Speculaas are a Dutch spiced biscuit, or cookie, that are usually made just before Christmas. They are a crunchy biscuit that formed in moulds and turned out onto a baking sheet to be baked. I have made them before, but I didn’t have the moulds. So I recently acquired some of the moulds, from Holland, and decided that I would have a trial run at making the cookies, but without the spices since it is not Christmas just yet. So I used a recipe from Weekend Bakery, but I omitted the spices on this occasion to have a lovely buttery biscuit.
They are very crunchy, though you can make them slightly more brittle by using a little baking soda in the dough, if you prefer.
The molds I used were very good indeed, though it is a little fiddly and takes a bit of practice to master turning them out. That involves dusting the moulds with some rice flour each time. However these biscuits are so good that I recommend making them whether you have molds or not. Simply roll the dough out to a thickness of 1/8th inch and use a cookie cutter or your choice.
My biscuits turned out very well indeed, and baked perfectly. They had a wonderful crunch to them and the buttery flavour came through very well indeed.
In the lead up to Christmas I shall be making them again, but then I will use the spices too.
- 225g(1 3/4 cups) cake and pastry flour, or plain flour
- 115g(1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 130g(1/2 cup + 2 tbsp) soft light brown sugar
- 30ml(2 tbps) milk or buttermilk
- 7g(2 tsp) baking powder
- 3g(1 tsp) baking soda(optional if you want a more brittle biscuit)
- a pinch of salt
- In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy.
- Add the milk and mix to combine.
- Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda if using.
- Add the flour mixture into the butter mixture and mix until it starts to clump together.
- Use your hands to pull the mixture into a dough and then form into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.
- Prepare a couple of baking trays with parchment paper.
- Preheat the oven to 165C/150C fan/330F.
- If using molds dust the molds with rice flour, for each cookie you press, and press dough into the mould until it is full.
- Use a sharp knife to cut the excess dough from the top, holding the knife flat against the mould if possible.
- Tip the moulded dough onto a baking tray and repeat the process, dusting with rice flour each time, until all the dough is used.
- If using cookie cutters roll the dough out to a thickness of 1/8th inch , on a lightly floured surface and cut out the shapes you want and transfer to a baking tray.
- Bake in the oven for 16-18 minutes until the biscuits are cooked and slightly coloured.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly on the trays, for a couple of minutes, then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.