Speculaas

Today’s festive cookie is one that has more memories associated with my fiance than me. He has a great number of memories from the Dutch side of his family, particularly his grandparents, feeding him all sorts of treats. Of all the ones he’s asked me to make, speculaas are certainly one of the most requested. And what better excuse to make them than for Christmas.

Traditionally these cookies are baked for St Nicholas Day or for Christmas. As such they are also traditionally stamped with an image depicting St. Nicholas and the stories around him. I didn’t have any springerle moulds so I settled with a simple Christmas star instead.

The cookies are made with your standard creaming method, but using brown sugar instead of white.

There’s no leavening in this recipe, so spend a good time beating the air into the dairy here until it’s super smooth and creamy.

Then goes in all the spice that make these biscuits what they are. I love me some cinnamon, but the addition of cardamom really makes these guys something else.


Last we fold in the flour and almond meal and this simple dough is done!

Like most cut out cookies, you’ll want to let the dough rest in the fridge both to make it easier to cut and to reduce spreading during baking.

Just before baking, these cookies are also brushed with a milk glaze that will give them their shiny surface later.

Very soon your kitchen will smell like spices and you find yourself swatting cheeky hands away from stealing them all before you’re done with them.

The resultant cookies are short, buttery and full of fragrant spices that linger on the tongue long after you’ve finished them.

Let’s got to making some:

Speculaas

  • Servings: 50
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A buttery and crumbly spiced biscuit, perfect for Christmas celebrations.

Dough may be made in advance and chilled in the fridge for up to a week before cooking. Baked cookies should be stored in an airtight container overnight to allow the spices to really permeate the dough.

Ingredients

• 160g butter, room temperature
• 310g soft brown sugar
• 1 egg
• 80ml milk
• 405g plain flour
• 1/4tsp ground nutmeg
• 1/4tsp ground cloves
• 1/4tsp ground cardamom
• 45g ground almonds
• 1tsp ground cinnamon
• milk, extra, for glaze

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and creamy. Beat in the egg, followed by the milk.
  2. Add the spices and fold through.
  3. Add the flour and almond meal and fold through until well combined.
  4. Halve dough, roll each half between two sheets of baking paper and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 190­°C. Line baking trays with baking paper.
  6. Use cookie cutter to cut portions of dough; place them on the baking trays a few cm apart. Brush with milk and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until just starting to brown.
  7. Cool the biscuits on wire racks then store in an airtight container

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