Speculoos [speky’lo:s] or speculaas [spe:ky’la:s] are probably the most popular cookie in the Netherlands and Belgium. Some may think about speculoos as a holiday treat similar to gingerbread cookies, but in fact you can have them all year round. Order a tea or coffee in Amsterdam or Brussels and there is a high chance to get a speculoos on the side. And I understand why, they are so so good: pretty, crunchy, with slightly spicy caramel flavor. The cookie flavor comes from a blend of spices that may vary from baker to baker, but traditional mix includes cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg, and white pepper.
The name speculoos derives from speculum, Latin for mirror: each traditional cookie is the mirror image of the mold it’s made with. You can buy a special mold to make cookies in a traditional form, but from my point of view it’s not necessary. You can cut the cookies with a simple cookie cutter & decorate them according to your taste. I decided to make my cookies in a star shape and used for the decoration two options:
- sprinkles, because everything looks prettier with sprinkles, right?:-D
- pretty pattern that you can create with a texture sheet mat like this one
You can also keep it simple and don’t decorate your cookies at all. They will be delicious anyways!
Spectacular Speculoos Cookies
For Speculoos Spice Blend*
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon clove
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon anise
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
For Speculoos Cookies
250 g (2 cups) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon speculoos spice blend
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
110 g (1/2 cup) butter, softened
150 g (3/4 cup) dark brown sugar
50 ml milk
1. In a small bowl, combine spices and mix well.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and spice blend.
3. In a separate bowl cream together butter and sugar. Beat in the flour mixture and milk. Remove the dough from bowl, shape into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or preferably overnight.
5. Line baking sheets with baking parchment. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of 3-6 mm (1/8 – 1/4 inch).
6. If you use sprinkles. Using a cookie cutter cut out as many speculoos cookies as possible and place them on the prepared baking sheets, spacing about 2 cm (1 inch) apart. Top each cookie with sprinkles and gently press the sprinkles into the cookie dough.
If you use texture mat. Refrigerate the dough for 5-10 minutes. Place the chilled dough on top of a texture mat and roll over with firm pressure. Refrigerate the dough with the texture mat for 5-10 minutes, then remove the mat. Using a cookie cutter cut out as many speculoos cookies as possible and place them on the prepared baking sheets, spacing about 2 cm (1 inch) apart.
If you use a special speculoos mold. Dust the mold lightly with flour. Cut a piece of dough about the size of the mold. Press the dough firmly into the mold, gently roll over dough with a rolling pin. Using a knife, trim excess dough. Flip over the mold, and gently tap out the cookies onto a baking sheet. Repeat, spacing cookies about 2 cm (1 inch) apart.
7. Freeze the cookies on the baking sheets until firm, about 20 minutes; this helps the cookies retain their shape while baking.
8. Bake at 170°C (340°F) for 12-15 minutes or just until the edges begin to darken. Cool on a wire rack**.
* Speculoos spice blend will keep in an airtight container up to 1 month.
* Speculoos cookies will keep in an airtight container up to 3 weeks.
P.S. If you will bake these speculoos cookies, please tag @bakingwithanastasia and @toetjeaddicted on Instagram/ Facebook/ Twitter and use the hashtag #bakingwithanastasia! I would love to see your creations!
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