Speculaas

When my three sisters and I were kids, our mother would occasionally buy packages of Dutch windmill cookies. They were not my favorite cookies. My favorite were homemade chocolate chip. However I do remember enjoying the novelty of these hard, crunchy spice cookies.

It was kind of fun to read this recipe for Speculaas, or Belgian Spice cookies, in The Joy of Cookies and realize they were basically the same cookie as those packaged tooth-chippers. Spiced with fresh lemon zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, ginger and white pepper, these are a kind of shortbread with egg and ground almonds. I don’t have a Speculaas mold which are traditionally shaped like windmills or Sinterklaas, so I used my Springerle pin for some and my new sheep and moose cookie cutters for the rest.

My brief internet research tells me that Speculaas are a treat at St. Nicholas day celebrations in the Netherlands, Belgium and parts of France and Germany in early December. According to Sharon Tyler Herbst, Speculaas means mirror, and the cookies are so named because they mirror the mold that shapes them. Alternatively, according to Google translator Speculaas means biscuit. Either way? Yum!

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About pattiblaine

Raised under the name of Snyder in the upstate NY town of Vestal, I've worked as a typesetter, a fast food salad bar tender, an art reviewer, a waitress, a part-time nanny, and a very-bad-with-phones temp. Once upon a time I was all-but-thesis toward a Masters in Art History. Now I'm just a mom with a lot of fiber squirreled away throughout the house. We call it insulation. In 2013 I completed a life-long learning program at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, and am a postulant toward the diaconate in the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester, NY. In addition to coordinating volunteers for the soup kitchen, I volunteer as a tutor at a deeply impoverished city elementary school, and am a docent at the Memorial Art Gallery.
This entry was posted in Extracurricular, On the fly (aka from a mobile device), The Joy of Cookies and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Speculaas

  1. Sarah says:

    Love Speculaas cookies! Yummers.

  2. my favorite cookie–so much so, I still eat them on my diet.. (very few, and far between, but I couldn’t give them entirely! I suspect your home made ones are even more flavorful and spicy than my store bought ones!
    (i don’t like chocolate chips in my cookies.. I like the batter/dough for chocolate chip cookies.. sans the chips!)

  3. Fiona says:

    I did comment a few days ago but it wouldn’t let me post, hence I’m late to the party. Have you left me any??? Just my sort of cookie, and one to remember for next December – I have a lovely story to tell about a Dutch baker making St Nicholas cookies 🙂 I even have the right shaped cutter for them, but I do love your shoop & meese…….

    • pattiblaine says:

      I’d love to hear your lovely story! We do have some left. A box in the freezer and a handful of shoop and a few head- and leg-less meese in a box on the counter. The moose cutter makes a fragile and rather large cookie. I’ll admit not all their heads and legs broke off in the baking and packing… cause of injury? snacking.

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