Christmas is approaching closer. This year the 2nd Sunday of Advent and St. Nicholas Day fell on the same day which called for appropriate celebrations. As a kid we would put out our shoes on the eve of the 5th and go to bed with anticipation and excitement hitting the ceiling. The next morning we would find them brimful with cookies and sweets and tangerines. And they always contained speculatius cookies.
Growing up in Belgium, Speculaas was part of my Christmas season palate. I remember that during christmas season, you would even get a speculaas with every purchase at the supermarket.
And you know how formative these early childhood years are - so you can imagine my excitement when I came across an old wooden speculatius mould on the flea market. Before thinking about how to even use this kind of mould I had already bought it and started collecting speculatius recipes off the web. After a couple of attempts I finally composed a recipe which dignifies my childhood memories and yet doesn't contain massive amounts of sugar.
- 90g coconut oil
- 80g coconut blossom sugar
- 2 tsp speculatius spice*
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- generous pinch of freshly ground black pepper
- 150g spelt flour
- 1 tbsp arrowroot powder
- 0.5 tsp baking powder
- 2 pinch of salt
- 4 tbsp oat milk
* You can easily make this yourself: mix together 2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground cloves, 1 tsp orange peel, 1/2 tsp allspice, 1/4 tsp anise seeds, 1/8 tsp mace and 1/4 tsp cardamom (you don't need to be too accurate about the amounts, my spice mix always turns out a little different every year. Just adjust to your own taste and liking)
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Melt the coconut oil and mix with the sugar and spices.
2. In a big bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients.
3. With your hands, work together the coconut oil-sugar mix with the dry ingredients. The texture will be a little bit crumbly at this point.
4. In order to make a soft dough, add the oat milk, 1 tbsp at a time. The dough shouldn't get sticky (if it does just add a little bit of flour again).
5. Wrap the dough in cling foil and rest in the fridge for about 1 hour. Cause of the coconut oil the dough will be quite firm. Take out and wait 15 minutes before proceeding.
6. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough (5mm thin) and cut out your cookies. For this you can use cookie cutters or even simply a knife or if you by any chance get a hold of an old speculatius mould, use that! I have worked out a system by which I roll the dough onto the mould, peel it off and cut off any surplus dough. But to be honest I don't know whether that's the most effective way of doing it.
7. Place the cookies on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for 10 minutes. Let them rest on a cooling rack for 1-2 hours and store in an airtight container.
These cookies make a wonderful gift to your friends and loved ones for christmas - if you can refrain from eating them all up yourself.