Speculoos Gnocchi Recipe

Gnocchi de Speculoos

[Sweet Speculoos Gnocchi]

Today is the 7th edition of Is My Blog Burning?, the collective food blogging event, brainchild of my favorite Italian baker, Alberto. This time around, the theme is You’re just the cutest little dumpling!, and is hosted by Jarrett, to whom the food enthusiast community owes a lifetime of gratitude for coming up with the Food Porn Watch.

I love dumplings of all shapes and tastes and origins, but I have little experience making them myself, and that is exactly why I think IMBB events are great, getting you to step outside your comfort zone a little. The only two dumpling experiments I conducted in the past were ricotta gnocchi and spaetzle, those Alsacian egg pasta. I must say those attempts were quite time-consuming, but that may have been the lack of practice and the results were well worth it in both cases.

This time around, I felt like making desserts dumplings, and researched the sweet gnocchi possibilities. The only recipe I found was for Sweet Amaretti Gnocchi, but those were baked, which seemed to take them out of the IMBB scope : can a dumpling be called a dumpling if it isn’t dumped at some point? I think not.

But I loved the idea of a sweet gnocchi flavored with cookie crumbs, so I decided to build on that recipe and create my own, using one of my favorite cookies in the whole wide world : the speculoos (not homemade this time, though). It also pleased me greatly that this recipe had a nice “North meets South” twist, with the typically Belgian cookie and Italian dumpling blending together into a fusion dessert of sorts.

As I was working on my dumplings, I had great doubts about the success of my recipe : improvisation baking is always a high-risk exercise and I had no idea what the dough was supposed to feel like. Mine was probably a bit too sticky, resulting in somewhat messy-shaped gnocchi. But the raw dough tasted really good, and the final sautéing in butter corrected the aspect issue a little.

And the result was really really good : a warm, pillowy version of the delicious speculoos taste I like so much, the spices wonderfully complemented by the velvety vanilla ice-cream.

Gnocchi de Speculoos

– 1 egg
– 60 g sugar
– 30 g (2 Tbsp) mascarpone cheese
– 90 g flour (or more, as needed, see instructions below)
– 50 g speculoos (substitute graham crackers, ginger snaps or any other crispy, flavorful cookie)
– 1/4 tsp salt
– a hazelnut-sized piece of butter

To serve :
– confectioner’s sugar
– vanilla ice-cream

(Serves 4.)

Grind the speculoos finely. You can do this in your food processor, or just put the cookies in a ziploc bag and run a rolling pin over it until finely ground (excellent stress-relief, too). You should get about half a cup of crumbs.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the egg, sugar and mascarpone cheese, and whisk together well. Add in the cookie crumbs, salt and half the flour, and blend together with a fork. The mixture will get quite thick. Add in the rest of the flour progressively, until you get a dough that’s still somewhat sticky, but not so sticky you can’t work with it at all. You may need to add more than stated in the ingredients list above, depending on the precision of your measures and also the size of the egg you used (French eggs are substantively smaller than the ones you find in the US for instance).

Put the bowl of dough in the fridge to rest for about an hour. Turn it out on a floured work surface or, better yet, a silicon baking mat. Working with two small spoons, form gnocchi-shaped dumplings, not too big (they will expand in size when poached). At this point, if you find the dough still too sticky to work with, add in more flour.

If the surface you’re working on is a bit far from your cooking range, place the prepared dumplings on a floured plate so you can take it with you when you’re about to poach them. If you’re working on a baking mat, make sure you can carry it to the range on a tray.

Bring water to a gentle boil in a large saucepan. Using a small spoon, gently drop in the gnocchi. Try to do this quickly so they’ll all be ready at about the same time. You may want to work in batches.

Leave them in for about four minutes : poaching time will depend on the size of your gnocchi, but they’re ready about two minutes after they’ve bobbed to the surface. Take one out with a slotted spoon, wait for it to cool slightly and probe it gently with your finger. It should still be firm, with a little softness in the center.

When ready, take them all out and transfer to a colander to drain for a few minutes, then onto a greased plate. Repeat with the remaining dough. The gnocchi can be prepared ahead up to this point : cover and store in the fridge.

Just before serving, heat up a little butter in a skillet and reheat the gnocchi, sautéing them until golden. Place a scoop of vanilla ice-cream in the center of each plate, surround with the warm gnocchi and sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar. Serve immediately.

  • Bruno

    Moi qui adore les spéculoos (origines flamandes…)!

    Vive l’originalité, dans la sobriété (encore que, un excès culinaire de temps en temps…)

    Merci Clotide de faire vivre ce site, même un Dimanche!


  • Rosa

    Hi Clothilde,

    I only discovered your fab blog a few weeks ago – strangely enough, whilst searching Google for “baked beans” – can’t remember why, but it certainly was a good thing since I hadn’t even known about food blogs before.
    I might become addicted and have even started fantasising about my own food blog. Would anyone donate a web server, please?

    The dumpling theme would have inspired me to make PLUM DUMPLINGS again – which is a true childhood food for me, my grandparents made it regularly. In Poland, their country of origin, it’s fairly common to eat dumplings and pierogi (large-ish ravioli) with sweet fillings, such as “Quark” or fruit. You make a sticky dough with cooked, pureed potatoes and flour, little portions of which are filled with fresh and sugared blue plums and rolled into dumplings. They are then cooked like Gnocchi, and served with hot, slightly brown butter and sprinkled with sugar. The plums cook inside the dumplings, so when you cut them open, the pink plum juice pours out on your plate.
    Hmmmmmmm. I really need to make them again. Good luck that plum season has just started (at least it seems that way at most Berlin markets) –

  • joan

    Clotilde ~ aka Dumpling Queen ~ surreal daisy or sunflower they seem ~ food flowers of Paris ~ Once upon a longgggggggg time ago I made plum dumplings for my mother-in-law ~ “disaster” didn’t even cover it! They were the texture of car tyres. Things have improved on the kitchen front.

    Glasses raised to the glory of the dumpling in all its dumpy forms!

  • cheesy chilaquiles


    Rosa beat me to the punch in mentioning plum dumplings, my favorites. Served Romanian-style (Galuste cu Prune) they are often served with a hot butter-sauteed bread crumb sauce which compliments them perfectly.

    Try adding some speculaas crumbs to a crepe batter. Very nice. I make apple compote-filled palatschinken this way. Their spicy quality is a great foil for a grated chocolate and chopped walnut filling as well.

  • Marina

    Ciao Clotilde! As an Italian I would like to say that we can talk about ‘gnocchi’ only if they are made with potatoes. For instance, in Trentino we have ‘canederli’: they are dumplings made with old bread and other flavours. So the difference is not whether the ‘things’ have been cooked in hot water or not but whether they contain potatoes. Maybe it can be a nice try: potatognocchi flavoured with the speculaas spices. If you want, you can make your own: here’s the recipe for making the speculaas spice mixture by yourself (please excuse me, I don’t know all the names in English, but I suppose French will do, doesn’t it?):

    Speculaas spices (Dutch)

    30 gr cannelle
    10 gr girofle
    10 gr noix muscade
    5 gr white pepper
    5 gr anice seeds
    5 gr coriander seeds

    Ground everything finely all together.

    Ciao! Marina

  • http://www.obsessionwithfood.com Derrick Schneider

    What a clever adaptation! I love seeing a good improv dish.

  • http://cookingwithamy.com Cooking with Amy

    Hmmm, never made the dumpling “dumped” connection before. Good one.

  • http://www.aspoonfulofsugar.net Angela

    Clotilde, these gnocchi look wonderful! I’ve never had sweet gnocchi before but I can only imagine how yummy they must have been. And speculoos flavoured too! *drools*

  • http://www.domesticgoddess.ca Jennifer

    Clotilde — this recipe looks great; what an amazing flavour and texture combination you’ve ended up with! Delicious!

  • http://www.musicetc.us Anne

    Sweet dumplings are a common dessert in the Czech Republic too.
    From the Czech tourism site:
    “Czechs also love boiled sweet dumplings, be they filled with plums, apricots, cherries, or simply topped with a sweet berry sauce”
    We’ve enjoyed a strawberry extravaganza in Prague – strawberry dumpling with strawberry sauce and, of course, plenty of rich whipped cream!

  • savina

    Sorry, as an Italian I have to say gnocchi definitely DO NOT have to have potatoes as one of their ingredients. Roman gnocchi di semolino are cold thick semolina spred to cool, cut in rounds or lozengens and grilled in the oven with butter and cheese; gnocchi di ricotta e spinaci are spinach and ricotta meatballs which are boiled and then covered with melted butter and parmisan cheese, to name just two of the many non-potato gnocchi. (just wrote a long comment on the IMMB VII page on the gnocchi-dumpling issue)

  • http://www.tetellita.blogspot.com Estelle

    Hello Clotilde, look at Cuisine TV’s featured recipe of the day:


    This recipe must have been thought with you in mind :)

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    All – Thanks for the comments and great suggestions, I’m glad you liked my humble IMBB contribution!

    Estelle – Indeed, the coincidence is quite amazing, my dream dessert! And the recipe sounds pretty straightforward too…

  • http://gastroblog.com Jackie D

    I made these on Monday night for my boyfriend and his parents, and they were a big hit – very tasty! My only worry was that they didn’t look exactly like yours…the exterior was softer and more ‘pillowy,’ almost slimy. I know this is what dumplings are like, but I wondered if yours had this texture, and what I may have got wrong…Too much flour, perhaps?

  • http://gastroblog.com Jackie D

    NB I have wanted to make these since August, even before I tasted my first speculoo! When we went to Boulogne in late December, I bought a 350g package of speculoos and loved them, but saved enough to make this recipe at the first opportunity. It was kind of like trying to recreate a dish from a favourite book, if that makes sense. Anyway, I feel a great sense of accomplishment just by having made them! Thanks, Clotilde!

  • beverly weiss

    Just printed entire recipe; perfectly legible; thanks…beverlyfweiss@yahoo.com

  • zsofia

    Dear Clotilde,
    I just discovered your fantastic blog a few days ago and since that I’m reading literaly every word of it.. congratulations!!
    I just found your nice receipe with the speculoos (I’m also a big fan of it and since I live in Brussels I have the chance to experiment with it..) and thought I would share a receipe of a dessert I just made yesterday and was a big hit:

    Layered mascarpone-rasperry mousse w speculoos

    For 2-4
    250g mascarpone
    250 g frozen rasperry
    1 egg divided
    10 pcs speculoos, crumbled
    50g icing sugar
    a dash of lemon juice
    a dash of Framboise (rasperry liquer, optional)

    Puree the rasperry w some lemon juice and sugar. Mix the mascarpone w the half of the rasperry puree, the egg yolk and the whipped egg white, some sugar and some lemon juice. In a glas (2 or 4 depending on the size), I put the folllowing layers: speculoos crumble drizzled w some of the alcohol, rasperry purree, then the mascarpone mousse and again speculoos, fruit, mascarpone.
    It looks beautiful and is elegant (instead of the glas I want to prepare it in those shaping rings next time)

  • Jenny Vass

    do you please have a receipe for chocolate ravioli- we already make flavoured gnocchi- basil, tomato pumpkin, sweet potato, all sells very well
    regards- jenny

  • Sophia

    Made these last week – delicious. I like my desserts very sweet, so I sprinkled some brown sugar on top while sauteeing. It carmelized nicely and gave the outside a bit of a crunch.

  • Jeanne

    I live in Ontario Canada and am looking for “flavoured gnocchi”. Can anyone help. Thanks for your time.

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