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Sophie’s festive speculaas

Sophie’s festive speculaas cookies!
Canadian moose & Canadian maple leaf speculaas cookies
Recently, I received the Moose cookie cutter & the Maple leaf cookie cutter from my friend,Koko from Koko’s kitchen. We swapped gifts.
The cookie cutters made beautiful cookies! Thanks again, Koko! I will use them a lot!
Here is one of many favourite cookie cutters: a knight on his horse!


A knight on his horse!
Do you know this famous Belgian man? Yes, It’s Manneken Pis! Click on the link to find out who he is!!
Manneken Pis
Speculaas (Dutch pronunciation: [spekyˈlaːs], Flemish speculoos, French spéculoos) is a type of short crustbiscuit (cookie), traditionally baked for consumption on St Nicholas’ Eve in the Netherlands (December 5) and Belgium (December 6).
In recent years it has become available all year round. Speculaas are thin, very crunchy, slightly browned and, most definitely, have some image or figure (often from the traditional stories about St. Nicholas) stamped on the front side before baking, the back is flat.
Speculaas dough does not rise much.
Normally, Sinterklaas comes in Belgium, in the night of 5th december to 6th december. On the evening of the 5th of December, the children put their shoes next to the chimney. They lay sugar beets or carrots for the Saints horse. They also present food or drinks for Sinterklaas near the chimney because he must have been hungry during the night because he works a lot & he rides his horse & goes along with the dark men on the top of the roofs on everybody’s houses. He gives mandarins, sweets & speculoos. Normally, he also gives presents to the children.
Dutch and Belgian versions are baked with light brown (beet) sugar ( cassonade sugar ) and baking powder. You can also use dark cannonade sugar so that the speculaas is darker in colour. Normally, we use speculaas spices, a blend of spices because it is more easier to use. We can buy that in 20 gr sachet in Dille & Kamille. That is a cook shop , their shops are located in many cities in The Netherlands & in Belgium. Their website is www.dille –
You can read it in French & in Dutch.
Most Speculaas versions are made from white flour, brown sugar, butter and spices. Some varieties use some almond flour and have slivered almonds embedded in the bottom.
Spices used in speculaas spices are cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, piment, ginger, cardamom, mace & coriander. We buy them in 20 gr sachets, ready to use.

I have 1 recipe with not every spice in it, but you can make your own speculaas mix with:
4 tablespoons ground cinnamon,
1 tablespoon ground cloves,
1 tablespoon ground ginger,
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg &
1 tablespoon ground cardamom.

Mix all the spices well together & place in a fitting bowl & screw the lid well on. Shake well until all joined. Use 2 teaspoons.
Enjoy!! It works really well!!!
There are several interpretations for the origins of the name Speculaas. It may derive from Latinspeculum, which means mirror, and refer to the images are cut as a mirrored bas-relief into a wooden stamp which is then used to decorate the Speculaas. Another explanation of the name refers to the Latin word speculator which, among other meanings, could also refer to a bishop or St Nicholas’ epithet “he who sees everything”. Specerij the Dutch word for spice is another possible origin.

I love this yummy recipe for home-made speculaas. These are crunchy speculaas & a bit soft in the middle.
Recipe: for about 65 speculaas, small to medium-sized inclusive 2 larger Moose
500 gr organic white flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
250 gr lighter brown cannonade sugar ( kinnekes suiker )
200 gr light salted butter, softened
2 organic eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons of speculaas spices / bought or home-made ( see note: above )
1. Take your Kenwood or Kitchen aide & put the K-paddle in.
2. In a large bowl, sieve the flour & sieve the baking powder. Set aside.
3. Put the softened butter in the fitting bowl together with the sugar. Mix it until it all is well combined.
4. Add the beaten eggs & mix well.
5. Add the speculaas spices & the sifted flour and baking powder. Mix until it all is well combined.
It is now brown in colour. Place the mix onto a floured silpat with floured hands & mix well until you have a thick dough, for about 1 to 2 minutes. The dough will be very sticky. Place cling film all over & place into the fridge, on a plate, for at least 1 to 2 hours to stiffen up. You can also leave it overnight in the fridge. I never do. I can’t wait that long!
6. Preheat your oven to 175°C, ( 347 F ) if you are using a normal oven. 150°C ( 302 F ) fan oven, for 15 minutes. Take 2 oven racks out of the oven & lay silpats on them. I use a fan oven.
7. Take your dough out of the fridge, open the cling film & slice 1 big piece, 1/3 th of the dough. Place the other dough back into the cling film & place into the fridge until you want another piece to work with. So, that the dough will stay firm. Now, lay your silpat in front of you on the table. Flour well. Flour the rolling-pin & roll the dough out to 0,5 cm thick. With your favourite cookie cutters, cut out cookies & reuse the dough again & again until it is all used up. Do flour your Silpat from time to time, because you don’t want the dough to stick. Place onto a silpat on an oven rack, well spaced apart, about 1 inch ( 2,5 cm ) apart & bake for about 13 to 15 minutes until browned & cooked through. In my case, it took every time 15 minutes. Take out of the oven & place onto wiring racks to cool down completely. Do the same to the rest of the dough.
8. When the cookies are completely cold, place into cookie boxes to store or give them as presents.
These are crunchy cookies & a bit soft in the middle.
Enjoy with a good cup of coffee or an excellent cup of tea!
These treats make excellent food gifts!
A wonderful food gift
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Hello! My name is Sophie & I love to cook & bake mostly healthily but with a twist! There is a bit of gardening & travelling in here too! Enjoy! :)

148 thoughts on “Sophie’s festive speculaas

  1. MMMM,…Sophie!! Your speculaas looks delicious! I knew who Manneken Pis was!! I love that that you have a cookie cutter from him! hahahaha,…

  2. I had to head over immediately after seeing your comment in my blog. I just learnt about speculaas cookies while my in laws were here : ) I also was thinking to try making some myself 🙂 Love your cookie cutters.

  3. Ooo lovely Sophie! Although that phonetic speculaas is a bit weird… lol… Can't imagine anyone would make a right pronunciation out of that.. But that could just be me. I love speculaas although I've never actually made it myself, so maybe it is time I tried too. Love your cookie cutters!

  4. Oooh so glad u uses the cookie cutters! They look so cute!! I loved the little reminder about sinterklaas , he looks so neat riding his horse! I was thinking about making some sandwich cookies using the speculaaspaste u got me! I'll be sure to post them! Your cookies look wonderful!!!!!P.S. The manneken pis is so cute! I can't wait to use mine!

  5. Sophie you read my mind! I have just been thinking about speculoos and wondering if I could make them and by magic you make them – and a wonderful recipe – appear before my very eyes. Terrific! And I have a moose cookie cutter to, but I love the knight! And thanks for the spice mix recipe too. Great post!

  6. Ooh, these are adorable! This recipe is great for the holidays- I just love that little moose cookie cutter! I've never made speculaas but I would love to do it!

  7. Oh Sophie – this is fabulous. I adore those cookie cutters – they are perfect for a Minnesota resident – all those moose! Also love the knight. They look grand for St. Nicholas Day. Thanks for reporting on the how-to for the spice mix! What a way to usher in the holidays!

  8. Dear Sophie, Sometimes I wish I were a kid, getting presents from my mother. Fortunately, I have you, making such wonderfully-shaped speculaas! Jef

  9. The cutest cookies and such a lovely story behind them. I've only had these once when a coworker brought them in… but they were so very good, thank you for the recipe so I can make them now!

  10. Yes…Sophie, it is time again for Speculaas. On saturday,we go to see Sinterklass. Promise to let you know when next I'm coming to Brussels…I'll bring some kumquats!

  11. Sophie, those look great, I bet my next door neighbor who is from Germany would love them! p.s. Congrats on your anniversarry!

  12. I've heard of speculaas – I may even have eaten a few in my time – but I never knew the background to the name or the associated traditions, so thanks for filling us in on that!

  13. LOL! Sophie, I KNOW the Manneken Pis!!! The knight on horseback is awesome, but I would imagine Lady Godiva would be even more eye-popping! The moose cookies are pretty – very festive!Ju

  14. Hi SophieAll those spices ground together sound delicious. I've seen these cookies in shops and they were quite expensive because they were imported – at least now I can make my own!

  15. I love the cookie cutters! How funny to have a cookie cutter for the boy and the fountain! It was fun reading about these holiday traditions. I would like to read this to my kids later today! 😀

  16. It's such fun to read about your traditions! It's why I love blogging so much.I've never tasted speculaas- they look wonderful. I love all the spices and really, Sophie, those cookie cutters are magnificent. Don't think I have ever seen prettier ones. Lucky you!

  17. These cookies look so cute with these images. I love to use cookie cutters in different figures and yours look unique.

  18. It's so funny there is a Manneken Pis cookie cutter. I saw him last spring dressed in a very fancy outfit. This is my favorite kind of cookie, crispy and spicy. Thanks for the recipe.

  19. Sophie, these cookies look wonderful. I love learning about holiday traditions around the world. Maybe I'll make some of these speculaas for our tree trimming party. Thanks for the great recipe!

  20. Your cookies look really good and I love all your cookie cutter shapes. My favorite is the Manneken Pis. LOL! I love it!Paz

  21. We usually eat way to may of these addictive biscuits when visiting my husband's family in Germany/France. We have been there many years for St. Nikolaus Eve, the kids love it. When we are home in the US for the holiday they wonder why he only visits our house not the neighbors?!? Thanks for the recipe, maybe I can bake my own this year!

  22. Thanks for sharing spaculaas spice recipe. I have been looking for it. Can't believe sinta klaas is coming soon 🙂

  23. I heard about speculaas last year while visiting Amsterdam, but I never realized how much they resemble the gingerbread cookies we bake for Christmas here in Finland! I had to go and check what gingerbread spice is made of 🙂 and it's cinnamon, ginger, cloves and cardamom. I'll try your recipe & let you know if the taste & texture are the same or if there is any difference.Greetings, Tiina

  24. Wow, Sophie, your speculoos look fantastic! They appeal to two of my cultures: Canada (the moose) and Belgium (the Manneken Pis, obviously)! I need to make a batch of my own, especially since St. Nicolas is coming up!

  25. so many times cookie cutters aren't well-defined and the cookies come out looking like blobs, but these are amazing! i think the moose is my favorite. 🙂

  26. @ Marieke, Sylvia, Lorraine, Janet, Pam, Jessica , Junglefrog, Koko:I am glad you all like the recipe & my cookie cutters!@ Jamie, Lisa, Claudia, Rosa, Jef, Christine & Mae: I am touched that you all like the home made spice mix & that you love the cookie cutters! Enjoy the speculaas cookies!@ Kitchen Butterfly: Next time, you're in Brussels, we will meet & thanks already for the kumquats!

  27. @ Juliana, Cheryl, Oyster culture, Rebecca, Daily Spud, 5starFoodie, veggiebelly, Angie:Thanks for stooping by & I am so pleased you all love it so much! Give it a try!@ Ju: A lady Godiva cookie cutter would have been so much fun! Hahahahahahahaha,…Thanks!@ Joanne, Trissa, Hannah, The Ungourmet: A Manneken Pis cookie cuuter is apart & he's belgian after all!@ Nora, French cooking for Dummies,Unconfidential cook, Emily, Kerstin, Barbara, Erica, Zerrin,Megan, Zurin,Palidor,Cathy, Heavenly Housewife, Elra: Thanks!Enjoy the recipe & the home made speculaas mix!!

  28. @ Pierre, Jessica, Paz: You will love the speculaas! Enjoy!@ Kristen: Thanks for your lovely story & give it a try: You will love them!@ Ellie, Trissa: Thanks, enjoy the speculaas!@ Tiina: Thanks for explaning that to me! Enjoy them!@ The blonde duck: I am so glad for you about the book signing!@ Valérie, Grace, Reeni, Carolyn: Enjoy making the home made speculaas spices & the speculaas!!

  29. Your cookies look absolutely beautiful. Delicious with a cup of coffee. Isn't it great to have foodie friends to exchange food gifts and culture!Happy holidays to you!

  30. These are so adorable Sophie! I love speculoos and I'll try your recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  31. je crois que cette année je vais faire des speculaas au lieu des gingerbread que je fais d'habitude! cette recette a l'air excellente!

  32. Hmmmmmm! Vikram Seth the famous writer even wrote about the Belgian (Hasseltse) speculoos being the best in the world. Coming from an Indian who has lived all over the world this does mean something!They look delicious Sophie! Heerlijk

  33. Hi, I would like to make these cookies without eggs. Do you think they would turn out well if I just omit the eggs? Would I need to put in anything else? Please let me know! Thanks!

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