A Speculaas Garden

I had such a fun time the other day while trying my hand at making Speculaas.  Speculaas are a type of cookie popular in Holland and Belgium.  Most of you probably know them as “windmill cookies.”  


I started with a recipe from a magazine but unfortunately that ended with catastrophic results.  The dough was getting stuck in the molds and was just generally not working.   Not knowing what to do, I turned to a book that I had ordered with my mold which turned out to be a great resource.  By adjusting several ingredients in the recipe I was using, I was able to get some great tasting and great looking cookies.  I would highly recommend the book to anyone interested in trying molded cookies and I am looking forward to trying one of the many recipes in it.

The dough is sweetened with honey and brown sugar.  I actually used the brown sugar Splenda and no one noticed any difference.  What really makes these cookies flavorful are all the spices used: coriander, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and cloves.  The dough mixes up like any other dough.  It is best to wrap it in plastic wrap and cool it in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

I rolled the dough, using my perfection strips, which I ordered on a whim one time and have found to be such a great tool to have (I used the 6 mm strips).  Be sure to use plenty of flour underneath the dough and also sprinkle some on the top.

Place the mold on top and press down evenly and firmly.  You can use your rolling pin to help press down but at times this causes the mold to rock and can cause imperfections in your impression. Lift the mold straight up to remove.  Use a sharp knife and trim around the edges of the impression.  (Now technically, you should be able to just scrape off the back side of the mold to make a clean edge of the cookie.  I found, however, that the depth of the mold was not sufficient for the cookie and I could not get it to work.)

Using a small spatula, move the cookies onto a cookie sheet lined with a Silpat or parchment paper.  Bake the cookies in a preheated oven and be sure to watch them carefully as they can go from underdone to overcooked very quickly.

My family really enjoyed these cookies and indicated that I should make them again.  These could make a cut gift in a small clear bag tied with a ribbon.  They would also be great to have with tea or hot cocoa or as part of a cookie tray.



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