Speculaas is what I describe as Dutch gingerbread. It comes in a lot of shapes and textures. Store bought speculaas is a crisp cookie with an imprint of a windmill or characters in traditional Dutch outfits. For special occasions you can get extra-large cookies. Homemade speculaas is a softer cookie or square. I like it best when I cook it a little thicker so it has a softer texture.
I’ve looked at a few recipes and there is quite a lot of variation in the amounts and types of spices. All I know is that with all the spices, it smells great while it is baking. The recipe I have is hand written, copied from my mom’s recipe. It only has a list of ingredients and a temperature, no time, no instructions. If I would have to guess, I would say that the recipe comes via one of my grandmothers through my mom. We made this a lot growing up. Traditionally, like gingerbread, it is associated with Christmas, but we would make it at any time of year.
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cloves
½ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. baking soda dissolved in water and vinegar
½ tsp. baking powder
2 cups flour
- Cream butter and brown sugar until smooth.
- Blend in egg.
- Add spices, baking soda, baking powder to mixture. I’ve also added a tsp. of allspice to the dough if the mood strikes me.
- Mix in flour until smooth.
- Spread dough into a 9 x 5 pan (can use a larger pan to make a crispier, more cookie-like square, or even shape into cookies, or press into a mold).
- Bake in 350°C oven for 30 minutes until firm.