Dutch letter

The Dutch letter (also referred to as banket letter,[1] almond letter, butter letter,[2] and in Dutch as banketstaven and letterbanket) is a type of pastry or cookie that is typically prepared using a mixture of flour, eggs and butter or puff pastry as its base and filled with almond paste, dusted with sugar and shaped in an "S" or other letter shape.[1][3][4][5] Marzipan, an almond paste prepared with almond meal and honey or sugar, is sometimes used as the filling.[6] The Dutch letter has a porous or airy and flaky texture.[7]

The pastry was originally shaped "into the initial of the family's surname."[4] Nowadays, the most common shape of the food in the United States is as the letter "S".[4][5] Dutch letters are served as a treat during December, and particularly on Sinterklaasavond on December 5 in the Netherlands,[8] and during some festivals in the United States.


The pastry's name is a shortened version of the Dutch word banketletter.[2] They may also be called banketstaven and letterbanket by Dutch people.[5][9]



In the Netherlands letterbanket are traditionally eaten on Sinterklaasavond on December 5, where they are shaped in the initials of family members.[10][11]

United States


Dutch letters started in the United States by Dutch immigrants,[2] and originated in Pella, Iowa, which was founded in 1845 by "Dutch religious refugees."[3] Dutch letters are a common treat at the annual Tulip Festival in Pella, Iowa, and may be prepared by local residents and sold at markets, gas stations, and various local churches.[4]


Dutch letters prepared with chocolate are traditionally eaten as part of the activities during the Holland Dutch Winterfest in Holland, Michigan.[12]

See also


  1. 1 2 Otto, E.; Otto, J. (2004). Our Times, Our Lives. AuthorHouse. p. 227. ISBN 978-0-595-33563-3.
  2. 1 2 3 van der, N.S.; Taalunie, N. (2009). Cookies, Coleslaw, and Stoops: The Influence of Dutch on the North American Languages. OAPEN (Open Access Publishing in European Networks). Amsterdam University Press. p. 133. ISBN 978-90-8964-124-3.
  3. 1 2 Kaercher, D.; Stefko, B. (2006). Taste of the Midwest: 12 States, 101 Recipes, 150 Meals, 8,207 Miles and Millions of Memories. Best of the Midwest Book Series. Globe Pequot Press. p. 43. ISBN 978-0-7627-4072-7.
  4. 1 2 3 4 Fertig, J.M. (2011). Prairie Home Breads: 150 Splendid Recipes from America's Breadbasket. Harvard Common Press. p. 204. ISBN 978-1-55832-173-1.
  5. 1 2 3 (Firm), Better Homes and Gardens Books (2003). Biggest Book of Cookies. Better Homes & Gardens. Better Homes and Gardens Books. p. 408. ISBN 978-0-696-21713-5.
  6. Basch, H.; Slater, S. (2012). Frommer's Exploring America by RV. Frommer's Complete Guides. Wiley. p. 246. ISBN 978-1-118-22325-3.
  7. Rice, L.R. (2009). Explorer's Guide Iowa (Explorer's Complete). Explorer's Complete. Countryman Press. p. 330. ISBN 978-1-58157-824-9.
  8. Stevens, B.D.; Rice, D.H.; Vasconcelles, K. (1994). Celebrate Christmas Around the World. Holidays Series. Teacher Created Materials. p. 57. ISBN 978-1-55734-485-4.
  9. Publications International, Ltd (2000). ChristmasTreasury: Family Classic Edition. Publications International, Limited. ISBN 978-0-7853-4406-3.
  10. Howard, C. (2012). Faiths and Festivals: A guide to the religions and celebrations in our multicultural society. Practical pre-school. Andrews UK Limited. ISBN 978-1-907241-89-5.
  11. Wernecke, H.H. (1959). Christmas Customs Around the World. Westminster Press. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-664-24258-9.
  12. Smith, A.; Kraig, B. (2013). The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America. 1. Oxford University Press. p. 751. ISBN 978-0-19-973496-2.
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