Yup, this is a Dutchie baking alright! I’m still in the “Sinterklaas” mood, this time I’ve baked some classic speculaasbrokken (spice cookies). The dough is fairly similar to that of the pepernoten I baked last week, but a tablespoon of egg adds some extra rise and softness to the finished product. I would say it’s a bit like gingerbread.
I have to say I haven’t been making things easy for myself, baking a lot of “brown” foods. They are so difficult to photograph, and I’m only just starting out with a DSLR camera. I found some excellent (e-)books on food photography, so I am not discouraged yet (I can recommend “Tasty Food Photography” by Lindsay)
The cookies I made were sort of soft, almost cake-like, I kind of winged it with the rolling out of the dough so it was probably a bit too thick. I left my rolling pin at my parents’ house, so I cleaned a wine bottle (we have plenty of those here, I don’t drink wine myself) and used that to roll it out instead. Student solutions! If you like a soft consistency in a cookie, go for a thicker piece, otherwise keep the dough at 0.5 centimeter as called for in the recipe. To make these a little more fancy, you could decorate with some (blanched) almonds. You can substitute the butter and milk with their dairy-free alternatives (in fact, this is what I did). You don’t bake these cookies separately, but break up one larger piece. The result is a rustic look which I really like – not everything has to look like it was made in a factory, on the contrary! This looks lovely and homebaked. In fact, you could just keep it in one piece and it would pass for a giant cookie.
200 gr all-purpose flour
100 gr dark brown sugar
100 gr butter, diced
pinch of salt
1 tbsp egg, beaten (keep the rest for the glaze)
4 tsp speculaas spices
1 tsp baking powder
1. Preheat the oven to 175C/Gas 3/350F. Grease a baking tray.
2. Sift the baking powder and flour into a bowl, then add the rest of the ingredients, except for the milk. Knead until the dough comes away from the sides. If the dough is too dry, add some milk, 1 tablespoon at a time. Shape the dough into a ball.
3. Roll the dough out on the baking tray until you have a 0.5cm/1/6 inch thick piece. You can roll it out in whichever shape you want, you’re going to break it up afterwards anyway.
4. Glaze the dough with the remaining eggwash, then decorate with almonds if desired.
5. Bake for 30 mins in the middle of the oven. Then leave to cool on the baking sheet until cool. Break or cut into pieces.