Also spelled speculoos, these spiced cookies are associated with December holidays in the Netherlands and Belgium. The wide assortment of spices used became available in the Netherlands in the 1600s and are a testament to the country’s historical position atop the international spice trade. Flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cardamom, and white pepper, many know the treat as “windmill cookies.” Speculaas cookies are stamped on one side with decorative shapes including windmills, farmhouses, animals, and other figures. If using a speculaas mold, force the dough into the floured mold, press flat, and then tap to release the formed cookies before baking.
Recipe Servings: 14
+ 1 hour resting
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup ground almonds
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- ½ tsp lemon zest
- ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ¾ cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 28 whole almonds or slivered almonds
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour with ground almonds, baking powder, salt, ground spices, and lemon zest.
- In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or a hand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until the texture becomes light and fluffy.
- Beat in the egg.
- Add the flour mixture and beat until thoroughly combined.
- Turn out the batter and refrigerate, covered, for at least 60 minutes or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment.
- Form the chilled dough into 1-inch balls and space about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheets.
- Using the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar, or a cookie cutter, flatten each into a 2-inch round about ¼-inch thick. Place a whole almond in the center of each cookie, or sprinkle with slivered almonds.
- Bake on the middle rack for about 10 minutes, until the cookies are lightly browned around the edges.
- Cool on a wire rack.
- Serve while fresh, or store in an airtight container.
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