Gevulde Speculaas – Dutch spiced cookies filled with a sweet almond mixture. These spiced cookies are so much a part of the ancient spice-routes. I am posting these as part of the #creativecookieexchange for Holiday Baking.
Spices were a sign of affluence and a chance to make lots of money in the 16th century. The Republic of the Seven United Netherlands established the Dutch East India Company around 1600 to gain monopoly over the spice trade. The trade of spices, rubber, tobacco, coffee, sugar, tea etc from Dutch India contributed significantly to the growth and prosperity of the company and also the Republic. Spices didn’t just make trading companies rich, it established vast empires, led to wars and tipped the balance of power.
With spices like cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg etc making way into Dutch cuisine, the Speculaas made for a warming cookie during the winter months. Traditionally Speculaas are made and served on December 6th , Saint Nicholas’ day.
Speculaas are softer gingerbread like cookies and Gevulde Speculaas are almond filled spice cookies. A layer of spiced pie-crust ish dough, a layer of almond paste, another layer of the spiced dough and there you have it.
I love baking the Gevulde Speculaas for the Holidays. They are full of warming spices, with a soft nutty center. They also make great cookie exchange cookies because they are unique. Hence I made them for the Creative cookie Exchange where a few of my blogger friends are joining in to share their favorite Holiday cookie recipes.
Creative Cookie Exchange has slowed down lately, but nothing inspires cookie baking like winter holidays. We’ve got cookies to try; what’s filling your holiday tins this December? You can also use us as a great resource for cookie recipes. Be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our past monthly posts (you can find all of them here at The Spiced Life).
If you are looking for inspiration to get in the kitchen and start baking, check out what all of the hosting bloggers have made:
- Pecan Snowball Cookies from Food Lust People Love
- Chocolate Spritz Christmas Tree Cookies from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Espresso Sable Sandwiches with Blonde Chocolate Filling from The Spiced Life
- 2 tbs ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp whole cloves
- 1/2 tsp mace
- 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp cardamom pods
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp ginger powder
- 1 1/3 C almond flour
- 2/3 C sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 3/4 C all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 C brown sugar
- pinch of salt
- 2 Tbs speculaas spices
- 3/4 C unsalted butter room temperature
Assemble and Bake
- speculaas dough
- almond paste
- whole almonds without skins for decoration
- 1 large egg
- shallow baking pan 8×10 in, round with of diameter 10 inch (26 cm)
- Grind all the spices together and keep aside.
- Mix the almond flour and sugar and add in the egg. Combine until you get a thick mixture. Cover and keep in the fridge for up to two days.
- Mix the flour , baking powder, sugar, salt and spices in a bowl.
- Add in diced butter.
- Knead until smooth.
- Using your hands knead the dough until it comes together. Add in some milk, if the dough looks too dry.
- Form into tow balls and Wrap in clingfilm and put in the refrigerator for two hours
- Grease the pan.
- Preheat the oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas 4
- Divide the dough into two portions.
- Roll out both portions on a lightly floured surface, until they are exactly as big as the baking pan
- Put one of the layers in the pan and press it lightly to fill the bottom.
- Lightly beat the egg with a teaspoon cold water.
- Brush 1/3rd of the egg over the dough in the pan.
- Roll out the almond paste between two sheets of clingfilm, until it is exactly as big as the pan, and put it on the dough in the pan. (If you chose to make the paste soft, you can smear the paste instead of rolling it.)
- Press the paste lightly down to fit in the pan, and brush half of the remaining egg over it.
- Now put the second layer of dough on top of the paste, press it lightly, and make as smooth as possible.
- Brush the last 1/3 of the egg over the dough.
- Decorate the pastry with the almonds.
- Bake for 35 minutes in the preheated oven. ( keep and eye on it)
- Let cool completely before cutting. It will be difficult to wait, but do it anyway.