Speculoos, or Speculatius, are lightly spiced little cookies that are often made with a special rolling pin, that imprints a design on the cookie. In this version the dough is formed into a log, then sliced; thus making them small and round like a button. To keep this idea going I put only a small round disc of frosting on the top of each one and sprinkled colored sugar or pearls on it. These cookies are quite small and dainty, with their edges sparkling with sugar, and the dab of frosting on top, each one is just a quick little bite of deliciousness.
I modified the original recipe to include a more elaborate mix of spices that make a nice blend with the light brown sugar and mild-flavored light molasses. You might wish to make these little gems somewhat larger than I did, if you wish to decorate the top surface with piping or add more colored sugar.
Yield: About 8 dozen cookies
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
- 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp. ground mace
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup (1-stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 Tbsp. mild-flavored (light) molasses
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 egg white
- sanding, or other decorative sugar
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- sprinkles, colored sanding sugar, or dragées
1. Whisk the dry ingredients (flour through salt) in a medium bowl; set aside. Using an electric mixer at medium speed, beat butter in a medium bowl until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add both sugars and molasses; continue to beat until mixture is smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla, mix for 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low; add dry ingredients and mix to blend well.
2. Scrape dough from bowl and divide into thirds. Using your palms, roll each piece of dough into an 8″ log. Wrap logs tightly in plastic or parchment paper and freeze for at least 3 hours.
I left mine overnight before baking. For neater edges, remove logs from freezer after 1 hour and roll on counter. Do Ahead: These cookies can be made up to 2 months ahead. Keep frozen until ready to bake.
3. Preheat oven to 375*F. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
4. Whisk egg white in a small bowl to loosen, lightly brush all over 1 log. Sprinkle with (or roll in) sanding sugar. Using a long slender knife, slice off a sliver of dough from each end of log to make ends flat. Cut log into 1/4″-thick rounds. Transfer to baking sheet, spacing 1/2″ apart; place in freezer while you cut the next log. (The cookies hold their shape better if you bake when dough is cold.) Repeat with remaining dough.
5. Bake the cookies for 11 – 13 minutes, until tops are golden brown and centers are almost firm. Transfer cookies to wire racks and let cool. Repeat with all of the baking sheets. Do Ahead: Cookies may be baked up to 2 days before glazing. Store airtight at room temperature.
6. Glaze: Mix powdered sugar and 1 – 2 teaspoons cold water in a medium mixing bowl. Add more water a little at a time if needed. Glaze should be quite thick. You may spoon about 1/2 tsp. glaze onto each button, or fill a resealable plastic bag with glaze and cut a small hole in 1 corner, and pipe an even circle onto the cookies. Decorate with sprinkles, colored sugar, or dragées, if desired.
Let stand on rack at room temperature for at least 30 minutes for glaze to set. Cookies may be stored at room temperature in a tightly sealed container.
SOURCE: Slightly modified recipe from Dorie Greenspan, via Bon Appetit.com