Prep: 10 mins Bake: 35-40 mins Oven Temp: 175 C (pre-heated) Yields: 30 biscuits Level: Intermediate
I visited Belgium in May 2018. I still remember the first day we landed at Brussels airport, took a train to the Central station and walked into our AirBnB apartment. It was drizzling and it was cold. It was 5 pm and the perfect weather for a garam masala chai (hot and spiced tea latte). My mom volunteered to brew the tea while my mum-in-law and I ventured out to the nearest super market to get some essential supplies – read biscuits, bread, butter and the like. That was our first tryst with Speculoos biscuits. There were rows and rows of Lotus Speculoos biscuits. Looking at the sheer number of these biscuits we guessed it to be a popular biscuit and picked up a couple of packs. That was the first day and we kept buying it till the last day of our trip. We even brought some back home…
What was so special about the biscuit, you ask? We asked ourselves the same thing… We had no clue at that time but there was something familiar, something very warming about how they tasted. Fast-forward 2 months, I am back in Pune, googling random stuff when I ended up googling Speculoos. The Belgian Dutch call it Speculoos while the Dutch (from Netherlands) call is Speculaas. These biscuits are traditionally baked (and consumed) around the Winter Solstice and is flavoured with Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cloves and Ginger! Imagine my delight, no wonder they tasted for “familiar”; they were made of all our deal masalas (spices)!
Now, my recipe for the Speculoos is not the authentic or the traditional one – mainly because some of the ingredients weren’t as easily available in India and hence I experimented and after a number of trials and errors, I zero-ed onto a combination that worked best for me (according to my palette)… Nevertheless I am sure you will love these biscuits and will find them very easy to make 🙂
- All Purpose Flour – 13/4 cup
- Butter – 6 tbsp
- Demerara Sugar – 1/2 cup (ground)
- Milk – 3 tsp
- Pumpkin Pie Spice – 2 tsp (make your own)
- Baking Soda -1/2 tsp
- Egg – 1 (optional*)
Mix the flour, baking soda, Pumpkin Pie spice and sugar together.
If you like your cookies to be on the sweeter side, grind the sugar before mixing it in. I have not because I like less sweet cookies with sugar crystals intact.
Add the butter.
If you are using the egg, then cream the cream and egg together and then fold it in the flour mixture.
Knead it into a dough.
The dough at this moment will feel crumbly. Add in the milk and mix well.
Knead the dough lightly till it starts looking cohesive
Transfer the dough to the counter or a kneading mat and give it a good knead such that it forms a smooth ball.
On a baking sheet or a greased baking tin, place tiny balls of the dough and press on them with a fork once and then the second time in perpendicular direction
Place the baking tray in the oven and bake at 175 C (pre-heated) for 40 mins.
Step 8 – After 35 mins or so, check on the cookies, if they look cooked then take the out of the oven and let it cool on the counter top in the baking tray itself. After about 10 mins, transfer the cookies to cool down on a wire rack.
Dunk the cookies in a glass of milk and enjoy the spicy flavours of Speculoos cookies 🙂
Should you or should you not use eggs in the recipe?
If you prefer a light, airy biscuit skip the egg. If you want a chewy and a denser cookie the use the whole egg – no need to separate the egg white and the yolk.