wait! These take about 10 minutes to bake and make about 2 dozen.