Speculoos Recipe

When our friends came over for dinner on Saturday night, I felt like serving a simple and light dessert. By “light” I do not necessarily mean light in calories, but rather light as in “not too rich”. I wanted to make something fruit-based, with a little cookie-type thing to dip in and accompany it. I like that kind of dessert, because it allows each guest to adjust his serving to his own appetite : if you feel pretty full, you can just have the fruity part. If you have a sweet tooth and enough room, fill up on the cookies!

Just the day before I had seen beautiful rhubarb at the store, and I just cannot get enough of that fruit, so I decided to repeat the Compote Rose experience, which took care of the fruit part. It couldn’t be easier to make, you just have to peel the rhubarb, combine with raspberries and sugar, bake, and voilà : Compote Rose, pretty, acidulé and delicious.

As for the cookies, the idea of making speculoos had been in the back of my mind for quite a while, ever since my grandmother gave me a bag of cassonade brune from Belgium, that special dark brown sugar made by Candico. And then just recently, when I posted about a certain giant Speculoos, a reader named Peter kindly submitted a recipe in the comments, translated from the Belgian recipe website La Bonne Cuisine. The recipe looked simple enough, and it came recommended by Peter, so that’s what I set out to make.

The traditional recipe uses cinnamon and cloves for spices, but I used the pumkin pie spice mix I had bought at Trader Joe’s back in the days. For that I do hope that my ancestors — my father’s family comes from the North of France — will forgive me. Regardless, I was delighted with how they came out : the taste is very close to store-bought speculoos. They aren’t as crumbly though, which I think means that there is more butter in the store-bought version, but the texture of mine is extremely pleasant nonetheless, crispy on the edges and slightly soft in the center.

And they were just perfect with the rhubarb and raspberry compote. And with coffee. And with tea. And by themselves. And again. Yum.

Speculoos Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Total Time: 32 minutes

Makes about 50 speculoos.

Speculoos Recipe

Ingredients

  • 300 grams (1 1/2 cups) brown cassonade (substitute the darkest brown sugar you can get)
  • 150 grams (2/3 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 500 grams (17 2/3 ounces, about 4 cups; see note) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon mixed ground cake spices (traditionally cinnamon and cloves)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (360°F), and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a food processor or by hand, mix the butter, sugar, spices and the egg. If you're using a food processor, transfer the dough into a large mixing bowl now, as the rest has to be done by hand. Add the flour in batches, and knead the dough until it comes together and gets buttery and brown.
  3. Divide the dough in two. Spread a sheet of parchment paper on your work surface, and use a rolling pin to spread one half of the dough on it (this is so it doesn't stick to the counter, without the addition of flour), until it is about 5 mm (1/5 inch) thick. Use a special speculoos mold to cut out cookies, or just cut the dough in long and narrow rectangles, about 3 x 7 cm (1.2'' x 2.8'').
  4. Use the blade of a knife to transfer the cookies onto your cookie sheet, and put into the oven to bake for 12 to 15 minutes (the cookies will still be soft in the center). Slide the parchment paper onto a rack for the cookies to cool and harden. Repeat in batches with the rest of the dough.
  5. The cookies will keep for a couple of weeks in an airtight container at room temperature.

Notes

  • Adapted from La Bonne Cuisine, via Peter.
  • Measuring flour by volume yields inconsistent quantities depending on the baker's gesture, the specific batch of flour, and the humidity level. The inconsistency is further accentuated in recipes such as this one, where a large amount of flour is used. I strongly recommend using a digital scale.

http://chocolateandzucchini.com/recipes/cookies-small-cakes/speculoos-recipe/

Tagged:
  • hersch

    the cookies look absolutely yummy. but at the risk of being off topic, i wanted to say that one of your friends is quite attractive. -blush-

    the one farthest to the right, in the red shit. hehe.

  • http://journals.aol.com/knit2relax/KnittingandMore/ Teresa

    I love your blog! You make me want to become a better cook. All of your foods just look delicious. Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your blog.

  • http://www.womanchild.com Allison

    Oh yummy! Always yummy! You are my little delicious treat every morning! Thank you!

  • Peter

    They look great! You could try this variation. Spread the dough a little thinner (0,2cm or so), then decorate with shaved almonds. Push them a little into the dough. Cut into small pieces (3x5cm f.i.) parts. Bake for a little less time. (I guess 10 min. would be the maximum). After a day rest, you get crisp thin wafers that are excellent with strong coffee. Or take two and put some nutty (or coffee) mousse between them to serve as petits fours.

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Hersch – Thanks! :) I’d forward the compliment to Jean-Christophe (that’s his name), if I didn’t fear his girlfriend’s wrath! ;)

    Teresa and Allison – Thanks for the kind words, I’m delighted you enjoy C&Z!

    Peter – Wow, this suggestion just sounds lovely, I’ll give it a try, thank you so much.

  • http://mangolisa.blogspot.com Lisa

    In Holland, it is called SpeculAAs — and is one of my favourite koekjes (cookies). There are a few variations, and my fave is the one that is coated in almonds! There are also the Bakers version which is bigger.
    Speculaas are generally baked in special moulds in windmill or an old dutch couple shapes. I should get some pictures for my blogs. It is a cookie we never run out of in our house!
    Your cookies look good, Cotilde! And try them with tea sometimes — Earl Grey of just usual Breakfast tea — they are gorgeous!

  • David de Groot

    I’m definitely going to have to try this. My Grandparents were Dutch so Speculaas were a regular treat and always remind me of them.

    Another idea for serving would be to spread some marzipan between a couple of them for that lovely sweet almond flavour.

  • lientje

    I baked these yesterday (since Saint Nicolas is only one day away) but this morning they were rock hard!
    Not that it mattered for taste, I just soaked them in my tea, but I guess I’ll have to experiment with the amount of butter. Or maybe it’s my poor oven (a tiny old one, used on a daily basis by me, doing a decent job but gradually losing strength)… Anyone an idea what may be the reason?

  • gauri

    Hi Clotilde,
    Am a first time commentor…
    Many many congratulations on your book!
    Just wanted to let you know that I tried the speculoos recipe. Day 1, its seemed a tad hard, not so special. Day 2, I’m eating one every hour, and Belgian flatmate declares it great, keeps stealing them. Day 3, I cant get enough of the gorgeous dense, cakey texture and mellow flavours!
    So thanks a lot, and I just mentally listed to your fan club!
    And again, good luck with your book adventures…

  • Karen

    For all you speculaaslovers out there, in Belgium you can buy (since about a year, after someone ‘invented’ the recipe was seen in a Belgian tv-show and Lotus, the biggest producer of speculaas bought the recipe, it’s been a huge succes) Speculaaspasta, it’s like nutella but then with speculaas, it’s extremely addictive, and it reminds of my childhood, when we used to butter up two sandwiches, layer speculaascookies on them then gave the speculaas another light coating of butter, hmmmmmmmmmm)

    I’m currently going through a sugarless 7 weeks, and at least 2 more to go because of pregnancy diabetes and as I get closer to giving birth I keep dreaming of this recipe from another delicious blog (yours is yummie too), but then with speculaaspasta instead of nutella (the jar of speculaaspasta is ready and waiting for me…)

    links to the glorious speculaaspasta (or speculoospasta) It’s on sale in Belgium and Holland, don’t know about France or UK. But it’s worth a trip to my country ! :D

    greetz,

    K.

  • Fayet

    My, what a beautiful recipe. And it gave me quite a headache, too. I love Speculoos (or, as we germans call them, Spekulatius) to death, so you can imagine how thrilled I was to find your easy recipe. Plus it went beautifully with that jar of dark, dark brown sugar sitting in my pantry waiting for further use.

    But, oh my, did I mess up the dough. It turned out so unbelivable dry that I could have made it into a crumb cake (“streusel” would be the german word here). Instead I added some water, fought my way through the rolling out process, baked it, took the first bite and was shocked. Somehow it wasn’t how I had imagined it.. frustrated I put everything away, placed the cookies into cookie jars and forgot about them.

    Well, until breakfast today. The nights rest turned out to be what they needed: They were brilliant, delicious, mouth-watering good. Wohw. I’m amazed. I seriously am.

    I don’t know what I did wrong, but it didn’t mess it up too much. Thank you so much for that beautiful recipe – it has earned it’s rightful place in my cookie-recipe collection and will become a well-loved favourite.

  • Speculative

    Can you make these sans eggs? I usually don’t use eggs in my cooking and I just can’t seem to get single eggs anywhere. I am in love with these biscuits and would really love to bake them – only without eggs. Could you please let me know if you think they will be a success without eggs? Thanks so much!

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Speculative – In general, baking recipes that call for eggs will not work if you simply remove them. If you prefer to bake without eggs, it would be a safer strategy to find an egg-less recipe to begin with. (If it’s just a matter of not needing the rest of the eggs in a carton, perhaps a friend or neighbor can give you a single egg?)

  • Dancun

    Hello Clotide,

    Thanks so much for posting the recipé! I made this with “Jaggery” – a brown sugar available in Indian markets. They turned out amazing.

    Have you ever tried substituting mascarpone for butter? I know it sounds crazy because people often search for mascarpone substitutes, instead of the other way around. However, I have a pot of Mascarpone that I have to finish. I was thinking of making your delicious speculoos with them – instead of using butter. What do you think? :-)

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Dancun – I think you can substitute mascarpone for the butter and the flavor should be lovely, but I think you’ll get soft cookies rather than crisp one. If you try, will you report back and let us know?

  • http://www.purplefoodie.com Shaheen {The Purple Foodie}

    I’ve been toying with the idea of making these cookies and now that my store bought pack is finally over I’m going to make them. Will let you know how they turn out!

  • eavey

    Hello!! First, thank you for posting this recipe…i’ve made it twice! The first time i made it, i had the same problem as several others–they were HARD! So here’s how i tweaked it: I added 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 2 tablespoons of water & about a half a stick more of butter. I also used a bread machine to do some of the kneading…just don’t leave it to go through the rise cycle, etc. I also tried to get it as thin as possible…I’m talking 1/8 inch! They come out great! I think the addition of the leavening is what gave it the crunch. Next time, i may increase the spices by a teaspoon each because i think the added butter took away from the flavor, but i’m not sure. Again, thanks for posting!!

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