( MAKES 30 )
Historically these Dutch/Belgian biscuits were baked to enjoy around the feast of St Nicholas (December 5 or 6). The dough would be pressed into wooden moulds that were carved to depict a trend or popular belief. Today the moulds are likely to be made of plastic or not used at all. Simply cut the biscuits into shapes. If you do have moulds, get them out for the kids to use. Rice flour is best for dusting wooden ones.
For the cookies
|2 cups||Flour, lightly packed|
|1½ Tbsp||Spice mix, see recipe below|
|½ tsp||Baking soda|
|125 g||Butter, softened, unsalted is delicious here|
|½ cup||Soft brown sugar, firmly packed, this can be replaced with muscovado sugar|
For the spice mix
- First make the spice mix: combine all ingredients and store in an airtight jar.
- For the speculaas, sift the flour and spice together. Dissolve the soda in the milk. In a mixing bowl beat together the soda and milk, butter and brown sugar until well blended. There is no requirement to beat this mixture until it becomes light and fluffy. Work in the sifted dry ingredients.
- Turn the dough on to a bench and knead lightly to form a smooth ball of dough. Use the heel of your hand to flatten to a thick disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours or overnight.
- Heat the oven to 170C. Lightly grease baking trays. On a lightly floured bench, roll the dough out to 3mm thickness, cut into shapes and place on the prepared tray. Re-roll the dough as required.
- Bake for around 15 minutes or until the biscuits are golden, especially around the edge. Transfer to a cake rack to cool. Store in an airtight container.
- If using moulds, sprinkle a little rice flour in the moulds. Press dough — the amount depends on the size of the mould — into the mould. Cut away any excess. Tap the mould gently: the shaped biscuit should just come free and place on the tray. This is not as easy as it sounds, so patience is required.
Use these speculaas in Allyson's stuffed apple crumbles