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Speculaas (Spiced Cookies)

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Speculaas (Spiced Cookies)

Speculaas cookies

Photo © Karin Engelbrecht
Making these spicy Sinterklaas treats could not be any easier. The fragrant fug your home will be enveloped in alone will make it worth the while, not to mention their sweet crispy bite. Speculaas (you may know them as 'windmill cookies', a popular shape for commercial speculaas cookies) are great with tea, coffee or a glass of cognac.

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups self-rising flour (200 g)
  • 1/2 cup donkerbruine basterdsuiker (see Tips) or pure cane sugar (demerera), (100 g)
  • 7 tbsp butter (100 g)
  • 2-3 tbsp milk
  • 3 tsp speculaaskruiden or pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • The finely grated zest of half an orange
  • A sprinkling of extra flour to dust the work surface.
  • --------
  • OPTIONAL
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • Extra brown sugar
  • Flaked almonds

Preparation:

Mix together all the ingredients in a large bowl and knead. You should be able to shape the dough into a ball without it sticking to your hands. Cover the dough ball with plastic wrap and set aside for an hour. This allows the spices to work their magic.

Preheat the oven to 347 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius). Grease a baking sheet.

Flour your work surface and press your dough into an even, flat layer. Using a cookie cutter, cut shapes from the dough and place on the greased baking sheet. Brush with egg white and sprinkle some brown sugar and flaked almonds on top of each cookie. Bake for about 10-25 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of the cookies, or until you can see that the almonds are caramelizing and the cookies are turning a slightly darker shade of brown. Remove from the baking sheet and allow to cool on a cooling rack.

Makes about 2 dozen speculaas cookies.

TIPS:

  • Basterdsuiker is a typical Dutch product. It is manufactured by adding invert sugar and other ingredients to fine white refined sugar. This mixture helps to achieve certain textural structures and keeps baked goods moist. There are three varieties, white, brown and dark brown, called witte basterdsuiker, (licht)bruine basterdsuiker or gele basterdsuiker and donkerbruine basterdsuiker. It is widely available from Dutch supermarkets and some Dutch groceries on the internet. I've had good results substituting the donkerbruine basterdsuiker in this recipe with pure cane sugar (demerera).
  • You can order little sachets of speculaas spices (known as speculaaskruiden) online. But you can easily substitute pumpkin pie spices. You can also make your own speculaaskruiden.
  • The traditional method calls for using a speculaasplank, a carved wooden board. There is no need to go on a special shopping expedition, although you can find these online. A regular cookie cutter will do fine.
  • User Reviews

    Reviews for this section have been closed.

     5 out of 5
    Reminded me of Oma, Member JuliaSt

    Thanks for the great recipe. My Dad is from the Netherlands and we always had speculaas at Christmas which my Oma would send from Holland along with the Dutch chocolate letters and various other Dutch treats. I was looking for some recipes to celebrate St. Nicholaas Day with and found this. I made them twice this Christmas season, taking some to a cookie exchange and sharing the rest with family and friends. My mother just wrote and asked for the recipe, she thought they were good too. Very Dutch!!

    24 out of 25 people found this helpful.

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