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A famous cookie made from spices. It can be seen year-round but mainly around Sinterklaas. Note: Some Dutch/European specialty stores may have pre-mixed speculaas spice packages.
- 500 gr. flour
- 250 gr. butter or margarine
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 125 gr. dark brown or Demarara Sugar
- 50 ml milk
- slivered almonds
- 20 grams cinnamon
- 10 grams ground nutmeg
- 5 grams ground cloves
- a pinch of cardamom powder
- a pinch of ginger powder
Sift the flour over a large cutting board or countertop. Sprinkle the baking powder over it, the salt and Sugar. Thinly slice the (hard) butter or margarine and add it to the flour-and-Sugar mix. Add the milk and hand knead all until there is a firm but malleable dough. Pack the dough into a piece of foil and keep in the fridge overnight (to allow the spices to penetrate the cookie dough).
If you have a ‘speculaasplank’ dust it with flour. Press the dough into the hollows, cut off the excess and sprinkle with slivered almonds. Shake the dolls out onto a dusted countertop. Put flat, almond-covered side down on a greased cookie sheet and bake in a preheated oven at 180 °C for 15 – 20 minutes, depending on the size of the dolls.
If you don’t have a ‘speculaasplank’, roll dough out thinly on a lightly floured board and cut into shapes (windmills and Sinterklaas/Santa shapes are traditional). Decorate with whole almonds if using them. Place about 2cms apart on lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake in 180C oven 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool 1 minute, transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
Makes 4 to 6 dozen (depending upon size)