If you have never a speculaas cookie then today is your day! These tasty cookies are a traditional treat in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Austria. They are so popular that they are even used to make a cookie spread (yes, you read that correctly, essentially cookie butter). Depending on the region they are also called Speculoos instead of Speculaas.
Speculaas cookies are typically made using a special decorative mold that the cookie dough is pressed into. Speculaas molds are not easy to find, at least not here in the states, and even a quick Amazon search doesn’t come up with many. There is another type of decorative cookie, called a Springerle, that is usually made with a decorative rolling pin. You can always use one of those to make the cookies more decorative, but neither of those tools are required. Instead you can roll the dough out and cut out using cookie cutters of various fun shapes! I live near Bethlehem, PA so I love using a star of Bethlehem cookie cutter for these cookies.
Making Speculaas (or Speculoos) Cookies
The steps to making the cookie dough are very similar to a simple butter cookie recipe. I always start with mixing up my dry ingredients in a bowl, including the spices. The spices used in Speculaas recipes can vary, but I chose to go with cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and just a hint of clove.
Next in the bowl of a stand mixer beat the butter and sugar together for about 2 minutes.
It is always good to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl before each addition of ingredients. This ensures that any ingredients stuck to the sides get re-incorporated. The eggs and milk are mixed in next, followed by the flour mixture.
Knead the dough for a few minutes on a lightly floured surface before wrapping in plastic wrap and chilling for at least 1 hour. This will help make the dough easier to roll.
Once you are ready to bake roll the dough out to about 1/4 inch on a lightly floured surface. Cut out with your favorite cookie cutter shapes, then place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment.
Bake at 350°F for about 8-10 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown.
- 1 1/3 cups (5.7 oz) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teas baking powder
- 1 teas ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teas ground ginger
- 1/4 teas ground cardamom
- 1/8 teas ground clove
- 1/4 teas salt
- 4 Tbsp finely chopped almonds
- 8 Tbsp (4 oz) unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup (5.3 oz) brown sugar, packed
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 Tbsp milk
Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and clover into a bowl. Add the salt and ground almonds, then whisk to combine. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater attachment cream the softened butter along with the brown sugar for 2 minutes.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl then add the egg yolk and milk, beat well for another 1 minute or until well combine.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl again and add half the flour. Mix for about 30 seconds, then scrape down the sides of the bowl again before adding the remaining flour. Mix again until the dough comes together.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for a few minutes until smooth.
Divide the dough in half, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
When ready to bake preheat the oven to 350°F and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Roll half the dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thick. Cut with desired shapes and place onto prepared cookie sheets.
Bake the cookies at 350°F for 8-10 minutes until lightly golden. Allow to cool on the pan for 5-10 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.