In the end, though, I decided to go back to the ye olde cookbooks and find the most "authentic" version of one of this year's popular cookies - the speculoos, also known as Biscoff. Now, the one I found, and wound up making, is the more Germanic version - my great grandmother was German, and very much so, so the white pepper and baker's ammonia make an appearance, as does a somewhat touchy ingredient in the baking world - lard. Yes, I said lard. Get over it - it's an old recipe, you can get fantastic-quality leaf lard at a butcher and even Tenderflake's isn't bad for a cookie like this. Of course, if you're vegetarian, swap it out for a good quality shortening. Unlike the amoniaczki they don't smell nearly as potent while baking, since the spices take over. The cookies themselves are crisp, spicy but still tender inside. I can't wait to make these again and turn them into a clone of the spread!
Vintage Speculaas (Speculoos / Biscoff)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup rye or whole wheat flour
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baker's ammonia
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup lard (or shortening, if you can't find decent lard or are weirded out by it)
1/2 cup fine sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp coarse sanding sugar for topping
- In a bowl whisk together flours, spices, baker's ammonia and salt.
- In a large separate bowl, cream together butter, lard, and sugars. Add the vanilla extract.
- Gradually blend the flour mixture into the butter mixture until it is well combined.
- Cover and chill 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Roll out dough to 1/8"-thickness.
- You can bake this as a large sheet of cookie, scored (like scones) to cut later, or, you can use cookie cutters to make cookie shapes.
- Sprinkle with granulated sugar.
- For a solid sheet of dough, bake for 20-25 minutes, then break shapes along the scored lines. For shapes from raw dough, place dough shapes onto parchment paper and bake for 12-15 minutes, until crisp.
- Cool on the sheets on a rack.
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat: 5.6 g
Cholesterol: 9.5 mg
Sodium: 18.9 mg
Total Carbs: 10.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.9 g
Protein: 1.0 g