Speculaas: Dutch Spiced Biscuits, Guest Post for Life Tastes Like Food
23/12/2011 16 Comments
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.