So a while back, my sister went to Texas for F1 in Schools – buuuuut, I was more occupied by the food she had to bring back. She arrived back in Vietnam at midnight, and woke me up to look at her stash. I’m not kidding. Her suitcase broke because she brought back too much food. I swear, Trader Joe’s is my favorite place. Ever. First of all, the packaging is super pretty, and the food is just so NEW! Like who would’ve thought you could have a chocolate bar that tasted like fireworks? (chili and popping candy). The way she described it, sounds like heaven. Anyway, before she left to Texas, I told her to buy cookie butter, which she did, 4 whole jars of it. But she also brought back Speculoos cookies – the stuff the cookie butter is made of.
We opened it today, one of the only foods we have left from America (sad, isn’t it) and OH MY GOSH they’re delicious. They have this satisfying crunch/snap, and the warm spicy flavors just warm you right up! Cinnamon-y, crunchy, I could eat them forever. But then that got me thinking – I could eat them forever – if I made them myself – immediately I launched myself on a crazed search to find a recipe for Speculoos cookies.
I realized they were also known as Dutch Speculaas Cookies. Beautifully crispy, thin and bursting with different spices, these are perfect for this time of year too! And, as an added bonus, these cookies are super easy! If you don’t have the special rolling pins that imprint patterns on your cookies, you can easily do what I did. Using a knife, I placed it flat against the cookie and applied slight pressure on the tip – you don’t want to cut through the cookie, just make a little dent. I didn’t have a cookie cutter, so I freehanded it with a knife, making sure to then straighten up the edges with the flat side of the knife.
These taste just like the Speculoos cookies you can buy at Trader Joe’s, with ingredients you know! They would be perfect for a personalized Christmas gift if you made custom stamps!
Note: Some of the spices I did not have on hand. I replaced cardamom and nutmeg with the next best thing I could find which was 5 spice (includes star anise, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, fennel, sichuan pepper and ginger). I thought they turned out fine
Dutch Speculaas Cookies
(Makes about 50-60)
- 113g (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter
- 50g (1/4 cup) white granulated sugar
- 165g (3/4 cup) packed brown sugar (darker is preferred)
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¾ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¾ tsp ground cloves
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp ground white pepper
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp ground cardamom
- 1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 235g (1 ¾ cup) all-purpose flour
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat
- Cut the butter into ½ inch cubes and place in a mixer with paddle attachment
- Add the sugars, baking soda, salt and spices. Cream on medium speed for 30 seconds or until the batter is uniform in color.
- Add the vanilla and egg and beat on medium speed until incorporated (about 30 seconds)
- Scrape down the sides and add the flour, beating on medium speed until incorporated (30 seconds)
- Split the cookie dough in half. If using the springerle rolling pin: Roll the dough out until ½ inch thick with a plain rolling pin. Liberally dust the springerle pin with flour and roll over the dough, pressing firmly to make it ¼ inch thick. Cut the dough along the imprinted lines and place on a baking sheet
- If using a traditional speculaas cookie mold: roll the dough until 1/2 thick with a plain rolling pin. Lightly spray the mold with cooking oil, and then liberally dust with all purpose flour (knocking out any loose flour once dusted). Press the dough into the mold, remove excess dough and unmold it onto the baking sheet.
- If using a cookie cutter, roll the dough out until 1/4 inch thick with a plain rolling pin and cut out cookies and place on the baking sheet.
- Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. 15 minutes before the time is up, preheat the oven to 190◦C. Bake the cookies in the oven for 9-11 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown on the edges
- Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool to room temperature. The cookies will crisp up as they cool