Desserts + Sweets Recipe Index

Speculaas: Dutch Spiced Biscuits, Guest Post for Life Tastes Like Food

Hi everyone! Today I’m excited to guest post as part of the wonderful Holday Project over at Life Tastes Like Food. Each day, Stephanie hosts a guest poster to share their favorite holiday treats. I was thrilled to accept her invitation to be part of this creative gathering of readers, bloggers and food enthusiasts, especially since she shared one of her recipes here while I away. 
When I heard about the theme, I knew almost instantly what I’d make – Speculaas, a Dutch spice cookie. It’s a treat rich with a history of its own, and one that bears a special significance to me. You see, my sister, her husband and their gorgeous boy live in Holland, and I was lucky enough to be there when my nephew was born and through his first year. I also met and fell in love with my boyfriend (the Australian Man) while living in Amsterdam. Naturally, Holland and my memories there have a special place in my heart. So do cookies. A match made in heaven, I’d say.

Though available year-round now, speculaas are traditionally eaten at the start of Het Sint Nicolaasfeest (St Nicholas Festival) on 5th December in Holland. They’re generously spiced with a warm blend of aromatics – including white pepper – then pressed into ornate cookie molds, making addictively crisp and decorative wafers.
I often joke that I like putting a Middle Eastern ‘stamp’ on things, by adding Arabic flair to Western dishes. I can safely say I’ve taken that pun to a whole new level with my speculaas. Since I didn’t have a Dutch cookie mold, I used a traditional Arabic maamoul (date and semolina cookies) mold instead. Not quite conventional, but definitely festive.
The result? I used whole wheat flour, which made an ever-so-slightly chewier cookie, perfect for dipping in a piping hot cappuccino. And the taste? Each bite, a mile closer to my loved ones and unforgettable memories, and yet one step into a new holiday baking tradition in my new Australian home.

For the recipe and more photos, and to learn more about The Holiday Project, visit my guest post at Life Tastes Like Food.

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  • Reply Jay 09/01/2012 at 10:54 am

    absolutely fantastic..;)
    Tasty Appetite

  • Reply Asmita 06/01/2012 at 10:34 pm

    I love the design on the cookie. So pretty!

  • Reply Baker Street 06/01/2012 at 9:58 am

    I want that mould! these look amazing!! 

  • Reply Cake Memoirs 26/12/2011 at 1:26 pm

    These look amazing and I love the mold you used. I think these cookies are one of the best things about Holland in December. There is also another variation of these cookies filled with almond paste, equally delicious.

  • Reply Heyladygrey 24/12/2011 at 2:00 pm

    I want one of those Speculaas! I’ve never even heard of one before, but they’re actually quite beautiful looking and look like a lot of fun to use!

  • Reply Hannah 24/12/2011 at 8:36 am

    I adore Speculaas (and pain d’epice) with all my heart! Can’t wait to see your recipe. Merry Christmas!!

  • Reply Farwin @ Loveandotherspices 24/12/2011 at 8:32 am

    They look gorgeous.Ignored these cookie moulds here.Next time I’ll pick one up and try making these lovely wholewheat cookies.

  • Reply Gerry @Foodness Gracious 24/12/2011 at 6:06 am

    Man that last sentence almost made me tear up 😉 Great looking cookies and an awesome story…
    Take care and Merry Christmas!

  • Reply Heba @ midEATS 24/12/2011 at 3:33 am

    Looks so yummy! Btw – I would *LOVE* to buy one of these ‘cookie molds’ – my next project is finding a whole bunch of them, even though I barely bake 😉 Happy holidays!

  • Reply Rachelmotto 24/12/2011 at 1:55 am


  • Reply Candace 24/12/2011 at 1:24 am

    Those are absolutely gorgeous!

  • Reply msihua 23/12/2011 at 11:53 pm

    Oooh.. we use similar molds for cookies and biscuits for Chinese New Year :) How quaint!

  • Reply Rosa May 23/12/2011 at 3:28 pm

    Wonderful cookies! That is a speciality i adore.



  • Reply a spoonful of yumm 23/12/2011 at 12:24 pm

    the cookies look so delicious ! happy holidays

  • Reply foodycat 23/12/2011 at 12:13 pm

    That cookie mould is a truly beautiful object! And the shaped cookies look amazing.

  • Reply Susan Moran 23/12/2011 at 12:02 pm

    These look beautiful, Yasmeen.  I’m so inspired by all the molded cookies I’ve seen this season, I need to go find a mold and try some.  I have a feeling I’ll be making cookies well into January just trying to keep up with all ,my bookmarks!

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