Speculaas cookies are beautifully aromatic and have a light, crisp and crunchy texture. My version of this festive favourite is free from eggs, nuts, soy and refined sugar, as I use Light Muscovado. These cookies are very simple and easy to make, as the dough is a pleasure to work with. You can make these in advance as they store really well, if kept in an airtight container in a dry cool place.
The traditional method for making Speculaas would be to use a Speculaasplank, a decoratively carved wooden board, which is usually rectangular. You would press the dough into the mould, to imprint the design onto the dough, before baking. Alternatively, you can also use a Springerle rolling pin, which has beautifully intricate designs carved into it. The Speculaasplank and Springerle rolling pin can be purchased online. However, a 3-D or regular festive shaped cookie cutters will do just fine.
The Speculasskruiden spice mix is a combination of warm spices including mace, ground cloves, ground ginger, white pepper, ground cardamom, ground anise, nutmeg and ground cinnamon, with the latter being the predominant flavour. Although there are some robust flavoured spices in this mix, the blend is quite subtle, which gives the cookies a wonderfully gentle spiciness.
These cookies are also known by a few different names, including Speculoos, Belgian Spice Cookies, Biscoff Cookies or Dutch Windmill Cookies. The Speculaas cookie originated from Belgium and the Netherlands. They were traditionally baked and served on the St Nicholas’ Day Feast, but today they are enjoyed all year round.
For the history, and more information about the Speculaas Cookie, you can read more here.
If you would like to know how to pronounce Speculaas, click here.
For accurate cup measurements, I sift the potato starch before measuring, so that there are no lumps/clumps. All cup measurements are firmly packed.
Makes Approximately 34 Cookies
Speculasskruiden Spice Mix
4 teaspoons (20ml) ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon (2.5ml) mace
¼ teaspoon (1.25ml) ground cloves
¼ teaspoon (1.25ml) ground ginger
A pinch of ground of white pepper
A pinch of ground of cardamom
A pinch of ground of anise
A pinch of ground of nutmeg
132g (4.7 ounces or ¾ cup) light muscovado sugar or light brown sugar
128g (4.5 ounces or 1 cup) superfine white rice flour
39g (1.4 ounces or ⅓ cup) corn starch
27g (0.9 ounces or 2 tablespoons plus ½ a teaspoon) potato starch
24g (0.8 ounces or 3 tablespoons) tapioca starch
3 teaspoons (15ml) speculasskruiden spice mix
2 teaspoons (10ml) baking powder
½ teaspoon (2.5ml) bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
½ teaspoon (2.5ml) xanthan gum
126g (4.4 ounces or ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon) gluten and dairy free butter
2 tablespoons (30ml) dairy free milk of choice
¼ teaspoon (1.25ml) finely grated orange zest
First, you will need to make your Speculasskruiden spice mix. To do this, add all the spices together in a bowl and mix thoroughly, until well combined. This will make more than you need, so just store the leftovers in an airtight container for future use.
Sift all the dry ingredients together into a bowl. Then add the butter, milk and grated orange zest, before using your hands to rub the butter into the flour. The dough is ready when you can shape it together into a smooth ball, without it sticking to your hands.
Divide the dough in two, then wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight. This gives the spices time to infuse into the dough, but also allows the cookies to have a lighter and crisper texture.
Preheat the oven to 170C and line 2-3 trays with baking paper/parchment.
Divide the dough in half and roll it between 2 pieces of baking paper, to 4mm in thickness. Using either a 3-D or plain cookie cutter, cut out the dough, and place the shapes on the prepared trays and bake for approximately 12-14 minutes. The cookies are ready when the edges are a darker shade of brown.
Allow them to cool on the trays, for about 3 minutes, before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Then store the cookies in an airtight container.
Recipe by: The Gluten & Dairy Free Bakehouse
Note: all recipe oven temperatures shown are for a fan forced electric oven. Please refer to the below guide to help you adjust your oven accordingly. This recipe is shown in bold.
Oven Temperatures Chart
120 °C = 100 °C Fan = 250 °F = Gas Mark ½
140 °C = 120 °C Fan = 275 °F = Gas Mark 1
150 °C = 130 °C Fan = 300 °F = Gas Mark 2
265 °C = 245 °C Fan = 325 °F = Gas Mark 3
180 °C = 160 °C Fan = 350 °F = Gas Mark 4
190 °C = 170 °C Fan = 375 °F = Gas Mark 5
200 °C = 180 °C Fan = 400 °F = Gas Mark 6
220 °C = 200 °C Fan = 425 °F = Gas Mark 7
230 °C = 210 °C Fan = 450 °F = Gas Mark 8
240 °C = 220 °C Fan = 475 °F = Gas Mark 9
250 °C = 230 °C Fan = 500 °F = Gas Mark 10