Speculaas Cookies

Speculaas is a type of spiced shortcrust biscuit flavored with wintery spices. Every supermarket carries them in huge packs for little money, and every bakery and coffee shop offers them in a more buttery and refined version, sometimes with flaked almonds in the back.

Speculaas cookies are flat and in the shape of a picture, like an elephant or a rockin horse. But no matter where you buy them, and no matter who you ask, the windmills always taste best! (they are made from the same dough as all the others!)

There are artfully carved wooden printing blocks available to give the cookies their traditional look, but it takes a bit of practice to use them quickly and efficiently. I haven’t mastered the process yet, that’s why I rather use a cookie stamp and cutter.

Speculaas isn’t a quick project for a cold afternoon, you need a special spice mix to make the dough and the dough needs some time chilling in the fridge.

My cookies on the big side and I got exactly 30 from the recipe, which was developed by my favorite swiss master baker and pastry chef Marcel Paa.

For the speculaas spice mix you need:

  • 7 parts cinnamon
  • 2 parts mace
  • 1 part clove
  • 1 part ginger
  • 1 part cardamom
  • 1 part white pepper
  • 1 part aniseed
  • 1 part grated lemon peel

It’s volume parts and dried, ground spices. You can use a tablespoon to measure for a really big batch, or a quarter teaspoon for a small batch.

The dough is pretty straight forward as well. You need:

  • 200g butter
  • 110g powdered sugar
  • 110g brown sugar
  • 10g speculaas spice mix (about 2 tsp)
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 80g ground almonds
  • 400g all purpose flour
  • 1 scant tsp baking powder

Just mix and knead into a firm dough. You don’t have to cream or reverse cream anything or dump the dry into the wet. Just throw everything into the same bowl and get mixing.

Wrap the dough into clingfilm or place it in a freezer bag and park it in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Better overnight.

Roll the dough out on a slightly floured surface and cut your cookies.

When I use a cookie stamp, I roll the dough to 5mm thickness. When I just use cookie cutters, I roll the dough to 3mm thickness. I got 3, 5 and 10mm thick wood strips from the hardware store for very little money and use them to frame the dough whenever I use the rolling pin. That way I get perfectly even thickness.

Stamp the dough, then cut it (or just cut it) into cookies.

Bake the cookies in a pre-heated oven at 200°C / 390F for 10-12 minutes. Let them cool on a rack an pack them into a cookie tin where they keep for a couple weeks.

They’re perfect to make the crust for the speculaas cheesecake btw. Enjoy!

Today’s playlist:

  • Trans-Siberian Orchestra: The Christmas Attic (complete album)

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