Speculoos recipe, from Dandoy
I found this recipe here and then adapted it to my own taste.
- 1kg flour
- 300g butter (best quality, unsalted)
- 600g dark brown sugar (might I suggest muscovado. The darker the brown sugar, the darker the speculoos will be – in Belgium people usually use sucre de candi brun)
- 100ml water
- a pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 2 eggs (optional – makes the speculoos softer. I like mine crunchy, so no eggs)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp ‘speculoos spice mix’ (see below)
- optional: 2 small pieces of plain gingerbread (pain d’épice) soaked in water
For the spice mix, Dandoy suggests 3 parts cinnamon and 1 part clove. I would modify this mixture, and use more than a tsp – maybe 1.5tsp. I’d put extra cinnamon and definitely some nutmeg – more nutmeg than clove, but then again I’m not a huge fan of clove. A hint of grated ginger would make a nice addition.
Preheat oven to 175-200°C (350-390°F).
In a bowl, cream the brown sugar, butter, vanilla and spices. (add the gingerbread pieces if you wish – this binds the mixture).
Sift the baking soda, flour and salt, and add progressively to the creamed mixture. The dough should be thick. Don’t mix too much, as the dough should not be elastic. If the dough is too sticky, you can put it in the refrigerator for a few minutes.
Separate the dough into several piles and roll out on a floured work surface. If you have wooden speculoos moulds (although I’m guessing that anyone outside of Belgium does NOT have them), flour the moulds and fill them, making sure that the dough does not stick out from the mould. Then hit the mould on the side of the table to make the dough come unstuck, before placing the shaped dough on to a baking tray lined with cooking paper.
If making speculoos without a mould, place rectangular (should be say, 5cm x 3cm), thin pieces of dough on a baking tray lined with cooking paper. The thicker the speculoos, the softer they are, so I’d aim for 0.5 to 0.75cm thick.
Bake for about 10 minutes, and place the speculoos on cooling racks.