Speculaas are thin spiced biscuits, known for their caramelised crunchiness and their beautiful relief designs

140 gram butter, softened
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
½ cup (125 ml) granulated sugar
? cup (167 ml) brown sugar, firmly packed
1 large egg
1 teaspoon (5 ml) baking soda
½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) salt
1¾ cup (440 ml) plain flour
4 teaspoons (20 ml) speculaas spice (You can make your own! See below.)
¼ cup (60 ml) sliced almonds
Rice flour to dust the mould

Speculaas spice
2 teaspoons (10 ml) cinnamon
½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) nutmeg or mace
½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) ground cloves
½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) ground ginger
¼ teaspoon (1 ml) cardamom
Optional: ¼ teaspoon (1 ml) white pepper
Optional: ¼ teaspoon (1 ml) ground anise seed

Moulds are hard to find, but don’t let that stop you. You can use any biscuit stamp to decorate yours

How To

Cut the butter into cubes, and melt it in a saucepan over medium heat, while stirring. Remove from heat when it changes to a deeper colour. Allow to cool down.

Add sugar and beat into butter.

Add egg and vanilla, and beat well.

Sift in the flour, baking soda, and spices, and mix well.

Mix in the sliced almonds by hand. Be gentle, so that you do not crush them too much.

Let the dough cool down, preferably overnight in the fridge.

Dust the speculaas moulds with rice flour, making sure that the corners are covered in rice flour. This will make it easier to remove the biscuits from the mould.
Roll the dough, cut into rectangles that are roughly the size of the mould, and press into the mould.

Use a sharp knife, held flat against the wood, to cut away the excess dough. Don’t cut yourself!

Turn the mould upside down, and knock one end of it against your work surface. The biscuit will fall out – providing you used enough rice flour.
Repeat the previous two steps for the rest of the speculaas biscuits.

Pre-heat oven to 180°C.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.

Let it cool down, and store in an airtight container.

This recipe and photo is from the Rainbow Cooking website, where you will find a collection of mostly South African recipes, both traditional and modern.

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