fb-pixel Skip to main content

Recipe: Speculaas, thin, crisp Dutch spice cookies, are close cousins of Biscoff

Dutch Spice Cookies (Speculaas).Karoline Boehm Goodnick

Makes about 3 1/2 dozen

Thin and crisp spice cookies, some called speculaas or speculoos, are ubiquitous at the holidays in many northern European countries, including the Netherlands. They're close cousins of the popular Biscoff cookie. While a windmill shape is one of the most familiar designs, the cookies don't require fancy molds. Use any cutter that measures about 2- to 3-inches. Try a fluted, diamond-shaped cutter, if you have one, or cut the rolled-out dough with a fluted pastry or ravioli cutter wheel to make squares or rectangles.

cups flour
½teaspoon baking powder
¼teaspoon salt
teaspoons ground cinnamon
½teaspoon ground ginger
¼teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼teaspoon ground allspice
½cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1cup packed dark brown sugar
1 egg
1teaspoon vanilla extract
1teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
Extra flour (for sprinkling)
1 egg white, whisked until frothy with 2 teaspoons water (for the glaze)
cup sliced almonds

1. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice until blended.

2. In an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Beat in the egg, then the vanilla and lemon rind. With the mixer set on low speed, beat in the flour mixture until thoroughly combined and the dough starts to clump together.

3. Tip the dough out onto a counter. With your hands, gather the dough into a ball, then divide it in half. Shape each half into a flat disk and wrap them separately in foil. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

4. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

5. Lightly flour a clean counter. Working with 1 disk at a time, roll out the dough so it is 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick. Sprinkle the dough with a little flour if it sticks to the rolling pin. If the dough cracks, press it together; it will soften as you roll it. Stamp out cookies with the cookie cutter or cut cookies with the ravioli wheel. Use a thin metal spatula to transfer them to the baking sheets, setting them about 1 1/2 inches apart. Reshape and reroll the scraps.

6. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the egg white mixture on the cookies. While it's still wet, lightly press a few almonds onto the center of each one.

7. Bake for 12 minutes, rotating the baking sheets from top to bottom and back to front halfway through baking, or until the cookies are slightly browned at the edges. Transfer the cookies directly onto wire racks to cool. They will crisp up as they cool. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Lisa Zwirn

Makes about 3 1/2 dozen

Thin and crisp spice cookies, some called speculaas or speculoos, are ubiquitous at the holidays in many northern European countries, including the Netherlands. They're close cousins of the popular Biscoff cookie. While a windmill shape is one of the most familiar designs, the cookies don't require fancy molds. Use any cutter that measures about 2- to 3-inches. Try a fluted, diamond-shaped cutter, if you have one, or cut the rolled-out dough with a fluted pastry or ravioli cutter wheel to make squares or rectangles.

cups flour
½teaspoon baking powder
¼teaspoon salt
teaspoons ground cinnamon
½teaspoon ground ginger
¼teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼teaspoon ground allspice
½cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1cup packed dark brown sugar
1 egg
1teaspoon vanilla extract
1teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
Extra flour (for sprinkling)
1 egg white, whisked until frothy with 2 teaspoons water (for the glaze)
cup sliced almonds

1. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice until blended.

2. In an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Beat in the egg, then the vanilla and lemon rind. With the mixer set on low speed, beat in the flour mixture until thoroughly combined and the dough starts to clump together.

3. Tip the dough out onto a counter. With your hands, gather the dough into a ball, then divide it in half. Shape each half into a flat disk and wrap them separately in foil. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

4. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

5. Lightly flour a clean counter. Working with 1 disk at a time, roll out the dough so it is 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick. Sprinkle the dough with a little flour if it sticks to the rolling pin. If the dough cracks, press it together; it will soften as you roll it. Stamp out cookies with the cookie cutter or cut cookies with the ravioli wheel. Use a thin metal spatula to transfer them to the baking sheets, setting them about 1 1/2 inches apart. Reshape and reroll the scraps.

6. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the egg white mixture on the cookies. While it's still wet, lightly press a few almonds onto the center of each one.

7. Bake for 12 minutes, rotating the baking sheets from top to bottom and back to front halfway through baking, or until the cookies are slightly browned at the edges. Transfer the cookies directly onto wire racks to cool. They will crisp up as they cool. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.Lisa Zwirn


Lisa Zwirn can be reached at lisa@lisazwirn.com