Speculoos

Posted in on the 11th March, 2013

SpeculoosTraditionally eaten during December in celebration of the Roman Catholic feast of St. Nicholas, Speculoos is a type of shortcrust biscuit popular among the young and old of the Netherlands, Belgium, Northern France, and Germany.

These thin, very crunchy cookies are slightly browned, fragrantly spiced, and have distinct images or figures, which are often based from the traditional story of St. Nicholas.

Try making these cookies during the Holidays, or even whole year round.  (Yields 32 cookies)

Ingredients:
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground mace
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
Pinch of ground cloves
6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/3 cup water
Confectioners’ sugar, for surface

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger nutmeg, cardamom, mace, white pepper, and cloves.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together butter and brown sugar until the texture is creamy.  Beat in half of the flour mixture.  Mix in water, then the remaining flour mixture.
  3. Shape the dough into three disks that are one-inch thick.  Wrap each disk in plastic and refrigerate for one hour.
  4. Dust work surface and springerle molds lightly with confectioners’ sugar.  Roll out the dough to a 1/4 to 3/8-inch thickness, or thicker for deeper molds.
  5. Cut a piece of dough about the size of a mold.  Press the mold firmly into the cut dough, flip over, and gently roll the molded dough with a rolling pin.  Flip the mold over again and press onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Trim excess dough with a knife, then gently coax the dough out of the mold using your fingertips and onto the baking sheet.
  6. Be sure to frequently clean the inner side of the molds in between pressings using the tip of a skewer.
  7. Repeat the process until baking sheet is full, spacing cookies one-inch apart.  Place the baking sheets into the freezer and leave it for about one hour.
  8. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place the first sheet of cookies into the over and immediately reduce the temperature to 250 degrees.  Bake one sheet at a time for 55 to 65 minutes or until cookies are set and just about to turn light gold around the edges.
  9. Let the sheets completely cool on wire racks.