19 October 2013

Spicy Speculoos


Eve 19/10/13

Egg Free, Nut Free 

Warning! When making these biscuit, your house will be filled with the smell of Christmas...



...Not that that is a bad thing!



Ever gone to a little, artisan coffee shop? Sure you have! When the coffee is served, what is beside the cup besides sugar? A biscuit! 
What type of biscuit? The biscuit that tastes of cinnamon sugar in biscuit form that you don't know the name of!
This is 'speculoos' biscuit



These biscuits are so buttery and crisp, it really is like eating cinnamon sugar in biscuit form.
Whilst in Holland, every time I went out for a coffee or hot chocolate, every drink was accompanied by some sort of biscuit, normally speculoos and the occasional biscotti. The speculoos biscuit was invented in Belgium, a neighbouring country to Holland. The speculoos biscuit is popular in Germany, Holland, Belgium and Northern France as it is baked for St. Nicolas' feast in December.



Because of the popularity of the biscuit, many companies now produce the biscuit (like lotus) to sell with coffee and hot drinks. The demand is so big now that the biscuits are even being sold in supermarkets and as a spread (like peanut butter) I haven't tried the spread yet but it sounds so good!




Ok, to the biscuits...
The biscuit dough is like a sugar cookies dough with added pizzazz. A homemade spice mix is the key to the best tasting biscuit. Sadly, ready-ground spices are just weird in the dough but if you don't have enough time, they will do. Speaking of time, the biscuit dough does need to rest 2 times... sorry...
When making the spice mix, the house will smell utterly amazing. Christmas spices at work...




The dough is really simple to make, all of the ingredients are probably in your house right now. Just throw your dry ingredients into a bowl and add butter and milk. Mix and there you have it! How simple was that? I chose to use a mixture of sugar as it gives the biscuits more flavour. Caster sugar is used for lightness and of course sweetness and the soft dark brown sugar for a treacle like taste and colour. Try to use the mix of sugar to give an authentic taste and appearance.


After chilling the dough, roll out on a floured surface. Don't worry if the dough cracks, just patch it back together. Cut out into a nice biscuit size and place on a tray. Back to the fridge they go! 
Once baked, leave to cool if you can but I know, sometimes the smell of Christmas in a biscuit is hard to resist!





Spicy Speculoos
Posted by Eve
Makes 36
Ingredients

Spice mix
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 3 Cloves
  • 1/8 Nutmeg
  • 3 Cardamon pods
  • 1/4 tsp. White pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. Ginger powder
Biscuit
  • 200g Plain flour
  • 80g Caster sugar
  • 45g Soft dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking powder
  • 125g Butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp. Milk
  • 3 tsp. Spice mix
  1. For the spice mix, Put all of the spices except for the already powdered ones into a dry frying pan. Put on a high heat and toast until fragrant.
  2. Put all of the spices into a pestle and mortar or coffee grinder and grind until a fine powder. 
  3. Sieve the flour, both sugars and baking powder into the bowl of a freestanding mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, food processor with the normal blade or normal bowl. 
  4. Add the butter and mix until a thick crumble consistency; almost like a sugar cookie. Add the milk and sieve in the spice mix and mix again until a combined dough.
  5. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes or in the freezer for 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 190c/ 180c fan/ gas mark 5 and line a baking tray with baking parchment. 
  6. Once chilled, roll out the dough to 5mm thick and cut in to 6cm x 3cm retangles or cut using a 4cm cookie cutter. Place on the lined tray and chill again for 10 minutes in the fridge.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes and then turn down the oven temperature to 150c/ 140c fan/ gas mark 2 and cook for another 10 minutes to crisp up and dry.
  8. Cool on the tray and serve with a good coffee. 

Enjoy!

The dough can be made the night before, just chill the dough overnight and continue with the recipe. The biscuits can be kept in an air-tight container for up to 1 week.

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