Okay. So I’m taking a small detour in my dessert travelogue around the world to talk about a cookie. This isn’t just any cookie. It’s Europe’s most famous cookie…Lotus brand Speculoos cookies. I see them everywhere. Different languages, but the same brand, same cookie. Every cafe has them, every household has them, heck people carry them in their bags and purses in mass quantities. They even sell them ground into a paste and use it as peanut butter.
So what are these cookies? Originating from Belgium (or the Netherlands depending on who you talk to), speculoos are a shortcrust Christmas cookie that are consumed year round. It is a warm spicy cookie reminiscent of a graham cracker with more of a kick. Spices often include cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, ginger or cardamom and white pepper. For the holidays, speculoos cookies are often stamped with images of the Christmas season.
Given the popularity of these cookies, I didn’t think it would be a problem to find a proper recipe. I contacted friends from both Belgium and the Netherlands and each had their own very distinct recipe. It’s all a matter of taste. However, the general techniques remained the same. So i tinkered around with a couple of the recipes, adjusted the spices and came up with a recipe that I thought most closely resembled the packaged Speculoos cookie that seem to have followed me through Europe.
224 g all purpose flour
220g dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tbsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp clove
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp salt
142g butter, cool
1 egg, beaten
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Mix all dry ingredients
3. Cut in butter using fingertips or a pastry cutter
4. Add in egg to bind
5. Cover and chill for one hour
6. Roll out dough to 1/4″ thick. Cut out shapes and stamp if you are making decorative cookies
7. Sprinkle with coarse sugar
8. Bake for 15 min or until cookies are set