Dutch speculaas are thin, crisp cookies flavored much like German pfeffernüsse. They’re typically baked for St. Nicholas’ Day on December 5th or 6th and are, traditionally, stamped with images from the life of St. Nicholas on the front.
It turns out that I really like traditional Christmas cookies from this part of Europe, with their strong spices and unique textures!
I didn’t want to invest in a speculaas stamp at this time, so I made mine with a more modern flare — rolling them out flat and pressing blanched almonds in their corners before baking.
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/2 blanched almonds
In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, combine the spices, flours and baking powder. Mix well.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and mix well. Add milk and mix until smooth.
Divide the dough in half and form two discs. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or more.
When ready, preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Remove one disc from the fridge and roll out to 1/8″ to 1/4″ thick.
Cut into shapes and press almonds on the surface.
Transfer to a cookie sheet or stone and bake for 15-18 minutes until they’re dry and beginning to brown.
Let cool for 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.
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