21 December 2011

Susan's Speculaas

I have been waiting to make these cookies since my blogging friend, Lizzy sent me a box of Dutch baking and snacking goodies this past Spring! I used the bottle of speculoos spice that she sent today and made the first of a few different types of cookies. They will be part of a cookie platter for our Christmas Eve celebration. With gluwein or coffee or hot tea, these little 'dunkers' will be so delicious!






The basic recipe for these cookies comes from a German cookbook that I bought when I lived in Hohensachsen, Germany and a recipe for Belgian Speculoos that was posted on Chocolate and Zucchini foodblog. My experience with German Speculaas goes back a ways, though.  We were served little Speculaas wafers whenever we stopped for coffee at the coffeeshops. That's where I fell in love with them.

At Christmastime, though, the art of making Speculaas rises to high art. There are elaborate molds for forming the cookies. I toyed with using my keepsake forms today, but I have vowed to play fast and easy with Christmas preparations this year, so I simply rolled the dough out and used my pizza cutter to make little oblong dipping wafers ... like Clothilde did at C&Z.  My one bit of decoration? A sliver of almond.



I also rolled my speculaas a bit thicker and baked them to a very crisp state ... I love my dunkers to hold their form when they soak up my coffee and not fall to a crumbly sludge at the bottom of the cup. The cookies need to be almost like hardtack. Ha! I must remember to warn any unsuspecting snackers! These will join Pignoli Cookies, Cherry Almond Biscotti, and Russian Teacakes on the Christmas Eve cookie platter.

If you bake these cookies, you'll have to decide - just a bit crisp  at the edges and soft at the centers or hardtack dunkers like mine ... I baked mine for 15 - 17 minutes. The recipe calls for a shorter bake time - 12 - 15 minutes. Just noting this now for your info ...

What are your cookies looking like this week?





Susan’s Speculaas


Ingredients:

165 g soft butter
300 g dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1½ tsp. speculoos spice OR ½ tsp. cinnamon plus ½ tsp. cloves plus a pinch cardamom
500 g flour



Making the Cookies:
1. Combine the butter and sugar in a warm bowl and whip until there are no lumps of brown sugar. If need be, use the back of a spoon to smash any lumps and whip them into the smooth sugar paste.

2. Add the eggs and the spice and whip until smooth and uniform.

3. Using your hands, add half the flour and smush the flour into the wet ingredients.

4. Add the other half of the flour and continue smushing the dough together until it forms a nice ball of buttery brown dough.

5. Preheat the oven to 360° F and line three baking sheets with parchment paper.

6. Lay another piece of parchment paper on a cool rolling surface, divide the dough into two lumps.

7. Roll one lump at a time to about 5 mm thickness and cut into shapes or use a pizza cutter to cut oblong strips. Alternatively, you may prepare speculoos molds and press the dough into the shape, then rap them out onto the parchment paper-lined sheets.

8. Press one piece of slivered almond into the top of each oblong and bake for 12 to 15 minutes. The cookies should be a bit brown around the edges and just a bit soft in the centers.

9. Remove to a rack right away and let the cookies crisp up.

10. Store in a tightly closed tin.

Note: … serve with hot coffee or tea for ‘dunking’. These are very crisp cookies that have a hard bite when dry, but dunked are sublime.

5 comments:

  1. Sounds like your Christmas will be filled with the comfort of good food and the company of family and friends. Warmest holiday wishes to you all.

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  2. I've never made these before but I have to now. I like mine hard too (ooh I say!) and the almond sliver is such a great touch. I'm making mincemeat cookies tomorrow!!

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  3. Yum! These remind me of one of a couple of my favorite cookies to purchase, windmill and Biscoff cookies. I can hardly wait to make them.

    Wishing you and your family the best this holiday season!

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  4. They look and sound delicious - I just love dunking biscuits in my coffee (when nobody is looking!!!)

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  5. Aww, how cute! I love the tin too. I'm so glad you used the spices at Christmas...that sounds fun!

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