Speculaas biscuits on rustic wooden table

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What Are Spéculoos?

The word Speculoos is derived from the Latin “Speculum”, which means a mirror. Speculoos or Speculaas (windmills cookies) are Netherlands’ shortcrust cookies, traditionally baked for St Nicholas’ Day in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg, they’re found in any Belgian kermesse or festival. Also, France, Germany, and Austria make Speculoos cookies around Christmas.

How The Speculoos Cookies Are Made?

Speculoos biscuits are easy to make with wheat or all-purpose flour, brown sugar, butter, and spices: Cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, and the same combination of Oriental spices, like pumpkin pie spice; in some recipes, a dash of white pepper and anise is added. The dough does not rise much, and it should be stored in a cool place overnight, to have extra flavor, then rolled out, and cut into small rectangles. When the back of a Speculoos cookie, is flat, the front has many folklore images and figures.

How To Make Speculoos?

Ingredients: Around 30 Speculoos cookies.

  • 100 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 100 g light brown sugar
  • 30 g caster sugar
  • 200 g wheat flour, sifted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp whole milk
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 tsp Ceylon cinnamon
  • 1/3 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/3 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp ground anise
  • 1/4 tsp ground white pepper
  • A dash of salt
  • Speculoos cookies mold
  • Windmill speculoos cutter

Preparation Of Speculoos

  1. Preheat the oven to 345° F, then adjust the rack to the lower-middle position. In a medium bowl, cream the butter, the light brown sugar, caster sugar, and salt. Stir in milk and the egg. Cream until light and fluffy.
  2. Sift the flour with salt and the baking powder, then add it to the butter mixture and add spices.
  3. Mix all the ingredients well, until you get a homogeneous dough. Do Not overwork the dough.
  4. Knead gently the dough and cover with a plastic wrap, store in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, to overnight.
  5. Sprinkle flour over a workstation, and roll the dough, in a shape of a rectangle, to 3/4 inch thickness (3mm).
  6. Using a ruler for guidance, with a knife, cut 2-inch rectangles (4-5cm), then, use Speculoos molds, to print the front. Or, use a Christmas embossed rolling pin, then, a cookie-cutter.
  7. Align a half-sheet pan with a parchment paper, then transfer the speculoos carefully, using an offset spatula, leaving an inch between each piece.
  8. Leave the Speculoos cookies to dry, for at least 2 hours, at room temperature, then bake in the preheated oven, for 15 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown. Rotate the pan, if necessary, to ensure even browning. Cool Speculoos on the baking sheet.

Chef’s Tips:

  • Use almond flour for not too crunchy Speculoos.
  • To keep Speculoos crunchy, restore them in an airtight container, at room temperature.

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