Vegan, Gluten-free, Vegetarian, Nut-free and Dairy free
What are speculaas (or speculoos)? Well these lovely spiced biscuits hail from the Netherlands, Belgium or certain parts of Germany, traditionally at Christmas.
Speckled with warming spices such as cinnamon, mixed spice and nutmeg and are stamped or moulded before baking. You can do that with whatever Christmas pattern you fancy. Originally this would be St Nicholas or in a windmill shape.
Is there any difference between speculaas or speculoos?
To the Dutch they are speculaas, these contain more than one spice. To Belgians, they are called speculoos and these contain mainly a single spice.
To me they are a cross between shortbread and Gingerbread
They are a perfect biscuit to be served with your coffee. If you have not heard of them by their traditional name you would have certainly heard of them in the U.K. by their commercial name Biscoff by Lotus biscuits. The little pack of biscuits that are quite often served at cafes and hotels.
This is my take on the speculaas biscuit and I hope you love them as much as my family do.
What equipment do I need?
To be honest you do not need any equipment. I mainly stamped mine for the photographs. Plain they still taste utterly delicious. For the wow factor the embossed rolling pins are great for a great number of things.
Can I freeze these?
You can freeze these either baked or raw dough. If freezing the raw dough, wrap it in cling film and freeze it for up to 3 months. You can also freeze the cooled-down baked biscuits for up to 3 months when in an airtight container or freezer bag.
The sugar used in speculaas recipes is either Soft brown sugar or the darker variety, both have a stronger deeper flavour as opposed to white sugar. The soft brown sugars also pair well with the spices used.
There is a combination of spices that are traditionally used and also a pre mix spices can also be found in the Netherlands. Now I think it is a matter of personal choice. I use cinnamon, nutmeg, mixed spice and ginger.
For this recipe it is best to use a block dairy-free butter such as Flora. The soft spread would melt too quickly.
These are a few stamps that I have used. I purchased mine from Amazon.
Making the Dough
- In a large bowl add the flour, baking powder, xanthan gum, ground almonds, sugar, spices and orange zest and mix to combine.
- Add in the chopped butter and using a wooden spoon, press the butter into the dry ingredients until you have large lumps.
- Then add 1 tbsp of the milk at a time to the mixture. Mixing well until a soft dough is formed.
- The dough needs to be rested in the fridge for the flavours to develop. Ideally, this should be a couple of hours if you have the time, if not then at least 30 minutes.
- Once they have been resting it then depends on whether you want to bake them plain or whether you wish to stamp them with a pattern using an embossed rolling pin or a stamp (as above). If you do want them decorated you will have to freeze or refrigerate them before baking. This is to ensure the pattern is still visible once baked.
- Roll the dough out to approximately 4-3mm using a plain rolling pin (I roll out half the dough at a time). Use the tapioca flour or cornflour to stop the dough from sticking to your rolling pin and board. This only needs to be a sprinkling as too much will change the consistency of your dough.
- Once rolled into a rectangle it is time to apply the pattern. If you are using an embossed pin, then roll it across the surface of the dough. Do this by holding the handles to apply the same amount of pressure without stopping at all. Then cut out your biscuits in your chosen shape and place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
- If you are using a stamp then just use a plain rolling pin as above and then stamp over the dough, leaving some spaces between the patterns. Then once again cut and place them onto baking trays 2 cm apart,
- Place the trays ideally in the freezer if you have room for 15 minutes or in the fridge for 30 minutes. This will also stop the cookies from spreading.
- While they are resting preheat the oven to 180C/350F
- Once frozen or rested in the fridge, place a tray at a time on the middle oven shelf and bake for 20 until they are a beautiful golden colour. Cool them on the tray for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Store in an airtight glass or tin container for up to 12 days.
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If you decide to give this recipe a try, please don’t forget to tag me on Twitter as @veganalchemist1 or my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/thegfveganalchemist I love seeing your versions of the recipes. I would love to hear your comments too. Feedback is so important.