Today, I present to you Spekulatius biscuits. You have surely eaten them before. They are those biscuits you find in the European food section at the supermarket, packed in a 450-500g packet featuring pretty village scenes on the front. The biscuits themselves are darker than those in the photo above and are in the shape of windmills, houses or other nouns. Spekulatius (or Speculaas in Dutch) are a Dutch biscuit traditionally prepared for St Nicholas Day.
I cannot tell you much about the Dutch St Nicholas Day, but in Germany it is celebrated on December 6. On the night of December 5 children place their shoes outside their bedroom or outside the house door. On the morning of December 6, the children will wake to find some lollies, chocolate and perhaps socks in their shoes. However, both times I was in Germany, I received my gifts in a Santa style bag and we did not bother with the shoes.
My St Nicholas Day bag, full of yummy things:)
All the yummy things inside the bag; chocolates, soap and socks
Obligatory photo of snow. Can you see the panda on the shed roof?;)
The most beautiful thing about snow, is when sunshine is involved
Now onto the recipe:)
Spekulatius - Dutch spice biscuits, German style
This recipe is taken from Backen die Neue Grosse Schule by Arnold Zabert, page 90. I halved the recipe and substituted almond meal for the recommended hazelnut meal.
Please note, to make these traditionally you need a wooden mould. I do not own a wooden mould, so I formed by biscuits by using a teddy bear shaped biscuit cutter.
This recipe makes around 20 teddy bear shaped biscuits which will keep for around a week in an air tight container.
What you need
- 250g plain flour
- 100g brown sugar
- A few pinches of ground cloves and cardomon (The book says 'Messerspitze' as the measurement which translates to 'knife point', so a little bit)
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 egg
- 100g butter, softened and chopped into little cubes
- 50g almond meal
What you need to do
- Place flour, almond meal and spices in a bowl, combine and form a well in the middle.
- Place the sugar and egg into the well.
- Place the butter around the sides of the flour.
- Using a spoon, chop up all the ingreidents in the bowl together in order to combine them.
- Once the ingredients are combining, you can use your hands to form a dough.
- When a dough has been formed, form it into a sphere shape, wrap it in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for an hour to cool.
- Take out the dough from the fridge, preheat the oven to 200 degrees and line a baking tray with baking paper.
- On a floured surface, roll out the dough until half a centimetre thick.
- Using a biscuit cutter, cut out shapes and place onto a lined baking tray.
- Bake in the oven for fifteen minutes.
If you are expecting the shop style Spakulatius biscuits you will be disappointed as these biscuits taste more like spiced shortbread. However, there is nothing wrong with spiced shortbread. I found them to be very enjoyable. Next time I would add more spices to the dough as the spices were not as strong as I wanted them to be. More spices = more gemuetlich (cosy) :) The cosier you are, the warmer and happier you are.
I was quite mean to the teddy bears, eating one leg at a time, then their arms, then their heads and then their bodies. Although, I must say the biscuit cutter was also unkind to the teddies as it had the tendancy to cut their heads off!