Speculaas Biscuits Experiment Success

Speculaas spice biscuits used to be available around the end of year time, when the European specialty snacks and things were imported, but they’ve not been around for some time. Something piqued my interest in trying to make them myself and I tracked down some recipes. It started with making the Speculaas Spice Mix. I have a very well stocked herb and spice cupboard, so was able to make up the spice mix subbing nutmeg for the mace which I am out of as I don’t use it much any more. Aniseed isn’t a flavour I enjoy, so I don’t stock it at all and simply left it out.
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Speculaas Spice Mix – 1 portion (used 2 tablespoons in trial recipe, use whole portion next time)
2 – 5 tablespoons Ground Cinnamon (adjust to taste) (erred on side of caution & used 2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon Ground Cloves (used 1/2 teaspoon, again, caution)
½ teaspoon Ground Aniseed
½ teaspoon Ground White Pepper
½ teaspoon Ground Coriander Seed
½ teaspoon Ground Ginger (optional)
½ teaspoon Ground Cardomon (optional)
½ teaspoon Ground Mace (optional)
½ teaspoon Ground Dried Mandarin Zest (optional)

  1. Add all ingredients into a bowl and mix them up, crushing any lumps with back of a spoon.
  2. Can store in an airtight container.
    Make Dried Mandarin Zest by zesting mandarins and drying out in the oven at ~80C. Spread zest out on baking sheet, dry in oven for ~1 hour, turning ½ way through. Cool and grind into powder with mortar & pestle. 2 mandarins are recommended for this recipe.

The spices smell amazing!
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Measured all the other ingredients and put them in the mixer bowl. Wasn’t sure how this was going to go, as most mix with their hands. I used the dough hook and needed to add the teeniest bit more milk because the table spoon measurements were not consistent through both recipes: 20ml v 15ml tablespoons, which I had not corrected.

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It all came together in the end and rolled out easily. I divided the dough and placed it between 2 sheets of baking paper to roll it out as thinly as I thought it should be. I did miss the step of putting it in the fridge or freezer before rolling it out though. I don’t think that made any difference to the end result given the way I did it, but if you were using the proper formers, it well might make a difference.

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I’ve given away all my collections of biscuit formers and cookie cutters so I simply cut the dough into rectangles with a knife for ease of everything.
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The first tray, which I didn’t get a photo of, it’s the round one on the right, might have gotten overcooked, because when the biscuits came out at the appointed time, they were still really soft with no form at all, so I put them back in for another 10 mins. When they cooled, they were fully cooked though, so some sort of sorcery happened there! And yes, there are a few missing there, all in the name of testing! :wink:
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I did have to run the knife through the biscuit edges again as they stuck together, but it wasn’t a problem and didn’t break the biscuits because they were still soft.

I’m counting it a success, the biscuits now they are cooled, are really delicious. The darker ones have a more significant crispness to them, and a slightly different flavour from the more golden coloured ones. Both are delicious and I’ll make these again.
I may even use the spice mix in other recipes as it’s so very flavourful. I’d use the full portion of the Speculaas Spice Mix the next time I make the biscuits though. I’d also have a go at adding some orange zest to the mix if I had all things coinciding at the time I decided to make them, I can see how it would really add an extra dimension to the flavours.

Speculaas Spice Biscuits Makes about 40 biscuits
150 grams butter
2 tablespoons (15ml spoon) Speculaas Spice Mix - Note: next time use the full portion of Spice Mix
150gm brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
250gm plain flour
Pinch Salt
45ml Milk (lukewarm)

  1. Preheat oven to 175°C/350°F.
  2. Put the flour and baking powder, salt, dark brown sugar, speculaas spice mix, butter and milk in a bowl.
  3. Combine all ingredients and knead it into a dough. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and leave to rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Roll out the dough between baking paper sheets, or on a floured surface and use a knife or cookie cutter to cut out the shapes.
  5. Place the speculaas biscuits on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake for 15 -20 minutes.

I am intrigued with any kind of cookie that has pepper in it…a sweet, spicy cookie?

I imagine it is similar to gingersnaps? I love those!

Cooking is not my favorite, but baking I do like!

Thanks for sharing! (and experimenting for us!)


Speculaas is a typically Dutch biscuit and they’re a bit like McVities Ginger nuts. But nicer. Imagine pumpkin spice cookies! Speculaas spice mix isn’t that different from British mixed spice or American pumpkin spice. It’s most often associated with St Nick in December. Americans seem to put pumpkin spice into everything in fall, we are the same with speculaas :wink: .

I had absolutely never thought of baking my own speculaas, even though I’ve baked my own kruidnoten many times (same recipe, different shape). Traditionally speculaas is made using very elaborate baking forms and I had simply never considered just making plain rectangle ones. It’s normal that they’re still soft when they come out of the oven, they will get hard while cooling. I’ve not lived in my hometown for a long time, but there they eat speculaas on aniseed bread rolls in December. I’ve made those rolls many times but always with speculaas from the shop. Next time I’ll make them myself!

Right now, I’m not participating in swaps due to personal circumstances, but I’ve included speculaas and speculaas spice mix as extra’s in the past so I would be happy to send some to you in future @Tea but it looks like you’ve found a great alternative in the mean time.


Wow those looks great, we can generally get speculas biscuits and occasionally spread here, but I’d say that they taste amazing made from scratch. Any left over biscuits would be brilliant in an ice-cream


As @Immaculata says it’s a speciality we now have the whole year round. The taste and the ingredients differs from region to region. It you would taste a Hasseltse speculoos/speculaas (eastern part of Belgium) against one of the south (Liège /Namur) and the one which is most known of the western part, it is completely different concerning taste, structure, hardness.
I think there is also a difference between th Dutch and the Belgium version.
You can find it in icecream, other cookies , we even have a speculaas paste like choco paste :slight_smile:


Yes, I think the Dutch version is a bit more spicy than the Belgian version! And I see @Tea has added mandarin zest, that’s not something we would do, I think that’s a German recipe. But all types of speculaas are nice.

@Edel I hadn’t thought of speculaas and ice-cream but that does sound delicious.

@AIMR I think Immaculata has explained it really well. It’s like ginger biscuits, but not, and I’ve never had American pumpkin spice so know not what that would be like to compare, but it sounds similar-ish too. They’re not hot with the pepper and ginger, the combo of which increases heat, it’s tasty and different.

@Immaculata thank you for your very kind offer, that is so sweet of you! Unfortunately, my own personal circumstances means not participating in swaps at all, ever. I do appreciate your kindness.
I think I will experiment further with some different mixes too, I went with the one I thought would best suit my own taste, and it’s great.
I didn’t add the mandarin zest for this one, but if I have the energy, I’ll add some orange zest next time, 'cos I think it will enhance it differently.
Oh, and thanks for letting me know they should be soft coming out of the oven, these are the little things recipes often don’t include and they are important to the end result.
I hope you do try to make some yourself! :smile: I’m pretty impressed with how these turned out for a first go!

@Edel Have with Ice cream! What a brilliant idea. I’m going to try that shortly! I’ve been trying to think of how I could make an ice cream sandwich instead of buying them. Going to try these to see how it goes! Thank you!

@Myrthena There used to be an international specialty store where I could sample foods from a number of European countries and I remember the Speculoos from there. They were different from the other Windmill cookies I would get from a different store.

All this has reminded me how much I also like Pfeffernüsse, which I have not seen available for more than 4 or 5 years. Maybe I can make something like them too! :smile:

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These sound delicious!

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Oh, yum. Love speculaas! There are a lot of Dutchies here, I can find products easily but how fun to diy!

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Your home must smell delicious now!

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