Sunday, 22 June 2014

Speculaas biscuits




Anyone who has been to the Netherlands is bound to have either eaten, or brought back and eaten, or brought back as gifts (and then hopefully eaten when visiting) Speculaas biscuits.  I have enjoyed them thin and crispy, and also thicker and more gingerbread-like in texture.  The warming combination of spice is lovely and, while they are traditionally a Christmas biscuit, I see no harm in enjoying them all year round.







What has stopped me making speculaas thus far is the absence of an authentic spice mix, or recipe to make one.  Therefore when Steven Dotsch, of the Speculaas Spice Company kindly offered to send me a sample of their speculaas spice mix I typed, ‘yes please’ as fast as my biscuit-loving hands could manage!  Opening the sachet released a heavenly waft of warming spices and I sat there sniffing, turning away to let the smell disappear, and then turning back and inhaling again.  I would have carried on doing this a lot longer had I not become aware of Mr CC watching me with a puzzled expression.







There seems to be a wide variety of speculaas biscuit recipes out there; I did some window shopping and then chose which elements to include in my version.  I opted for ground almonds and orange zest because I planned to make the thicker, more gingerbread-like textured biscuit and both ingredients released oils that would stop the dough from being too dry or bready.  The orange was the first flavor to hit followed by the warming spices; I particularly liked the texture of these biscuits as they were light and crisp.  Here they are ready for the oven:






Freshly baked:







I love this photo – you can see the dark flecks of spice in the biscuit:







The smell of these baking was the smell of Christmas!  I was tempted to break out my Michael Buble Christmas CD until I remembered it was June and I didn’t need to give Mr CC any more reasons to doubt my sanity. (As a side note, I suspect the mere fact that I own Michael Buble CDs is enough to make Mr CC doubt my sanity…let’s just say he’s not a fan! Of Mr Buble, that is.  I know he likes me!)








Ingredients

For the biscuit dough:
250g self raising flour
125g soft brown sugar
3 teaspoons speculaas spice mix
50g ground almonds
1 orange – zest only
100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk


For the glaze:
1 egg white, beaten
3 teaspoons soft brown sugar
Handful of flaked almonds 



Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C/ fan oven 160°C/350°F/ gas mark 4


Line two baking sheets with baking paper or non stick foil.


Place all the biscuit dough ingredients in a mixer or food processor and blitz together until you have a ball of dough. 


Shape into a fat disc and wrap in clingfilm.


Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.


Roll the dough out between two sheets of clingfilm – this stops you needing to add extra flour to the dough.  Aim for just under 0.5cm thickness. 


Using the cutter of your choice cut your biscuits out and place on the baking sheet – they spread a little but not much.  I used a 7cm round cutter and got 22 biscuits.


Reroll the dough to ensure it is all used – it rerolls very well so you should be able to use every last scrap.


Brush with the egg white and then sprinkle on the soft brown sugar.

Arrange the flaked almonds on the top of each biscuit.

Bake for approximately 14 – 18 minutes or until the biscuits are turning brown.  I like to rotate my baking sheets halfway through the cooking time to encourage even browning.


Leave to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before removing and placing on a wire rack to cool completely.


Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.



Eat.

16 comments:

Izzy said...

These look delicious, I love speculaas biscuits! Have you tried the sandwich spread which is flavoured like these biscuits?

Jo said...

These look fantastic. Speculaas is a flavour I've always wanted to try out.

Baking Addict said...

These look really good especially the cross section photo. Love Michael Buble too :)

Kate@whatkatebaked said...

These are such pretty biscuits and look at them all huddled together in the biscuit tin beseeching 'EATTTTTT US!' (And you thought you were getting funny looks- I think biscuits have voices!)

Lucy said...

If something is this delicious it definitely shouldn't be confined to Christmas. They look very moreish!

Kate Glutenfreealchemist said...

I have never tried speculaas biscuits, but they sound delicious. Yours look beautifully crisp and very tempting.

snowy said...

I brought some of the speculaas spread back from France, so 2 of these great looking biscuits sandwiched with the spread - heaven!

Cakelaw said...

I lurv speculaas - and thrse look so good!

Sharrieboberry said...

I can ALMOST smell them. Yum!

That's funny about Michael Buble. My husband IS a fan - he just doesn't want me to tell anyone!

Maggie said...

I love Christmas spices all year long - great biscuits.

Sofia Hendrikx Plompen said...

In Belgium we eat them all year round. They usually accompany any hot beverage. And it's tradition to give speculaas figurines to children at Sinterklaas (6 December)

Kim said...

I do the sniff/turn/sniff again thing whenever I open a jar of Marmite! But that probably doesn't look/taste as good as those spices do in a biscuit I reckon. Definitely don't think there's anything wrong with those bad boys all year long!

Chocolate Shavings said...

I love these spiced cookies are yours look just delicious!

Stuart Vettese said...

Speculaas rocks! I made nanaimo bars with mine and they were delicious. Your biscuits look very nice!

Choclette said...

Love speculaas biscuits and your additions make them sound even more special. I made a cake with my spice, but biscuits will be coming.

Steven Dotsch said...

Hi

Why don't you order the vandotsch speculaas spice 'refill' pack at www.speculaasspice.co.uk and experiment yourself or follow any of the recipes at www.speculaas.co.uk all made by fellow vandotsch speculaas spice fans.

Thanks

Steven Dotsch
The Speculaas Spice Master Chef
The Speculaas Spice Company Ltd
http://www.speculaasspice.co.uk/
https://twitter.com/vanDotschSpices