These little round bites with almonds sticking out are my variation of the classic sekerpare cookie from Turkey. Today is the 5th of December and in Holland we are celebrating Sinterklaas. The traditional treats for this holiday are speculaas, pepernoten and – for the more health conscious – clementines. I added some typical speculaas spices to this Turkish cookie and let them soak up a syrup with clementine zest. The traditional mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and white pepper tastes very nice in this soft cookie and goes very well with the fresh, fruity clementine rind in the sweet syrup. I will serve these cookies instead of speculaas and pepernoten this year and hope to please both cookie and fruit lovers.
Speculaas sekerpare cookie
for about 40 cookies
for the syrup
375 grams sugar (1¾ cup)
½ liter water (2 cups)
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
zest of 1 clementine
for the dough
125 grams soft unsalted butter (½ cup + 2 tablespoons)
60 grams icing sugar ( ½ cup)
60 grams semolina (⅓ cup)
½ teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
225 grams flour (1 cup)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon each of ground ginger, nutmeg and cloves
pinch of white pepper
Make the syrup by bringing the sugar and water to the boil. Leave to boil for about 5 minutes, add the lemon juice and the clementine zest and leave to cool.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/ 350°F.
With an electric mixer beat the butter with the icing sugar until light and creamy.
Add the eggs and beat until fully incorporated.
Mix in the semolina.
Add the baking powder, the salt and the flour and knead into a soft dough.
Roll little balls of about 10-15 grams of the dough.
Put them on a cookie sheet covered with baking paper, press an almond in every ball and bake in the middle of the oven for about 20 minutes or until light brown.
Carefully transfer the hot cookies to an oven dish that will fit them snugly and pour over the syrup. Leave to soak for about 5 hours.
This post is also available in: Dutch