Going into this new recipe as part of the ongoing Club Baked adventure I had no clue what Speculaas were and fairly sure I hadn't heard of them before either. I have probably eaten one :) and just didn't know it. As we are seeing in our Baked Explorations book, we travel across the country and within our own United States experiencing foods born from various cultures and in some cases out of economic challenges. It really is quite interesting for me to know the history behind our food.
Here is what Wikipediahad to say about this cookie:
"Speculoos (Dutch Dutch: SpeculaasDutch pronunciation: [spekyˈlaːs], Flemish Dutch: Speculoos, French: spéculoos) is a type of shortcrustbiscuit, traditionally baked for consumption on or just before St Nicholas' feast in the Netherlands (December 5), Belgium (December 6), and Northern France. In recent decades it has become available all year round...Speculoos are thin, very crunchy, slightly browned and, most significantly, have some image or figure (often from the traditional stories about St. Nicholas) stamped on the front side before baking; the back is flat.For the dough the butter, sugar and spices are mixed. The flour and leavening agent are mixed separately and then added. Bakers take care that the dough doesn't get warm too fast. The dough is stored in a cool place overnight to give the spices time to permeate the dough, and add extra flavor."
In doing some further review online I found that the Dutch Windmill is a popular mold for the Speculaas cookie and people tend to be quite particular about the correct 'Speculaas' cookie recipe. It seems that some recipes boast to be a Speculaas recipe but natives would weigh in that they don't measure up...no pun intended. I happened to find some molds I liked (boat/windmill) online that once I gain some needed practice with these cookies, would love to use as they add a measure of whimsy and they are just downright cute!
I learned too late that the recipe in our book had a misprint in the directions (add cardamom) that was not listed in the ingredients (rightfully so). Usually I leave stuff out - on accident - and this time I added in what I was supposed to leave out thinking it should be there. Oops and Oh well! I am happy I did because not only is cardamom my new favorite spice but they tasted delicious. Not very pretty (at all really) but very yummy! The spices in this recipe are among my most beloved.
This is exactly the kind of 'more-ish' crunchy cookie that perfectly accompanies my nightly reading. It's like a proper treat that pairs well with tea and satisfies my cravings.
The recipe itself was simple and easy enough to make. The cookies (round cutters) also seemed easy enough...until I baked them and they spread out, got real thin, and kinda ugly. I had an image in my mind of my end result and this was not it. I had tried some more hand made varieties but in the end I was disappointed...and to the degree that I actually dreamt that night that the baking soda was off and that I went to the store in the middle of the night, in pouring rain, to buy new baking soda so I could make them again. As if work stress isn't enough, I am dreaming about cookie issues. Ha! In reality, I stuck with my original result (did not get new baking soda) and am posting my first official Speculaas effort.
I highly recommend these cookies. My BFF, Gingersnap Girl, wasn't so in love with the flavor and hers were sans cardamom. I haven't read the other posts yet but can't wait to see what everyone thought and experienced.
If you would like the recipe, check out our Baked Sunday Mornings co-host page: SPECULAAS
If you want the recipe like mine, add 1/2 teaspoon Cardamom when you are adding the other spices.
CLUB BAKED - COMING UP:
Feb 15 - Soft Candy Caramel