Gevulde Speculaas koekjes (Dutch) or Almond-Filled spice cookies is the ultimate cookie recipe in the fall and winter. The creamy, slightly sweet almond paste filling, with a gingerbread cookie dough around it, baked crispy in the oven. And it’s quite an easy recipe These filled cookies are so tasty, you will keep eating them.
In the autumn and winter (holiday season) it's the time of year that a Dutch tradition, to eat almond-filled speculaas (the highlight of course is to eat this Dutch treat at Sinterklaas evening), is on its top.
The crispy outer layer, with a deep speculaas flavor, and then you get the creamy slightly sweet almond paste filling. And of course, whole almonds are pressed on top (because without the almond, this stuffed speculaas cookie is not finished).
And are you also a fan of traditional Dutch pastry? Then try this stuffed Almond-Filled spiced speculaas cake. Ideal for Sinterklaas evening (December 5th) or at a birthday party.
The History of Speculaas
In the 17th century, the golden age, where the DutchVOC did a lot of spice trade. All those spices were introduced in the Dutch kitchen and made that bakers tried them in their treats.
They mixed spices until they've found a good blend with the right amount of spices. And one of those blends was the speculaas mix as we know it
And there are a lot of cookie recipes and other treats that get the flavor from this spice mixture.
Ingredients for a Almond Speculaas Cookie
A full list of ingredients can be found at the end of this blog.
- Self-rising flour - This way the flour is already mixed with the baking powder. To this recipe some extra baking powder is added to make it aerier. If you don't have self-rising flour, use 1 ½ cup (200 grams) of all purpose flour and 1 teaspoon of baking powder instead.
- Speculaas spices - Indispensable for that warm taste of the filled cookies. You can compare them with gingerbread spices. If you want to make your own spice blend use this basic recipe. Mix the following spices in a small bowl: 4 tablespoons of ground cinnamon, 3 teaspoons of ground nutmeg, 3 teaspoons of ground cloves, 2 teapoons of ground anise seeds, 2 teaspoons of coriander and 1 teaspoon white pepper. But a small note: everybody has it's own spice mix. Sometimes ground ginger is added, or a teaspoon of cardamom (or the quantities are adapted). So bake, taste and adapt (if you want to).
- Dark Brown sugar - Not only gives color to these cookies, but also extra flavor. That's because of the molasses that has been added, which gives this treat a caramel taste. You can replace it with another type of sugar, but keep in mind that you will get a different taste.
- Almond paste - buy ready-made (as in this recipe), or you can quickly make it yourself with the following recipe for almond paste. Take 2 cups of raw almonds (without skin). With a kitchen machine you can easily make ground almonds of them. Or, if you want it even more easy, use 2 cups of almond flour instead. Add 1 ¼ cup of sugar, 2 teaspoons of lemon zest (or 1 teaspoon lemon juice), and one large egg. You can also add ½ teaspoon of almond extract for even more flavor. Mix everything well and cool for at least 1 hour in ther refrigerator (so the flavor can develop).
Preparation Dutch Speculaas Cookies
You can find a recipe that you can easily print at the bottom of the blog.
- In a large bowl of a food processor with a knife, put the dry ingredients: self-rising flour, speculaas spices, salt, cubes of cold butter, brown sugar and extra baking powder. Pulse that until you get granules with the size of a pea. If you don't have a food processor, use a bowl and cut the butter with two knives through the dough until you get those small grains. It is a labour-intensive process, but it certainly works.
- Then add the egg yolk, milk and slivered almonds and pulse.
- Continue until you have a cohesive dough. You can check that by taking a little dough from the bowl and squeezing it briefly in your hand. If it sticks together, the dough is ready.
- Remove the dough from the food processor and knead it briefly and form into a small disc. Wrap with a sheet of clingfoil and refrigerate for at least an hour (but you can make this dough up to two days in advance).
- Take a (mini) muffin tin and grease with butter. Roll out your dough into a thin slice of about ¼ inch (3 mm) thickness. Take a 2 inch (5 cm) diameter round cutter (mini cupcake tin) or 3 inch (9 cm) diameter (large cupcake tin). And don't you have a cutter? Then use a glass or bowl with a diameter of that size). Fill the cavity of the cupcake tin with the dough. This will be the bottom layer.
- Take a piece of almond paste and knead it lightly. Push into the cavity of your dough. Press the top flat.
- Take your dough and cut out a second layer of dough use a 2 inch (4 cm) cutter (mini cupcake form) or 3 inch (7 cm) (large cupcake form) and place it on top of the paste. Press the edges well. Take a whole raw almond and press it into the dough. Beat the egg and brush the top of the dough.
- Bake the filled gingerbread cookies for 15 minutes (small cookies ) or 20 minutes (larger cookies) in a preheated oven at 350 °F (180 °C) (bottom and top heat). Remove the mold from the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes. Carefully remove the filled cakes from the mold and allow to cool further on a wire rack.
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Gevulde Speculaas Koekjes (Dutch Almond-Filled Spice Cookies)
- Rolling Pin
- mini muffin baking tin
- 1 ½ cup self-rising flour
- 1 tablespoon speculaas spice mix
- ½ + ⅓ cups dark brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 stick Butter cold in small cubes
- 1 Egg yolk large egg
- 1 oz. almonds ,slivered
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 5 oz. Almond paste
- 1 egg size S, slightly beaten (or use half of a egg size L)
- 12 almonds whole, without skin
Ingredients you need per step are listed below the step in Italic
Prepare the Speculaass
- Place the self-rising flour, gingerbread spices, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a food processor with a blade. Pulse 3 times to mix everything together. (If you don't have a food processor, see the tips for an alternative method).1 ½ cup self-rising flour, 1 tablespoon speculaas spice mix, ½ + ⅓ cups dark brown sugar, ½ teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon salt
- Add the cubes of butter and pulse until you get pea-sized granules.1 stick Butter
- Then add the egg yolk, slivered almonds and milk and pulse until you get a cohesive dough. You can check this by putting a little dough in your hand and pressing it together. If it doesn't fall apart, your dough is ready.1 Egg yolk, 1 oz. almonds, 2 tablespoons milk
- Remove the dough from the bowl and quickly knead it into a flat disk. Wrap it in plastic wrap.
- Place in the fridge for at least 1 hour (or longer, see tips - Storage).
Baking and forming gingerbread cookies
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F (180°C).
- Grease a mini muffin tin with butter.
- Dust your work surface with flour and place the dough on it.
- Roll out the dough with a rolling pin to a thickness of ⅕ inch (3 mm).
- Take a 2 inch (5 cm) diameter round cutter (mini cupcake tin) or 4 inches (9 cm) diameter (large cupcake tin) and cut a circle out of the dough.
- Fill a baking tin with the dough, shape so that you get a bowl.
- Take the almond paste and knead it briefly. Fill the tin of dough and flatten the top.5 oz. Almond paste
- Go back to your dough and use a round cookie cutter of 2 inches (4cm) (mini cupcake tin) or 3 inches (7cm) (large cupcake tin) and cut out a circle.
- Place it over the top of the almond paste. Press the edges well.
- Take a whole almond and place the almonds on top of the dough (press slightly). Beat the egg and brush the top of the dough.1 egg, 12 almonds
- Brush the top of the cookies with beaten egg.
- Repeat for all cookies.
- Bake the filled speculaas cookies in the oven. 15 minutes for mini cookies, 20 minutes for the larger version.
- Let stand for 5 minutes and then carefully remove them from the pan. Let cool further on a rack.
- Use 2 cups of almond flour, 1 ¼ cup of sugar, 2 teaspoons of lemon zest, and 1 large egg
- 4 tablespoons of ground cinnamon, 3 teaspoons of ground nutmeg, 3 teaspoons of ground cloves, 2 teaspoons of ground anise seeds, 2 teaspoons of coriander, and 1 teaspoon white pepper.
- Refrigerator dough - The dough can be kept in the fridge for up to two days. It may be that it is a bit harder and difficult to roll out. Then take it out of the fridge fifteen minutes before rolling.
- Freeze the Dough - Do you have the leftover dough? Then wrap the dough in aluminum foil and then in a freezer bag or container. Let it thaw in the refrigerator. This way the dough will keep for 2 months.
- Room temperature - Store the cookies at room temperature in an airtight container for four days. You can heat them up at 160 °C for 10 minutes so that the crust becomes nice and brittle again.
- Freezing - Let the cookies cool and pack them in a freezer box. You can keep them for up to a month. Thaw at room temperature. Heat them at 160°C for 10 minutes before eating a crispy crust.