When I was planning my recipes to share with you over the holiday period, I wanted to share recipes that many of you love. Ones that aren’t typically vegan like eggnog and meatloaf. When I started thinking of what kind of cookie I love, I couldn’t go past the Speculaas cookies (aka Dutch spiced cookies or Speculoos). Crunchy, fragrant biscuits that are perfect to dunk in your tea, coffee or even hot chocolate.
I’ve had these in Slovenia when I was growing up and I loved them. I’ve also been enjoying the storebought variety here in Australia that happen to be vegan as well, particularly in the past year.
I notice that within minutes I can inhale a large amount of these cookies. It’s like I blackout and next thing I’ve eaten ten of them!
I don’t know if it’s a good thing that now I’ve got a recipe for them, or it will simply just feed this addiction of mine, but I was curious to re-create them nevertheless.
If you haven’t had vegan Speculaas cookies before, trust me, you’ll be wondering how they’ve only entered your life now!
When I was doing research for this recipe, I came across some interesting facts about these gorgeous Dutch cookies. Not only are they filled with delicious spices, but they’re also typically in the shape of a windmill.
The traditional moulds are made of wood and they are baked in these moulds. This is why they are also called Dutch windmill cookies.
Creative ways to imprint these vegan Speculaas cookies
Since I want to make this recipe as accessible as possible, I wanted to give you plenty of ideas of how you can create a beautiful mould without needing an unnecessarily expensive Christmas rolling pin, some fancy moulds or cutters that will come out only for one month of the year (if that).
So, here are some creative ways to achieve beautiful imprints with things you’ll probably have around your home:
- Using the bottom of a glass that has a pattern
- A thick simple patterned doily
- The tip of a whisk
- An apple cutter
- Apple corer for the centre and a small tart/cupcake tin to cut the outside
- The inside of a lemon juicer
- Sides of a glass (use it like a rolling pin)
- Old fashioned crystal salt and pepper shakers (see image)
- A fork
- The base of old cutlery that is engraved
- A rosemary branch
- A potato masher
The main time of year when these cookies are popular is now, at Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas Day) which is on the 5th of December (Eve) and on the morning of the 6th of December.
This holiday is celebrated more than Christmas in countries like the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and northern France (French Flanders, Lorraine and Artois). These spiced cookies are also very popular in Germany.
Even though the sale of Speculaas cookies is predominantly around the holiday season, they are available all year round.
A beautiful gift
Since you may have gathered by now (if you’re familiar with our blog), we’re not so big on gift-giving. If we do exchange gifts, it’s typically in the form of experiences. Otherwise, if you really want to gift a physical item to a loved one, it can be food!
These cookies make the perfect little gift. Pop them in a jar and tie a little bit of natural twine, and voila! Maybe you can be a bit fancy and also add a little flower or a branch of some greenery when tying the twine. Now, this is the type of gift that I love!
These vegan Speculaas cookies will make your whole house smell like Christmas as they are flavoured with a range of warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, aniseed, clove and ginger.
If you like a strongly spiced cookie, you can leave the dough to sit in the fridge for a couple of days before rolling out and baking. This will infuse those flavours even more and make for stronger flavoured vegan Speculaas cookies.
A couple of tips
Below are five things to keep in mind when making these vegan Speculaas cookies:
- If you want a crunchy cookie on the outside and soft and crumbly on the inside, bake it for less time.
- If you want the stamp (whatever you use to imprint the dough) to be dominant, you want to stick to the lower heat and longer time that is suggested in this recipe.
- These cookies will keep in an airtight container or jar for up to one week. Or if you’re super organised, you can bake them well in advance and freeze them. When you’re ready to use them, thaw them completely and then store them in a jar or container.
- If you plan to put icing on the cookies, do so after they have completely defrosted.
- Don’t be intimidated by the spices that are used. They are pretty accessible in supermarkets and bulk food stores.
Traditional Speculaas cookies use rosemary extract, you are welcome to use it if you have some on hand.
I hope you enjoy these crispy, fragrant beautiful vegan Dutch spiced cookies as they are perfect to create that winter cosiness that we all want.