Monday, 23 December 2013


I'm a little bit late with this post....
Speculaas are spiced biscuits eaten on the Feast of St Nicholas as part of Sintaklaas which is on the 5th December in the Netherlands.  They taste a bit like an extra spicy gingerbread and are very thin, light and crumbly.  They really evoke the taste of the festive season with the mix of spices made up of the holy trinity of Christmas; ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon and some less obvious elements like white pepper.

Real Speculaas should be cut into Christmas shapes but rounds taste just as good!  I think that if you are looking for something a little different to leave out for Santa then these should do the trick.
To give Santa a treat he won't forget you will need:

110g unsalted butter
160g caster sugar
170g plain flour
50g ground almonds
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground green cardamon
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
Flaked almonds and sugar for decoration

Pre-heat the oven to 180C.  Cream the butter and the sugar together in a large bowl to make a smooth paste.  In a separate bowl combine the flour, almonds, spices and a pinch of salt.  Add the flour mix to the butter and sugar, add the egg yolk and combine to a dough.  This takes some working and for a while it doesn't look like it will come together but just persevere with it - it will!  Form the dough into a ball and chill it in the fridge for 15 minutes.
Flour a surface and your rolling pin and roll the dough out to about 5mm thick.  It will crack so be gentle with it and just press splits back together.

Using a cookie cutter, cut out the biscuits and arrange on a greased baking tray.  Sprinkle flaked almonds over the top of each biscuit.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from the oven, sprinkle with a little sugar and allow to cool.  The biscuits will firm up and become crunchy as they cool.
Tomorrow there will be a post featuring the perfect drink to go alongside these little spicy biscuits and really warm Santa right down to his black snow boots:  Ciocolata Calda!

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