Speculoos is a type of shortcrust biscuit, traditionally baked for consumption on or just before St Nicholas' feast (December 6th) in the Belgium, the Netherlands and Northern France.
In recent decades it has become available all year round.
Speculoos are thin, very crunchy, slightly browned and, most significantly, have some image or figure (often from the traditional stories about St. Nicholas) stamped on the front side before baking; the back is flat.
The Lotus brand is one of the most popular. You can also find them covered in chocolate...a real Belgian treat!
Then there is the Grand Place cookie/biscuit shop, La Maison Dandoy. Located just down the street past the Aroma Cafe and tapestry shop, La Maison Dandoy offers the cookie freshly baked with a more earthy home made flavor.
- 30g or 2 tsp. cinnamon powder
- 10g or 1tsp. clove powder
- 10g or 1tsp. nutmeg
- 10g or 1 tsp. ginger
- 10g or 1 tsp. nutmeg
- 5g or 1/4 tsp. freshly gound white pepper
- 5g or 1/4 tsp. white pepper
- 5g or 1/4 tsp. aniseed
- 5g or 1/4 tsp. coriander
- 185g or 3 cups self-raising flour
- 85g or 1 cup dark brown soft sugar
- 120g or 12 tsp. unsalted butter, softened
- 35g shelled almonds
- 80 ml or 1/3 cup of milk
- 1 small beaten egg
- 1 pinch of salt
- Sieve the flour into a mixing bowl and make a well in the middle.
- Grind and add the spices until fine and sieve into the bowl.
- Add the sugar, butter and a dash of salt into the well and rub slowly between your fingers.
- Knead into a supple dough, wrap in plastic film and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 170°C/350°F. Roll the dough out into a sheet 7mm thick and place onto a nonstick baking sheet.
- Prick little holes in the dough with a fork and sprinkle with almonds.
- Brush with the beaten egg and bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
- Leave to cool and break into pieces.