Speculaas

From time to time I get messages, with attachments, from people that would just love to have some of their favourite food that they used to have before they were diagnosed with coeliac disease or they went on a gluten free diet. This recipe is my gluten free version of one of those attachments. 

When it comes to converting recipes it is extremely important to have a good wheat based recipe to start with. I'm happy to report that the original recipe was put on Bakespace by someone who grew up with these delightful Dutch spiced biscuits. 

'My father was Dutch baker and specialized in these classic Dutch cookies. I was determined to find a recipe that would rival the ones he used to make. We called them Windmill cookies back then because he used a windmill mold to shape the dough. I found a passable recipe on Martha Stewart's site a while back, but I really wanted to perfect the spices. I was able to find a great combination of spices on a Dutch website, so I combined the recipes and came up with these! Now I just need the windmill mold and they will be perfect....'

The texture of these biscuits may be slightly different to commercial Speculaas however the feedback I have received so far from wheat eating taste testers (thank you very much Saturday morning Pilates crew) is that they are fantastic, they prefer these ones & where can they buy a packet :). 

 Ingredients

300 g Bakers' Magic Gluten free flour

150 g Butter 

1 tsp Vanilla 

100 g Caster sugar 

125 g Dark brown sugar 

1 Egg  

1 tsp Bicarb of soda 

4 tsp Speculaas spice*

1/2 tsp Salt 



* Speculaas spice: 

8 parts Cinnamon 

2 parts Nutmeg 

2 parts Ground cloves 

1 part White pepper

1 part Ground ginger 

1 part Cardamom 

This combination of spices can be found in recipes dating back to the fifteenth century.  

Method

Cream butter, vanilla, sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and continue beating until well combined.

Mix together the dry ingredients and slowly add to the butter mixture. Beat until the dough is uniform. The dough will need to be refrigerated until it is firm enough to roll out. Either wrap the dough in plastic cling wrap or put in a plastic bag and refrigerate for a couple of hours.

Line 2 or 3 baking trays with baking paper. 

Roll out the dough between 2 sheets of baking paper to a thickness of 5 mm. Place the dough between two sheets of baking paper. To ensure the biscuits are an even in thickness follow this tip. Find two placements (dinner setting) place them on either side of the dough (my placemats are 4 mm high). For the Speculaas pictured above I used stainless steel spacers (5 mm) instead of placemats. I find it easier to work with this dough when it is between two sheets of baking paper. When rolling out the dough ensure the rolling pin is wide enough to span the dough and part of the two placemats/spacers. My rolling pin is large – 61 cm from handle to handle. Initially when rolling the pin may not necessarily rest on the placemats/spacers, however, when the dough is the same thickness as the placemats it will. At this stage the dough should be all the same thickness. 

Cutting & Baking

Preheat oven to 170 C.

Gently lift off the top piece of baking paper, put it back down on the dough. Holding on to both sheets of baking paper on both sides of the dough gently flip the dough over. Lift off the top piece of baking paper - do not discard. 

I used an egg shaped cutter for the Speculaas shown. Transfer the cutout dough to a baking tray. The dough will expand a considerable amount when baking - leave plenty of room. I had 15 biscuits on my trays. Left over dough can be rerolled. If the dough is too soft to cut out place it back in the fridge (or freezer) to firm it up.

The length of time required to bake the biscuits will depend on the size you make them & your oven. Bake for ~12 mins turning the trays halfway through baking. 

Simply enjoy!