Christmas · French Fridays with Dorie · In the Cookie Jar

FFwD: Speculoos

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It’s Friday, and I’m finally posting another French Fridays with Dorie recipe again.  I think it’s been a month since the last one, and I’ve got a few of November’s recipes – the images, anyway – hanging around, wanting to be loved by a little girl or boy…no, wait, that’s the misfit toys.

Anyway – I was totally happy to see that one of December’s recipes was a cookie recipe.  I bake a lot of cookies in December, and it’s nice to have a new recipe or two to play with.

Enter the Speculoos!

Now, I was wondering if “speculoos” was the same thing as “speculaas” and it seems that the dough is pretty much the same – heavily spiced with cinnamon and cloves and maybe nutmeg or ginger, depending on the recipe.  The difference I noticed is that often speculaas is a pressed cookie, similar to springerle, while speculoos are simply rolled out and cut. 

So, on with the baking.

I actually made the dough last Friday, intending to bake them AND write the post about them that same day.  Of course, that didn’t work out, but that’s okay – the dough kept nicely in my fridge until yesterday when I FINALLY cut the cookies out and baked them.

The ingredients are simple – flour, ginger, cinnamon, ground cloves, salt, baking soda…

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An egg…

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Some butter…

Oh, and here’s my little trick to transform refrigerated butter into room temperature butter.  I place a stick of butter in the cover of my butter dish and microwave it for ten seconds on high.  I think the protection of the butter dish cover keeps the butter from getting too soft or melting.  Anyway, that’s what works for me.  Thought I’d share.

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And, of course, sugar.  Half light brown…

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And half white.  I just pressed the brown into the lower half of my one-cup measure and added the white on top.  I know.  You’re blinded by the dazzling cleverness here. 

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So, into the mixer went the butter…

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And then the sugar.  And, because I am weird, I had to take a picture of this teeny tiny bit of sugar-encrusted butter on one corner of the paddle.  I thought it was pretty.

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After the sugar, in goes the egg.

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And, finally, all the dry ingredients.

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It’s a soft dough, and it smells yummy right now. 

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Into the fridge it goes.

Oh, funny story about the bag in the picture below.  In case you can’t read the handwriting, it says “Beef Bones…Don’t throw out – Jayne.”  That’s not me leaving a message to other readers (and it’s currently not a bag of beef bones any more, either.) – it’s a message TO ME from Bill in reference to a, heh heh, very funny little mishap in which I accidentally threw out the beef bones Bill had bought for a batch of pho.  See, the beef bones were in a regular ol’ plastic shopping bag – I think it was white.  Anyway, it wasn’t see-thru.  This had to have been months ago.  Anyway, it was the night before trash day and I had gone down to get the bag of quahog shells out of the freezer.  Why did we have a bag of empty shells in the freezer?  Because when the weather is warm, if we put empty shells or fish bones in the trash outside, they start to smell.  So we stick them in the freezer until trash day, thus ensuring that our neighbors won’t hate us.  Now, I knew there were actually a couple of bags of shells.  I knew the big black trash bag was the main one, and I knew there were one, maybe two, smaller bags.  I felt this white bag and it felt like shells TO ME, so I tossed it in the trash.  Those were the beef bones.  It wasn’t a huge terrible financial loss – I think it’s five dollars for a whole beef leg’s worth of bones – but still.  Oops.  So the next time Bill bought beef bones, he portioned them out in clear bags and wrote that little note on one of them, just in case I went on some sort of bag-tossing frenzy.  And I wash out and reuse bags whenever possible, so THAT is the long story of why it says that thing about the beef bones on the bag of speculoos dough.

Okay, back to the cookies.

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Yesterday I rolled out the dough a bit more and quickly baked off all the cookies.  The smelled heavenly, and they are strongly addictive.  I think I ate six.  Or twenty.  I don’t remember.  I think I blacked out.

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Last night I thought it would be nice to get some pictures of the cookies and some tea in the living room where our Christmas tree is.  So at first I made my tea in a mug (the very first picture of the post) and took some pictures, but I wasn’t really pleased with them, so I poured the tea into this little cup that was my grandmother’s – I have a portion of a set – and placed a few speculoos on the saucer.  Put that all on an end table with a napkin in front of the tree and proceeded to take some pictures.  They would have been lovely except for the very visible dust particles floating on the surface of the tea.  How could they get dusty INSIDE a closed hutch?  I don’t know, but they did.  So this is the only picture that doesn’t show dust.  I like it.  Warm and cozy.

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Now, the top of the table is clear glass, and as I was taking my dusty pictures, Softie decided to get in on the act.  I think she’s feeling put out because Scratchy has appeared on this blog a couple of times recently.  Softie just wants equal time.  She hopped onto the little storage area beneath the glass top and wouldn’t leave.

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So I took her picture.

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She looks like she’s about to attack a gazelle or something.  Santa had better not let her scoot up the chimney or his reindeer are in trouble.

And that’s my Speculoos story. 

If you’d like to check out the other French Fridays with Dorie stories today, head on over to this post and peruse the comments section.  Because of the holiday season, December, like November, is another month where we can post the recipes in whatever order works best, so there will be some Speculoos, I’m sure, along with posts about the other four December recipes.  All drool-worthy, I’m sure!

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12 thoughts on “FFwD: Speculoos

  1. I love your cookie shape! Your story is a cute one. I bet everyone is extra careful on trash days now. 🙂 Beautiful photos and your cat is adorable.

  2. LOL = cute story, and lovely cookies. Your teacup is very pretty – what’s a little dust between friends? Also interesting that speculoos and speculaas are different – I had assumed they were interchangable.

  3. Your photos are FABULOUS! All of them! I just started reading your blog recently and thoroughly enjoy it. Thanks from another Kitchen Witch!

  4. Pretty cool. Love the cutter you used. I think I had a choice between using a star design or a dolphin… The star won. (Obviously, it is time to invest in some cookie cutters!). Beautiful pictures – I love everyone’s take on these recipes.

  5. What a great post! I enjoyed all the mini stories within it. Your cookies look great. I get dust inside my cabinet too! Must be the same dust fairies visiting our houses. I also have two cats who look just like Softie. However, they steer clear when I get the camera out. 🙂

  6. Love your cookie shape! And your kitty, and those photos of the cookie dough! Why is is that cookie dough is so much more lust worthy than the actual cookie?

  7. Speculoos and speculaas are definitely not the same.
    Speculaas is a Dutch cookie originating in the 17th century. As the Dutch had a fleet sailing the Far East, they brought all kinds of spices with them. They used several of these in speculaas: cinnamon, ginger, pepper, cloves, coriander and cardamom.
    Speculoos is a Belgian cookie. The Belgians never had such fleet and for them those spices were very expensive and thus not used for cookies. Still the Belgian bakers/confectioners liked cookies too, so they made a speculaas lookalike and named it speculoos. They only used a little cinnamon and caramelisation to get the typical taste of speculoos.
    In dutch the postfix “loos” means “without”, so speculoos is like speculaas WITHOUT the spices.

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