I was pleased with January's Challenge of Gevulde Speculaas. I'm always looking for something to add to my list of cookie recipes that is as delicious as my go-to chocolate chip or lemon bar recipes, but is also has a unique look and flavour. When I make (or, really, imagine making) piles of Christmas cookies, I like the cookies to be distinct. This is definitely now on the list.I think this recipe is actually commonly described as a "spice cake", but to me it really had more of a cookie feel. The top and bottom are basically a spiced shortbread, and the centre is traditionally an
I liked the look of it in the fluted tart pan and sliced into wedges, but it is commonly made in an 8 x 10 pan and sliced into squares. It was easy to make and eaten up very quickly. With a bit of fancy ice cream (vanilla, buttermilk, caramel?) a pretty little slice would make a nice dessert for guests.
Gevulde Speculaas Recipe
from Marcellina, loosely
For the speculaas spice, throw together some of the following ground spices to your taste: cloves, ginger, nutmeg, mace, cardamom, corriander, anise, white pepper. Then, however much of the mix you end up with, add an equal amount of cinnamon so that cinnamon makes up about half of the total spice. This recipe uses 2 tbsp of speculaas spice, so you could throw together 1 tbsp of cinnamon and pinches of everything else until it equals 2 tbsps. Besides the cinnamon, I used cloves, mace, nutmeg, allspice, ginger and cardamom.
For the paste:
After searching about a bit, I ended up just swapping the almond for coconut by weight.
- 1 3/4 c (125 g) raw almonds (blanched, or remove the skins)
- 1/4 c + 1 tbsp (125 g) caster sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp lemon zest (for the coconut version, I replaced this with 1/2 tsp vanilla)
Grind the almonds with the sugar in a food processor until very fine. Process in the egg and zest. Whoo! Stick it in the fridge. Done! That was easy (unless you skinned the nuts yourself). Imagine how much effort would have gone into this back when food processors didn't exist. Maybe enough to work off all the cookies you're about to eat. . .
For the dough:
- 1 3/4 c (250 g) AP flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 c (150g) brown sugar
- pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp speculaas spice
- 3/4 c (175 g) butter
- a little milk to dampen the dough
As with short bread, beat the dry ingredients together well and then cut in the butter. Add a splash or two of milk to dampen the dough so that it comes together, then wrap it in plastic wrap and let is chill in the fridge for an hour or overnight or whatever. You could probably omit the milk if you wanted. The original recipe calls for you to roll out the dough, but I had zero success with that and just ended up pressing it into the pan with my fingers. If you want to roll it, definitely add some milk because it's a crumbly dough. And, as I've said in the past, it will roll out better if you leave it overnight.
"Francijn of Koken in de Brouwerij was our January 2013 Daring Bakers’ Hostess and she challenged us to make the traditional Dutch pastry, Gevulde Speculaas from scratch! That includes making our own spice mix, almond."