Speculaas is probably the most famous traditional Dutch cookie. No wonder: the crumbly biscuit with its deep spicy notes seems to fit every occasion. Speculaas was first baked during the rich trading days of The Netherlands in the 17th century when ships filled with exotic spices sailed into the Dutch harbours. Nutmeg, pepper, ginger, cinnamon and cloves were costly condiments. Speculaas was only found in the silver cookie tins of the rich. Now everyone can make or bake speculaas. The cookie is made with special wooden cookie molds. The windmill mold is the most popular one and that is why speculaas is also known as ‘the windmill cookie’
If you like a little more spice, try my own take on this cookie: fiery speculaas.
For 24 speculaas
110 grams soft butter
150 grams light muscovado sugar
2 grams salt
50 milliliter milk or buttermilk
250 grams sifted flour
10 grams baking powder (2 teaspoons)
10 grams ground cinnamon (2 teaspoons)
5 grams ground nutmeg (1 teaspoon)
5 grams ground cloves (1 teaspoon)
5 grams ground ginger (1 teaspoon)
2 grams ground white pepper (1/4 teaspoon)
(rice flour to dust the moulds)
Place the butter, the muscovado sugar and the salt in a mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until creamy.
Add the milk and all the spices and mix well.
Add the flour and the baking powder and knead into a ball.
Wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the refrigerator for 1 night to allow the flavours to develop.
Preheat the oven to 150°C (300 °F). Dust a cookie mold with flour and press in some dough. Or roll out some of the dough to 25 mm. Shape roughly into the form of the mold and press in.
Cut or shave away the excess dough with a sharp knife.
Remove the dough from the mold and place on a baking sheet covered with baking paper. Bake the speculaas in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes.
The most difficult thing in making this cookie is getting the dough in and out the mold. If you have a new mould, lightly spray with oil and rub in. Dust with some (rice) flour and tap out the excess. Take enough dough to fill the mould and give it a quick knead. Don’t let it get to warm and sticky. Light press the dough in the mould and shave away the excess dough with a sharp knife. You can also use cling film to cover the mold first. You can get the dough out more easily, but the definition of the pattern is a little less sharp.
This post is also available in: Dutch