I’ve kind of saved the best (well, my personal favourite) French Fridays with Dorie recipe til last this month. When I saw Speculoos were on the list for December, I was overjoyed. I lived in Belgium for a year as an exchange student when I was 17 and fell in love with these ginger-bready cookies that are served with coffee everywhere.
Dorie says: Speculoos are crisp brown-sugar cookies that can be big or small (I make them very small), thin or thicker (mine are medium-thin), spicy or spicier (I lean toward spicier). In general, the predominant spice is cinnamon – indeed, some recipes I’ve seen use cinnamon alone – but a little ginger and a pinch of cloves make the cookies slightly more complex.
As far as I know, there’s no law against eating speculoos in March or June or even September, but no matter when you have them their smell will hint of Christmas and their flavor will just about exclaim it. In fact, in their native Belgium, they are the cookie that celebrates the name day of Saint Nicholas, the man we know as Father Christmas, or Santa Claus. These cookies keep really well, making them perfect to pack up in tins and give as Christmas presents.
Personally, I think they are perfect all year-round but they do scream “Holidays” and next year, now I know I can make them, I might just package them up for presents!
Since dough and I are at the beginning of our relationship, I did approach this recipe with a certain amount of trepidation. The dough needs to rest for at least 3 hours and I left it overnight which always scares me. However, being a Dorie Greenspan recipe, of course they turned out! I baked a batch before Neil was awake one morning and he woke to the smell of baking speculoos – there are not many better smells to wake up to! I had a few uneven cookies in terms of thickness – I was aiming for medium thickness ones, kind of like these ones by Lotus that accompany many a cup of coffee in Europe.
But that’s a minor point. The majority of them were even thickness and baked properly. The super thin accidental ones were a little on the crispy side but definitely edible still. I did not attempt anything fancy in terms of shape – simple stars as a nod to the season – but I honestly don’t think they need fancy shape when they taste this good. For me, having dough that worked and cookies that baked evenly was a good enough start!
A few people have asked for recipes from my French Fridays with Dorie entries. As a rule, the group does not publish the recipes on our blogs, rather, we would prefer it if you would purchase the book yourselves (trust me, you definitely want this book!) which you can do here on Amazon (great price right now) or here on Amazon Canada (it’s also on special!). Go on, treat yourself and join us in the new year!
This week, however, you are in luck – Dorie herself has published the recipe on her own blog so if you want to make these little beauties for yourselves, you can find the recipe here.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your support this year. Your readership and comments mean the world to me and it’s been a fantastic year for eat.live.travel.write because of you. Wishing you all health, happiness and good eats and drinks for 2011.