Saturday, July 7, 2012

Speculaas recipe

I imagine speculaas (pronounced spake-u-lass) translates into ginger cookies or something like that, though I'm not sure cause everyone I know just calls it speculaas.  It is a Dutch recipe and I've been baking it on my own probably since I was 7 or 8.  There's a few different versions out there, but they all amount to the same thing.  Lots of spices, butter and yummy goodness when done.  Easy, easy and easy to make.

This recipe is from Beppe Vis (Beppe is grandmother in Frijs, which is a language from Frijsland in the north of Holland - quite a separate dialect to Dutch) and I seem to remember visiting her house and always getting a piece of speculaas, which was always perfect.  She wasn't my grandmother, but as our grandparents lived in Holland and as my mother would always like to speak Dutch, we called many of the older generation Oma or Opa or Beppe.  I like that and still have fond memories of many of my extra grandparents, like Opa M at church with a pocketful of King peppermints for all us kids.

My speculaas was never as good as Beppe's - as a kid, I usually put it in the oven and then got absorbed in a book and forgot about it.  So it was always, um, hard (brick-like), and it was often black (scrapping the black bits off into the sink meant it could still be eaten) and dad would have to soak it in his coffee to have any chance of eating it.  These days, I'm a bit better at remembering once I've put it in the oven, but I guess I'm not reading as much anymore either!

Today, I made a batch to use up some more of my spices in my Tupperware containers, so they can be washed and packed.  Cloves, ginger, nutmeg - all used up and ready to go in a box.

It's super easy to mix up a double batch of the dry mix and then store that in the cupboard.  You then only need to add the eggs and melted butter and in 30 minutes you have warm speculaas - perfect if you know someone is popping around.  Makes the house smell DIVINE too :)

It's easiest and best to just press the whole lot into a cookie sheet, so that you have varying degrees of softness as you work towards the inside.  Cut into haphazard shapes.  Enjoy a warm piece with a glass of milk!  Stores really well in a airtight container for at least 3 days - if you can leave them that long.

3 cups flour
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
200 g or 1/2 lb butter

Stir together all dry ingredients.  You can set this aside and use at a later time (or mix up a double batch and set aside half for another day).

Melt the butter, add that to the flour mixture and then add the two eggs (don't add the hot butter straight onto the eggs or they will start to scramble... Don't worry, I've tested this process for you previously, so can verify that you don't want to do this).

Easiest to mix with your hands to combine into one brown lump, then press that evenly into a baking sheet.  I line my baking sheets with baking paper, cause it just means no sticking, no mess.  You can then also press some sliced almonds on the top, but I prefer it au naturale.

Bake in the oven at 190C or 375F for about 25 minutes.

Enjoy!  It's not too sweet and David loves it just as much as Daddy and I, so it is family friendly and really cheap, once you have all the spices.