Transport your taste buds to the Netherlands with the delectable taste of our Dutch Speculaas Cookies recipe. These spiced delights are a beloved holiday tradition, boasting warm flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Their iconic windmill shape and crunchy texture make them an irresistible treat to enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee. Experience the charm and warmth of Dutch culture with each bite of these delightful Speculaas Cookies that are sure to fill your heart with holiday joy!
A Tale of a Pretty Boat Ride and a Serious Sneeze
I recall a Christmas Eve in Amsterdam that certainly stands out. If you’ve ever been to Amsterdam you will know how pretty it is. Beautiful canals and bridges bob and weave their way through the city. There are so many magical little corners to explore, it’s really a treat.
So, as I was saying, one Christmas Eve, I had just arrived in Amsterdam and decided to give my reindeer a little rest. I set them up on top of the Rijksmuseum so that they could enjoy the view then, I hopped down the building and found my way to the nearest canal. I saw a sign saying “Luxury boat cruise along the canal”, what a dreamy activity I thought and I bought myself a ticket.
I was welcomed onto the boat as “Sinterklass”, this is what the Dutch call me. As I took my seat, the cruise began. I was handed a cup of hot cocoa and a most delicious-smelling little brown cookie. My oh my, I could smell the spices before I even tasted them. Coriander, ginger, cinnamon, and clove. Nutmeg and…”Achoo”! I sneezed so loudly that the boat moved ahead causing a little wave through the canal. What was that I’d sniffed? It was white pepper! What a zingy little cookie that was and I must say, I really enjoy it.
I’ll never forget that little boat cruise through Amsterdam, sipping on hot cocoa and nibbling on a speculaas cookie. What a lovely way to take in the pretty festive season lights display in the city.
Ingredients for Dutch Speculaas Cookies
240g / 2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
3 TBS Speculaas spice mix
160g / ¾ cup light brown sugar
113g / ½ cup butter, room temperature
2 TBS milk
½ tsp orange zest
Sliced almonds, optional
Steps to making Dutch Speculaas Cookies
Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.
Combine the all-purpose flour, baking soda, salt, and Speculaas spice mix in a bowl.
Cream together the butter and the sugar until fluffy in the bowl of a stand mixer. You can make this dough without a mixer, it will just take a bit more time.
Slowly add in the flour and mix in the ingredients together. They should resemble beach sand.
Mix in the orange zest.
Add 1 tablespoon of milk and mix. Add in the second tablespoon of milk and then mix slowly until a dough forms.
Wrap the dough in a cloth or in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for about an hour or longer.
Roll out the dough onto a floured surface to about 1/8th inch / 3mm thick.
Cut the cookies out with your favorite cookie cutter or a speculaas mold and lay sliced almonds onto the dough to make a design.
Bake for about 12 minutes or until crispy on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Allow them to cool on a cooling rack before serving them.
Substitutions and Variations for the Dutch Speculaas Cookies Recipe
If you want to make a milder version of this cookie to start with, you can use a blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cardamon as a start. You can also add slightly less than the recipe calls for to lighten it up.
To make a dairy-free cookie recipe out of this speculaas recipe, substitute the butter for a good quality vegan butter or margarine. Use plant-based milk instead of cow’s milk.
For a slightly different citrus flavor, exchange orange zest for lemon.
Instead of sliced almonds you could add a little pistachio nut or break up walnuts or pecans to decorate the cookies. For the flour mixture, you can substitute some of the flour for almond flour.
Make a thicker, softer cookie by rolling them into balls and baking the balls instead of rolling the dough out first.
You can’t switch out the baking powder for baking soda in this recipe.
Use light brown and not dark brown sugar.
Storage and Shelf-life
Speculaas cookies will keep beautifully for 2-3 weeks. They should be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Traditionally, these cookies would be left alone for at least a week before eating. This step allows the spices and flavors to develop.
How To Serve and Eat Speculaas Spiced Cookies
It is highly advisable to bake these cookies just as guests are about to arrive. There is nothing more festive and cozy than the smell of spiced cookies being baked. As a nation, the Dutch are both tea and coffee drinkers so, offer your guests both to go alongside a lovely plate of speculaas cookies.
What are Dutch Speculaas Cookies?
Speculaas cookies are a traditional Christmas cookie of the Netherlands and are often stamped with traditional images, like the figure of Santa! They are quite popular in other countries close by, like Belgium and certain areas in Germany.
The cookies are light and crisp in texture and are deeply flavored with spices.
The Health Benefits of the Spices in this Speculaas Recipe
Cinnamon is a powerful antioxidant. This spice relieves inflammation and helps maintain a good blood sugar balance.
Nutmeg functions as a natural pain reliever, aids in digestion, and strengthens the immune system.
Cloves may reduce stomach ulcers and are anti-bacterial.
Aniseed supports the liver and healthy bones. Improves liver and bone health. Aniseed also fights infection in the body.
White pepper reduces pain, inflammation, and swelling. It is sometimes used to treat arthritis.
Coriander has wonderful benefits for the heart, brain, and skin. This spice and herb also aids in good digestion.
Ginger helps with nausea, digestion, and the health and wellness of the skin.
Cardamon helps with digestive problems and treats infections. This spice is also used as an anti-inflammatory treatment.
Mace is often used to ease or relieve stomach and digestive pain.
Wrapping It Up
And so, with this wonderful Dutch Speculaas Cookie Recipe under your belt, I hope that you will head straight to the kitchen to make up a batch. Oooooh, I just love the spicy fragrance of these cookies, they really do give my lips a little sizzle and my nose a little tickle.
Make up a parcel of speculaas cookies to drop off with someone you think might need a little cheering up. Or, just as a way to show someone you care about them.
Serve them on a plate with some Dutch windmill cookies!
Dutch Speculaas Cookies Recipe
- 240 g all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 3 tbsp Speculaas spice mix
- 160 g brown sugar
- 113 g butter room temperature
- 2 tbsp milk
- ½ tsp orange zest
- sliced almonds optional
Speculaas Spice Mix
- 3 ⅓ tbsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- ¼ tsp aniseed
- ¼ tsp white pepper
- ¼ tsp ground coriander seed
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp ground cardamom
- ¼ tsp ground mace
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F.
- Combine the all-purpose flour, baking soda, salt, and Speculaas spice mix in a bowl.240 g all-purpose flour, 1 tsp baking soda, ¼ tsp salt, 3 tbsp Speculaas spice mix
- Cream together the butter and the sugar until fluffy in the bowl of a stand mixer. You can make this dough without a mixer; it will just take a bit more time.160 g brown sugar, 113 g butter
- Slowly add in the flour and mix the ingredients together. They should resemble beach sand
- Mix in the orange zest.½ tsp orange zest
- Add 1 tablespoon of milk and mix. Add the second tablespoon of milk and then mix slowly until a dough forms.2 tbsp milk
- Wrap the dough in a cloth or in plastic and chill in the refrigerator for about an hour or longer.
- Rollout the dough onto a floured surface to about 1/8th inch / 3mm thick
- Cut the cookies out with your favorite cookie cutters and lay sliced almonds onto the dough to make a design.sliced almonds
- Bake for about 12 minutes or until crispy.
- Allow them to cool on a cooling rack before serving them.
Speculaas Spice Mix
- Mix all spices together in a bowl.3 ⅓ tbsp cinnamon, ½ tsp ground nutmeg, ½ tsp ground cloves, ¼ tsp aniseed, ¼ tsp white pepper, ¼ tsp ground coriander seed, ¼ tsp ground ginger, ¼ tsp ground cardamom, ¼ tsp ground mace
- This makes about 3 TBSP of Speculaas Spice Mix. Just the right amount for this recipe.