Speculaas Cookie Recipe

Another dreary winter day in Germany, so today I got up early to fill the home with warm and toasty aromas. Last night I pulled out my crumpled Speculaas cookie recipe and made the dough. It’s been chilling in the fridge overnight allowing the spicy flavors to infuse. Now onto baking and then eating them.

The Speculaas cookie recipe is simple and a fun activity for friends, family, or the kids. If you don’t have a Springerle mold to emboss a design onto your dough, use cookie cutters or make your own shapes using a sharp knife. Once the cookies start to bake your home will smell like the holidays—warm and wintry.

Speculaas Christmas cookies
Speculaas cookies and spiced tea.

Speculaas Cookie Recipe (Makes about 3 dozen cookies)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup (235 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (45 grams) finely ground almonds
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (160 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 large egg

Equipment

  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • Stand mixer (optional)
  • Rolling pin
  • Icing spatula
  • Springerle mold, cookie cutters or sharp knife
  • All-purpose flour for dusting

Directions: Using Cookie Cutters

  1. Line the baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, finely ground almonds, baking powder, spices, and salt. With an electric mixer or hand cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a large spatula and add the vanilla extract and egg and beating on medium speed until combined.
  4. Scrape down the sides again and add the flour and beat on medium speed until combined.
  5. Flatten the dough into a round and Split the cookie dough in half. Wrap the two halves in plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight (or at least an hour).
  6. Using a plain (flour dusted) rolling pin, roll the dough onto a floured surface until 1/4 inch (0.5 cm) thick. If dough is too hard (cold) to roll, let it rest for about 5 minutes.
  7. Use a cookie cutter to cut out the cookies and transfer to the lined baking sheet using an icing spatula. Roll the last amount of the dough it small balls and lightly flatten.
  8. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes (so cookies hold their shape while oven is preheating).
  9. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake the cookies in the oven for 8-10 minutes or golden brown on the edges.
  10. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before moving them to a wire rack.

Directions: Using a Springerle Mold

  1. Repeat steps 1-5 above.
  2. Using a plain (flour dusted) rolling pin, roll the dough onto a floured surface until 1/4 – 1/2 inch (0.5 – 2.4 cm) thick depending on the mold.
  3. Dust the Springerle mold with flour (be sure to brush away excess flour).
  4. Gently press an appropriate amount of dough into the mold, removing any excess dough from the back of the mold and then carefully remove it onto the baking sheet. Sometimes I use a toothpick to start the unmolding process.
  5. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake the cookies in the oven for 8-10 minutes or golden brown on the edges.
  7. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before moving them to a wire rack.

Enjoy the cookies!




Get to Know Springerle and Speculaas

The Dutch call them Speculaas. The French call them Spéculoos. The Germans call them Spekulatius. I call the spiced holiday cookies simply delicious.

No matter how you spell them or call them, you’ll find many families baking spiced biscuits near the Christmas season. In Holland on December 5th, just before the Saint Nicholas celebration, Dutch families are busy baking Speculaas. In parts of German-speaking Europe, the Alsace region of France, and parts of Switzerland, families are rolling out lots of Speculaas dough.

By Andreas Bauerle (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons
(c) Photo by Andreas Bauerle (Wikimedia Commons)
The main ingredients in Speculaas are the spices of winter–pepper, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamom, and nutmeg and when baked infuse the home with a warming wintry fragrance. The cookies are easy to make and if you use a mold, the impression forms a delicate looking cookie perfect for gift giving or enjoying with a cup of tea.

Springerle and Speculaas

Don’t get your Springerle mixed up with your Speculaas.

  • Springerle and Speculaas and are both cookie dough types.
  • Speculaas dough contains warm spices.
  • Springerle dough contains anise and when baked they seem to “spring up”.
  • The Springerle is not only a cookie, but a mold you can use to emboss designs on Springerle or Speculaas.

Once your Speculaas dough has been prepared, you can use a Springerle mold (press or a rolling pin) to emboss a design of choice on your cookie before baking.

Springerle History

Traditionally, the first Springerle mold designs were of horses and their riders. Hence the name “little jumper” or “little knight”. Many ancient molds have survived and can be found in museums such as the Musée des arts et traditions populaires Musée du Springerle in Alsace. The quaint folk art museum is devoted to the history of wooden molds and Christmas Springerle cookies. Now that sounds delicious.

At German Christmas markets you’ll find all types of Springerle impressions for sale from simple to intricate. The molds make lovely Christmas gifts that are functional for baking or can be used decoratively in your home. Keep in mind the more intricate the mold, the trickier they are to work with (at first).

After a bit of practice, you’ll have spicy Speculaas springing up all over the kitchen.