From love hearts to windmills if you’ve ever eaten thinly cut, spiced biscuits in these shapes then you’ve probably been eating Speculaas. This shortcrust biscuit was traditionally baked for eating on or just before St Nicholas’ Feast in the Netherlands, Belgium and at Christmas in Germany. These days the biscuits are available all-year-round.
Steven Dotsch has set up The Speculaas Spice Company Ltd
an online business and food market business which celebrates the biscuit and in particular the traditional mix of spices needed for the Speculaas biscuit. The spice recipe was passed down to him from a Grandmother he never met. The Vandotsch Spice Mix is a secret recipe and can be used in any sweet dish that calls for cinnamon. Steven’s spice mix has 55% of high-grade ground cinnamon from Sri Lanka. You can also use the spice mix in savoury dishes, think tagines, short ribs or a rich Bolognese sauce.
I had everything I needed to get going and as Mum was staying I put her to work and so she mixed the ingredients in the Kitchen Aid.
Speculaas Biscuit Recipe – Makes around 20 biscuits
250 grams plain flour
175g unsalted butter
1tsp baking soda
A pinch of salt
150g soft brown sugar
5tsp Vandotsch Speculaas Spice Mix
Put the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and spices in a bowl. Cut the butter in small pieces and put into food processor (or bowl).
It will whizz up and come together to form a dough. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. If you can keep your mitts off it’s better if you can leave it for a week, kept in cling wrap. You can also freeze the dough for later use.
Take out of the fridge and allow it to get to room temperature.
Pre-heat the oven to 150°C.
Roll out on a floured surface to about 2.5mm thick, and cut out your shapes.
Steven also sent a traditional male and female mould to use with the dough mix. All new wooden moulds need to be oiled and whilst I followed the instructions, I couldn’t get a perfect shape with total detailing. As a first attempt they weren’t bad.
Put your shapes onto a well-greased tray or silicone mat and bake for 15 minutes.
I also did some Christmas cookie shapes with a Lakeland cutter.
The biscuits were crisp and had the right amount of spice, the benefit of using the Vandotsch Spice Mix means your biscuits aren’t too strongly flavoured with one spice over another.
For more recipes, and to order the spice mix and other Speculaas paraphernalia, visit the Speculaas
The spice mix and moulds were sent to me by Steven to review.