Speculaas, or biscoff cookies, the dark brown, spiced Christmas biscuits, are easy to make at home. Our beloved Spekulatius, as it is called in Germany, is a must-have in Christmastime. Think of them as the VIPs of the cookie world—shortbread biscuits with a touch less fat, giving them that perfect crispiness that’ll leave other biscuits green with envy. It’s a recipe worth the baking hype.
Let’s talk spice
Typically, these cookies contain cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a dash of pepper. For those feeling a bit rebellious, ginger powder or vanilla can join the spice party too. Because of the spices, you might think that speculaas are gingerbread, but in fact they are shortbread.
Also important is a strong caramel flavour, which is produced by the brown sugar. Nowadays, if you buy them in the supermarket, they are usually coloured with molasses, which supports this characteristic taste.
The typical speculaas design
For the typical pictures of houses and scenery on your homemade biscoff cookies, roll a speculoos roller* along the thinly rolled out dough. A word of wisdom: roll vigorously, but avoid pushing forward. If the dough gets clingy, show it who’s boss before moving on. A small knife might come in handy for the final separation.
Keep your homemade spiced biscoff cookies completely sealed, preferably in a biscuit tin. Like all shortbread biscuits, they absorb moisture and quickly lose their great crunch.
Traditional spiced Speculaas Cookies
- 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ⅓ cups brown sugar or cane sugar
- ½ cup butter 1 stick, unsalted
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 small egg
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1½ tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp cardamom ground
- 1 small pinch ground nutmeg
- Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl and mix together. Cut the cold butter into small pieces and carefully rub them into the flour mixture, a little at a time, with your fingers. Now add the cold milk, egg and all the spices.
- Knead the dough quickly until it is homogeneous, form a ball and chill it covered for at least 2 hours. For best results, chill the dough overnight, i.e. for a good 12 hours.
- Then preheat the oven to 375° F.
- Take the dough out again and roll it out evenly on a floured surface. Cut out the speculoos with suitable moulds, or use a practical wooden embossing roller. You can also simply cut rectangles or squares.
- Place the speculaas on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake in the preheated oven for about 10–12 minutes. They will still be slightly soft, but will firm up when they cool.
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