“I believe another name for Windmill Cookies is Speculaas. The spices “speculaaskruiden” make this cookie so distinctive and were imported centuries ago from the far east. “
Servings: 2 dozen
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup butter softened
- 1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- In a medium-sized bowl, mix the flour with spices, baking powder and salt.
- In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar at high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and mix well.
- Stir in by hand half the flour mixture, then add the remaining flour and almonds. Mix with a wooden spoon or knead with hands.
- Divide dough into four parts, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for several hours. (If you are using a mold, chill it as well.)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and grease two cookie sheets.
- Remove one quarter of the dough from the refrigerator and flatten it with your hands. Oil your mold and lightly flour it. Using your fingers, press dough firmly into the mold. Trim any excess dough from the mold with a knife.
- Transfer the cookies onto greased cookie sheets with a spatula, spacing about one inch apart.
- Refrigerate dough trimming to be rerolled later. Lightly flour but do not re-oil cookie mold.
- Repeat process with remaining dough. When cookie sheets are full, bake cookies for 20 – 25 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Store in a covered tin.
Speculaas Cookies or Spicy Sinterklass Cakes
“This traditional Dutch cookie recipe came with a mold I got 20 years ago. Speculaas is a corruption of the Latin speculum (mirror). The dough is pressed into carved molds that can be used for wall decorations. When turned out onto the cookie sheet, the picture appears as its mirror image, hence the name. In the Sinterklass season they are available in 2/3 cookie size to huge thick men and women up to 1 pound known as lovers. If molds are not available, roll dough to desired thickness and use gingerbread man cutter or other cutter shapes. They are great to make ahead around Christmas because they last a long time.”
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons chopped slivered almonds
- 2 tablespoons chopped candied citron
- 2/3 cup butter
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- In a large bowl, dissolve the brown sugar in milk. Combine the flour, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, baking powder and salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the sugar and milk. Mix in 2 tablespoons of almonds and candied citron. Cut in the butter until it starts to form a dough, then knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Cover dough and chill for about 1 hour for easier handling.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Dust a wooden speculaas mold lightly with cornstarch. Firmly press the dough into the mold. Run a knife around the edges to trim off excess dough. Gently lift dough out of the mold or tap out onto a cookie sheet. Press remaining almond slivers into cookies to match the designs.
- Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven, just until the edges begin to darken. If your cookies are more than 1/2 inch thick, bake at 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) for up to 30 minutes. Cool cookies on wire racks to crisp. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a month. The flavor will get better with age.
Speculaas (Spiced Cookies)
Making these spicy Sinterklaas treats could not be any easier. The fragrant fug your home will be enveloped in alone will make it worth the while, not to mention their sweet crispy bite.
Servings: 2 dozen
- 1 3/4 cups self-rising flour 200 g
- 1/2 cup donkerbruine basterdsuiker see Tipor pure cane sugar (demerera, 100 g,
- 7 tbsp butter 100 g
- 2-3 tbsp milk
- 3 tsp speculaaskruiden or pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- The finely grated zest of half an orange
- A sprinkling of extra flour to dust the work
- 1 egg white beaten
- Extra brown sugar
- Flaked almonds
- Preheat the oven to 347 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius). Grease a baking sheet. Mix together all the ingredients in a large bowl and knead. You should be able to shape the dough into a ball without it sticking to your hands. Cover the dough ball with plastic wrap and set aside for an hour. This allows the spices to work their magic.
- Flour your work surface and press your dough into an even, flat layer. Using a cookie cutter, cut shapes from the dough and place on the greased baking sheet. Brush with egg white and sprinkle some brown sugar and flaked almonds on top of each cookie. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until you can see that the almonds are caramelizing and the cookies are turning a slightly darker shade of brown. Remove from the baking sheet and allow to cool on a cooling rack.
Basterdsuiker is a typical Dutch product. It is manufactured by adding invert sugar and other ingredients to fine white refined sugar. This mixture helps to achieve certain textural structures and keeps baked goods moist. There are three varieties, white, brown and dark brown, called witte basterdsuiker, (licht)bruine basterdsuiker or gele basterdsuiker and donkerbruine basterdsuiker. It is widely available from Dutch supermarkets and some. I’ve had good results substituting the donkerbruine basterdsuiker in this recipe with pure cane sugar (demerera). You can order little sachets of speculaas spices (known as speculaaskruiden) online. But you can easily substitute pumpkin pie spices. You can also make your own speculaaskruiden. The traditional method calls for using a speculaasplank, a carved wooden board. A regular cookie cutter will do fine.
- 4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp ground mace
- 1/3 tsp ground ginger
- 1/5 tsp ground white pepper a pinch
- 1/5 tsp ground cardamom a pinch
- 1/5 tsp ground coriander seeds a pinch
- 1/5 tsp ground anise seeds a pinch
- 1/5 tsp grated nutmeg a pinch
- If you can’t find (or don’t havsome of the ingredients it is OK to leave some out, but make sure you include the cinnamon, cloves, mace, and ginger.
- If you only have whole spices at home, you can grind the spices yourself using a coffee grinder, or even a food processor and a fine sieve.
- If you need koekkruiden for a recipe, leave out the cloves.
- MIX WELL and package into small jar.