Speculaas cookies are dutch in origin and traditionally baked for St Nicholas’ day at the beginning of December. All I know is every time I order a coffee at our local café, they give me one of these on the side.
You may not know the name but I’m sure you know the biscuit – have you heard of Windmill Cookies and Biscoff Cookies? These are brand names of Speculoos cookies you may know.
Deep bold flavours, like dark brown sugar, ginger, cloves, allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg are combined and baked into a thin, crunchy cookie. While they are different to gingerbread cookies in texture, the flavours are similar and they make a gorgeous Christmas cookies.
Speculaas cookies are traditionally printed with a picture of St Nicholas but I didn’t have that. What I did have is this gorgeous folk embossed wooden rolling pin that I had been dying to use and I think it looks quite pretty. There are a million designs out there. You can find them on Etsy or Amazon and they’re just really nice for adding a unique extra dimension to cookies or pie crusts.
I decided to add jam to my speculaas cookies and join them together … just ‘cause. I can tell you they are wonderful. Rich flavours, a jewel in the centre and Christmas through and through.
How to make them step by step
Just like many cookie recipes, these start by creaming together butter and sugar. The dry ingredients, including the spices all get mixed in. I find a stand mixer easiest for cookie doughs as they can be quite thick but you can certainly do it by hand too, just with a wooden spoon or even with your hands once you’ve added the dry ingredients.
Once the dough is clumping together, pull it all together and let it sit in the fridge overnight. This step will help those spices to permeate through the whole dough and increase the flavour. The next day, roll it out to about 5mm thick on a floured surface. Now roll over it again but this time with the folk embossed wooden rolling pin. Make sure you dust your rolling pin with just a little flour too so that it doesn’t stick to the dough.
Now the speculaas dough should be only about 3mm thick. Dust it off with a pastry brush then cut out whatever shapes you desire and bake to crispy perfection.
Speculaas cookies are most often rectangular but it’s your cookie dough so you make what you like. The rolling pin I used also isn’t the typical pattern but, you guessed it, my cookie dough and that’s how I roll. Haha.
Now fill them
Once they’re baked they are the most lovely gingery spiced cookies, crunchy throughout and perfect with a cuppa. There is a strong spice hit from these cookies and that’s exactly as they should be. Spicy, crunchy and super buttery.
I fill them with strawberry jam made by my mum and it just goes together beautifully. Just a word of warning though, once the jam is added they will lose their crunch much more quickly as the moisture in the jam will be absorbed in very small amounts into the cookie. Don’t worry, they still taste divine.
While these can be made ahead, these are best on the day as they may lose their crunch over time. As these cookies have jam inside, the moisture from the jam will contribute to them losing their crunch quicker but they’re still delicious soft.
These should be cooled completely before storing in an airtight container. Keeping a small dish of baking soda in the container can also help to keep them crisp for longer as it will absorb moisture.
If you’re still looking for Christmas cookie ideas, here’s one cookie you can’t skip. Spuculaas cookies, with their bold flavour and pretty design are a very special cookie idea indeed?
More cookies you’ll love
- Ginger Shortbread
- Gingerbread Snowball Cookies
- Orange Pistachio Shorbread
- Soft Chewy Ginger Cookies
- Florentines Biscuits
Jam Filled Speculaas Cookies
- 260 g plain (all purp) flour (2 cups / 9.1oz)
- ½ teaspoon baking soda (bicarb) soda
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 170 g unsalted butter, softened (1 ½ sticks / ¾ cup)
- 2/3 cup dark brown sugar (135g / 4.8oz)
- 1 tablespoon milk (notes)
- 2 tablespoons strawberry jam (notes)
- Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / 160C fan forced. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
- Mix together the flour, soda, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves and salt and whisk until everything is well incorporated.
- Beat the butter and sugar together in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment until light and creamy. Add the flour mix in three parts, beating until it just comes together adding the milk with the final portion of flour.
- Bring the dough together into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight.
- Take the dough out of the fridge 15-20 minutes prior to rolling so that it softens slightly. Lightly flour a clean surface and a rolling pin and roll the dough out to about 5mm thick. Now lightly flour a folk embossed rolling pin and roll over the dough one more time. It should be about 3mm thick now.
- Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Then cut a smaller shape out of half of them. Use an offset spatula to help you lift them onto the baking trays. Sit them at least an inch apart so the heat can flow around them. Bake for 12 minutes, turning halfway through.
- Let the cookies cool on the trays for 3 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
- Once completely cooled, top each of the whole cookies with around 1/2 teaspoon of strawberry jam, then top it with one of the cookies with the cutout in the centre.
- I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (=4 teaspoons worldwide)
- All ovens vary, check for doneness 1-2 minutes before the recipe suggests.
- For best results, always weight ingredients where weights are given as the first measurement.
- You can cut out and bake the cookies as soon as the dough is made but if you leave it overnight the flavour will be even better.
- Once filled, the cookies will soften but still taste delicious and hold their shape.
- If you'd like to keep these as crisp cookies with no filling, store them in an airtight container with a small dish of baking soda. Store them in the fridge.
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