Thursday, December 13, 2012

Vintage Speculaas (Speculoos / Biscoff)

I was really struggling to figure out what I should share for the last week of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats! I have so many holiday goodies to share - should it be my Rocky Road Cookies? More biscotti? Truffles with a secret ingredient? I was spoiled for choice. I'm at the point now (as I am every year) where I have more goodies to write about than days before Christmas - not to mention all the other real food I've been making!

SpeculaasIn the end, though, I decided to go back to the ye olde cookbooks and find the most "authentic" version of one of this year's popular cookies - the speculoos, also known as Biscoff. Now, the one I found, and wound up making, is the more Germanic version - my great grandmother was German, and very much so, so the white pepper and baker's ammonia make an appearance, as does a somewhat touchy ingredient in the baking world - lard. Yes, I said lard. Get over it - it's an old recipe, you can get fantastic-quality leaf lard at a butcher and even Tenderflake's isn't bad for a cookie like this. Of course, if you're vegetarian, swap it out for a good quality shortening. Unlike the amoniaczki they don't smell nearly as potent while baking, since the spices take over. The cookies themselves are crisp, spicy but still tender inside. I can't wait to make these again and turn them into a clone of the spread!



Vintage Speculaas (Speculoos / Biscoff)
Makes 36
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup rye or whole wheat flour
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baker's ammonia
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup lard (or shortening, if you can't find decent lard or are weirded out by it)
1/2 cup fine sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp coarse sanding sugar for topping
  1. In a bowl whisk together flours, spices, baker's ammonia and salt.
  2. In a large separate bowl, cream together butter, lard, and sugars. Add the vanilla extract.
  3. Gradually blend the flour mixture into the butter mixture until it is well combined.
  4. Cover and chill 1 hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  6. Roll out dough to 1/8"-thickness.
  7. You can bake this as a large sheet of cookie, scored (like scones) to cut later, or, you can use cookie cutters to make cookie shapes.
  8. Sprinkle with granulated sugar.
  9. For a solid sheet of dough, bake for 20-25 minutes, then break shapes along the scored lines. For shapes from raw dough, place dough shapes onto parchment paper and bake for 12-15 minutes, until crisp.
  10. Cool on the sheets on a rack.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 90.2
Total Fat: 5.6 g
Cholesterol: 9.5 mg
Sodium: 18.9 mg
Total Carbs: 10.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.9 g
Protein: 1.0 g