Our next recipe is for Speculaas, otherwise known as those addictive little Biscoff cookies they hand out on Delta Airlines. This is a simple recipe for a type of Dutch or Belgian shortbread with warm spicesL clove, nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon. Note that the directions in the book erroneously refer to cardamom, which was eventually left out of the recipe (they were tested both with and without).
This round, we’re joining forces with Club Baked for a Baked-Along since our schedule happens to line up. Baked Sunday Mornings is happily serving as host for the Speculaas. As a result, our date is extended to February 1. We’ll work out details between now and the end of the month. And check out the Club Baked P&Q on the recipe here!
Yield: About 24 two-inch round cookies
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teasponn baking soda
1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 stick) butter, cool but not cold, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and salt.
Drop the butter over the flour mixture, and use a large fork or a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse sand.
Add the beaten egg and orange zest, and cut the mixture again until just combined.
Use your hands to knead the dough (do not overwork it) until it forms a ball. The dough should be slightly sticky and break apart easily, but shouldn’t stick to your hands. Cover it in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Unwrap and divide the chilled dough into two equal portions. Place one on a lightly flour-dusted work surface and return the other to the refrigerator.
Roll the dough into a 1/4-inch-thick round. You may have to flip and lightly flour the dough a few times while rolling ti out to keep it from sticking. Use any cookie cutter (a rectangular or oblong shape is the most traditional) to cut out the cookies, and transfer them to the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch of space around them. Extra dough scraps can be refrigerated and rerolled once more, if desired.
Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with coarse sugar. Bake the cookies for 15 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through the baking time. The tops of the cookie should be just a bit dry and dark brown. Remove from the oven and place the baking sheets on wire racks to cool for 5 minutes. Use a spatula to transfer the cookies to the racks to cool completely.
Speculaas can be stored at room temperature, tightly covered, for up to 5 days.
Excerpted from Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. Copyright © 2010 by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. Excerpted by permission of Stewart, Tabori & Chang, an imprint of Abrams. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.