Holiday Baking: Speculaas (Spiced Almond Cookies)
An easy holiday treat to make, Speculaas (Spiced Almond Cookies) make use of spices that used to be reserved for special occasions. These are much better than any supermarket cookies.
Note: Speculaas are often formed in hand-carved wooden moulds. If one isn’t available, cut the dough with cookie cutters or use a springerle mould.
*10 oz/ 2 1/2 c plain/AP flour plus extra if needed
*6 oz / 3/4 c brown sugar
*1/2 tsp ground cloves
*1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
*1/4 tsp ground ginger (or substitute 1 1/4 tsp mixed spice for the above)
*pinch of salt
*4 oz/ 1 stick unsalted butter softened
*3–4 tbs milk
*1 egg beaten with a little milk
*almond halves for decoration
Sieve the flour, sugar, mixed spice and salt together into a large bowl.
Mix in the softened butter and knead to a soft dough. Add the milk a spoonful at a time, kneading in between. Cover and let rest in a cool place overnight.
Butter a baking sheet (or use a silicone liner). If a speculaas form is available, dust it with flour. Press the dough into the form, cutting away any excess. Turn the speculaas out onto the baking sheet. Repeat until all the dough is used.
Otherwise roll the dough out to about 1/4 inch and cut with cookie cutters. Brush the Speculaas with the egg wash. Decorate the top of the Speculaas with the almond halves.
Bake at 175 until the Speculaas are firm and done. A larger form could take up to 45 minutes, while smaller cookies will be done in about 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Store Speculaas in an airtight container.
Image via Wikipedia