Speculaas are also known as spéculoos in French are a deeply spiced, crisp and buttery biscuit generally associated with Christmas Time and the Feast of St Nicholas which is celebrated in the Netherlands.
Because these cookies don’t rise much, they take imprints from special rolling pins or retain the shape of traditional cookie moulds.
Their spicy flavour increases over the passing days and the longest they last is two weeks.
Seen that bit in Amelie when Monsieur Dufayel offers Amelie spice cookies and mulled wine? It was very likely a Speculaas cookie just like this. If you want to channel Amelie, make a batch of speculaas and find MamaBake’s Scandinavian mulled wine recipe right here.
This recipe makes about 40-50 crisp little cookies.
220g butter, diced into small cubes
140 grams caster sugar
150 grams brown sugar
450 grams plain flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
5 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 whole nutmeg, grated
2 teaspoons ground ginger
3 teaspoons mixed spice
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon white pepper
1. Cream together the butter and sugars until fully combined
2. Add the baking soda and spices and cream further until pale in colour but not yet fluffy
3. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until fully combined before adding the second.
4. Add the flour and beat until fully combined. Divide the dough into 4 pieces, wrap them in cling film and place in the fridge to chill for at least an hour.
5. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 170 degrees celcius. Roll one piece of dough out to just under 1cm in thickness. You’ll need a good amount of flour on your surface. If you are going to use a special rolling pin which prints pictures onto the dough, a cookie mould or cookie press, then make it about 1 1/4cm cm in thickness. Always dust the rolling pin or mould before pressing into dough. Cut cookies with a pastry cutter to make squares about 4 x 4cm or use cookie cutters in whatever desired shape.
6. Place cookies on a lined cookie sheet at least 2cm apart (they don’t really expand much at all) and bake for 10-15 minutes depending on size until the colour is uniformly dark gold and the edges of the cookies are firm. They firm up further as they cool, but you want the centres to be coloured and set as well because these cookies are meant to be crisp,
7. Cool cookies fully before serving.