A true fusion of traditional British-Belgian baking. The speculaas spices, originating in the low countries are a hit time and time again. Speculaas is a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, cloves, ginger, coriander and cardamom. No wonder everyone loves it – a happy marriage of flavours and aromas.
A local shop was selling packets of the speculaas spice, alongside some cut-out wooden shapes typical of the Flemish-Dutch speculaas biscuits and a free recipe.
I gave it a bash and spent a lot of time dusting the wooden shapes, pressing the dough into the shape, scraping the excess dough of the wood and placing the final wind-mill shaped biscuit onto the baking tray. The recipe called for some baking powder (I used soda and buttermilk instead) which resulted in the wings of the wind-mill disappearing as the leavening agents allowed the dough to rise in the oven – a bit disappointing but the taste was still excellent. The children didn’t complain and demanded I make them again.
Then I lost the recipe – but not the spice, nor the children demanding more. So, here below is a digestive version of the speculaas biscuits, heart shaped rather than wind-mill shaped. Very nice with a warm cup of tea or coffee.
250 gr butter.
250 gr flour. *
100 gr rolled oats.
125 gr dark brown sugar.
2 tsp. speculaas spices.
A pinch of salt.
1 tsp. of baking powder.
A drizzle of buttermilk.
Mix the flour and butter together until they resemble fine bread crumbs. Add the remaining ingredients and knead into a dough. Roll out and cut into shapes.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 160 degrees centigrade for 15-20 minutes.
Leave to cool on a wire rack until hard.
* You can use any flour – spelt, wheat, sprouted – whole grain or just ordinary strong or soft white flour. Sprouted flour, if you can get hold of it, works very well.