Speculoos/Speculaas is spiced shortbread cookies made with aromatic spices usually baked during Christmas in Netherlands, Belgium and in Germany.
Have you started Christmas baking? I started my baking for the holiday season starting with this speculoos, in Dutch it is Speculaas and in German it is called Spekulatius. It is spiced shortbread cookies usually baked during or just before St Nicholas’ feast in the Netherlands (December 5), Belgium (December 6), and around Christmas in Germany. It is also available all around the year. Christmas means some special cookies and special spices.
How was your last week, mine turned out be eventful one especially the Wednesday. Since the weather was good, I thought I will keep my plants outside which I usually keep in the garage during the cold days. After picking my son from his play school I parked the car in the garage. I was keeping my plants outside, while I am doing this, my son got hold of garage opener remote and started closing the garage. I got panicked and tried to stop it from closing. I couldn’t stop the garage door from closing and it resulted in my son getting trapped in house and I was outside. I went to ask help from one of my neighbors, they took some time to open the door. I was crying hysterically. In the mean time another neighbor saw my distress and came by and tried to open the garage door, but nothing worked. We have made our house into a fortress due to security purpose, and hence impossible to open the front door without key. I heard my son crying for some time, and then after that no crying sound. My next door neighbor called police and in the mean time the neighbor who came to help me asked me can if he can break the window. I told him to do it. He broke the window and when I came inside the house through the window, I saw my son crying and looking for mama in upstairs.
In the mean time within 5 minutes, the police and fire brigade came by since a child was involved. They knocked the door and when I opened the door with my son in my hand they asked me everything is fine. I told them he is fine, only that he took my breath away for second. They left after making sure my son was fine. I called my husband and told him to leave the job early. In the mean time I called window repair service and arrange to fix the window. Finally after 1 ½ hour both husband (he has an hour drive from work to home) and window repair guy came by and a couple of hours later the window was fixed. I again gone out to pick my daughter from the school and told her the story of what her brother did. When I asked him what did you do? He told me baby closed the door. And next word was baby cried and laughing. What can I say I just kissed him thinking that nothing serious has happened. Every day is teaching me something new.
Coming back to Speculoos, they are thin, very crunchy, slightly browned and, most significantly, have some image or figure (often from the traditional stories about St. Nicholas) stamped on the front side before baking; the back is flat. Speculoos dough does not rise much. Dutch and Belgian versions are baked with light brown (beet) sugar and baking powder. German Spekulatius uses baker’s ammonia as leavening agent. Spices used in speculoos are cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cardamom, mace, coriander and white pepper. Dutch version is more spiced where as Belgian varieties use less or no spice. Most Speculoos versions are made from white flour, brown sugar, butter and spices. To make the dough, butter, sugar and spices are combined. The flour and leavening agent are mixed separately and then added. The dough is stored in refrigerator overnight to give the spices time to permeate the dough and add extra flavor.
I used Bouchon bakery recipe for making the dough however add speculass spices form Geverlade speculaas which I tried earlier.
Since I don’t have typical Dutch speculass mold or molded rolling pin I used my star, Christmas tree and snow flake cookie cutter. You need to prepare a day ahead this dough and chill the dough in refrigerator. Next day, take out the dough and press it into thin sheet and cut it into your favorite cookie cutter. Chill them for 5 minutes before baking them. Bake at preheated oven at 325⁰F for 17 minutes or until brown.
They are really delicious my kiddos liked it very well. Give it try easy one.
- 3/4 cup 104 grams All-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoons Cake Flour 74 grams
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons Whole Wheat flour 74 grams
- 1/4 teaspoon 1.3 grams Baking soda
- 1 tablespoon of speculaas spices 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 3 cardamom, ¼ teaspoon anise seed, 4 white peppercorn. 1/8 teaspoon mace, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon ginger, ¼ teaspoon cloves and ¼ teaspoon coriander
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup 74 grams Dark brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1/4 cup 50 grams Granulated sugar
- 1 1/8 teaspoons 8 grams Clover honey
- 6.2 ounces 177 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
- Powdered sugar for dusting
- In a medium bowl and sift all purpose flour, cake, whole wheat flours, spices, salt and baking soda. At the end of sifting, the whole wheat flour left a lot of large flakes in my sifter. Leave that out. Break up any lumps of flour remaining in the sieve and add them to the bowl.
- Place the butter, sugar and honey in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
- Turn to medium-low speed and cream the butter until smooth. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Add the dry ingredients in 2 additions, mixing on low speed for 15 to 30 seconds after each, or until just combined.
- Scrape the bottom of the bowl to incorporate any dry ingredients that have settled there.
- Transfer the dough on the work surface and, using the heel of your hand or a pastry scraper, push it together into a 4-by-6-inch block.
- Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or, preferably, overnight. Next morning take out the dough and place it in a parchment paper, cover with another parchment paper.
- At first you need to make few pounds on the top of the dough. Roll them thin as much possible Original recipe asked for 1/8 inch thickness
- . If necessary, push the trimmings together, refrigerate until firm, and reroll to make rest of cookies.
- Using a cookie cutter cut them into desired shapes, and then chill the cut outs of cookies for about 5 minutes.
- Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F (standard). Line two sheet pans with Silpats or parchment paper.
- Bake the cookies until golden brown about 17 minutes, reversing the positions of the pans halfway through baking. Set the pans on a cooling rack and cool for 5 to 10 minutes, then transfer the cookies to the rack to cool completely. I got about 3 dozen of 2 inch cookies.
- Delicious before serving you can dust little powdered sugar if you want.
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This is Swathi ( Ambujom Saraswathy) from Zesty South Indian Kitchen who loves to explore cuisines from all over the world. Whenever possible I try to to give an Indian touch to several of the world cuisine, and has weakness for freshly baked bread. All the recipes you see here are created by me and approved after taste-test by my family.