In Germany, Christmas just ain’t Christmas without a few Spekulatius – another traditional cookie for you to add to the evil Weihnachtsteller.
Spekulatius are thin, crunchy, caramelized and slightly browned biscuits with a pattern or image stamped on them. As well as a German Christmas staple, they are also popular in the Netherlands, where they’re known as Speculaas; France, where they’re called Speculoos or Dutch windmill cookies; and Belgian where they’re called spice or biscoff cookies.
Spice up your life
The unusual name might come from the Latin ‘speculum’, or mirror, which refers to the images molded from a wooden stamp to decorate the cookie. The name could also come from the Latin word ‘speculator’ from St. Nicholas’ epithet “he who sees everything.” But it might simply derive from the Dutch word for spice “’Specerij.’
Wherever the name comes from, Spekulatius are a regular feature on most Weihnachtsteller and worth a try if you’ve not sampled one yet. Not quite as morish as Vanillekipferl, they’re still worth baking at home – with or without the special pattern stamped on them. They taste just as good without.
- 100g/3½oz plain flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 50g/2oz soft brown muscovado sugar
- 1 tbsp whole milk
- 75g/2½oz butter
- 2 tbsp candied peel, finely chopped
- flaked almonds, to garnish (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
- In a bowl, mix together the flour, cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, baking powder, salt, muscavado sugar, milk, butter and candied peel until well combined.
- Using your hands, bring the mixture together as a dough.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll out to a 0.5cm/¼in thickness.
- Using a cookie cutter, cut out shapes or circles from the dough and place them onto the lined baking tray. Decorate the tops of the biscuits with flaked almonds, if using.
- Transfer the biscuits to the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until golden-brown. Set aside to cool on a wire rack, then serve.
Recipe from: www.bbc.co.uk