Spiced Star Cookies (Speculaas)

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Recipe photo
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield: 4 dozen small cookies

Recipe photo

Speculaas are traditionally thin, crisp, dark-brown windmill-shaped cookies that originated in the Netherlands. We believe, and our Cookie Companion is testament, that you don't need a mold to be able to enjoy these snapping crisp, delightfully spicy cookies. Try rolling out the dough and using your favorite cutters to make cookies that are just as elegant and fun.

Spiced Star Cookies (Speculaas)

star rating (9) rate this recipe »
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield: 4 dozen small cookies
Published: 09/21/2012

Ingredients

Cookies

  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mace (or substitute 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour, toasted almond flour preferred
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons milk (regular or low-fat, not nonfat)

Icing

  • 1/2 cup confectioners' or glazing sugar
  • 3 to 4 teaspoons milk or water

Directions

1) To make the cookies: In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, vanilla, spices, and salt.

2) Stir in the flour, almond flour, and baking powder, then enough of the milk to make a stiff dough.

3) Form the dough into two disks, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 2 hours or more.

4) Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease, or line with parchment, two baking sheets.

5) Working with one disk at a time, roll the dough 1/8" to 1/4" thick. Cut out shapes using your desired cutters, and transfer the cookies to the prepared pans.

6) Bake the cookies for 15 to 20 minutes, until they're lightly browned around the edges. Remove them from the oven and transfer them to a rack to cool. As they cool, they'll become quite hard.

7) To make the icing: Stir together the sugar and enough milk or water to create a thick but "drizzle-able" icing.

8) Drizzle the icing atop the cookies decoratively.

Yield: 4 dozen small cookies.

Reviews

1
  • star rating 05/06/2015
  • Linda from Pittsboro, NC
  • I made these cookies for a benefit for our farmed animal sanctuary. I used my own homemade vegan butter, but everything else was just as the recipe reads. They were so tasty and smelled so good that they almost didn't make it to the benefit!
  • star rating 12/10/2014
  • Kristine from TORONTO
  • made one cookie sheet full and threw out the rest. CARDBOARD DOLLARSTORE COOKIES!!!!!
    I am sorry this recipe was not a success. If you need any assistance feel free to contact one of our bakers on our hotline by calling 1-827-371-BAKE. Elisabeth@KAF
  • star rating 11/23/2014
  • Tanya from Michigan
  • Great recipe! I wanted to make a cookie using mace and cardamom. This is the perfect cookie for those spices. This recipe is simple to make, the spices make it really special. I used dark brown sugar because that's what I had and it worked just fine. I also ground almonds for the almond flour. Perfect cookie to serve with a nice hot cup of coffee or tea:)
  • star rating 03/13/2014
  • hgz217 from KAF Community
  • I'm not sure what I did wrong here. The dough wouldn't hold together for me to roll out. I ended up rolling it out as thin as I could and cut it into squares. After cooking the cookies, they tasted great, but just turned to crumbles. With all of the other 5 star reviews, I must have gone wrong somewhere. I might have gone wrong in the first step. I softened the butter, but maybe I didn't beat it with the sugar enough. The mixture was still a little crumbly then. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you
    It sounds like you may have had too much flour in your dough. Be sure to measure your flour accurately by volume if not by weight. Spoon and sprinkle the flour into your measuring cup rather than scooping it with the cup itself which will compact the flour. ~Amy
  • star rating 12/27/2012
  • Rolling_In_Dough from KAF Community
  • This is my favorite Speculaas recipe. I normally use wooden speculaas boards, but tried it this time with a cookie stamp and it worked really well, giving a very thin decorated cookie. From my batch, I noticed how much better the very thin cookies tasted compared to the slightly thicker ones....
  • star rating 12/22/2012
  • Alli from Madison, CT
  • I was very happy with how these cookies came out. They look pretty and taste great; the spices are really nice. I could not find almond flour so ground up some unsalted, roasted almonds in my food processor. It was more like almond meal than flour but it doesn't seem to have affected the outcome. These cookies are destined for gift baskets and I am sure they'll be well-received. As a side note, these cookies can be expensive to bake if you don't have all of the ingredients on hand. I couldn't find cardamom for less than $11, and that was on sale from $14. However, it is such a wonderful spice that I am now glad to have it in my spice cabinet and look forward to finding more uses for it!
  • star rating 12/10/2012
  • Elaine from Delmar, NY
  • Delicious. I just took them out of the oven and the house smells great. Once cooled, I tasted one and had to resist taking another. Nice and crisp, with lots of spice. The dough was easy to work with. I'll be glazing them later and am tempted to present them on my cookie tray tied in the baker's twine - they look so cute that way!
  • star rating 12/06/2012
  • stives from KAF Community
  • It's St. Nicholas Day (December 6) and we wanted to celebrate the feast day by baking the traditional northern European speculaas/speculatius spice cookie with my St. Nicholas cookie cutters. I found this recipe on KA so thought it would be darn good or at least more or less fool proof. But I can't say that I am enthusiastic about it--yet I gave the recipe a generous four stars with the remote chance that it may have been 'operator error' that produced these lack luster cookies. We found the flavor disappointingly dull and in truth the cookie more like 3 stars. I have to admit that my mace was old so I subbed in the suggested fresh ground nutmeg and maybe that was the flaw in my plan. The other spices were purchased new from the spice merchant. And I even used the toasted almond flour. I guess I was looking for a Biscoff (the wildly popular cookie you get on Delta airlines) Speculaas flavor. Anyway, the good points: the dough, after a two hour's chill, rolled out thinly and beautifully on my Silpat mat and then I just removed the excess dough from around the rather complex shapes and placed the mat and all on my cookie sheet. This way they came out very thin and the fussy cut-out process was fairly effortless. I also read on another Speculaas site that the edges are not to brown in any way so I kept a sharp eye on them in the oven. I hope KA comes up with a really good Speculaas recipe--one that maybe even uses the old fashioned molds. That would be a fun addition to the KA recipe archives and/or a fun blog write-up.
  • star rating 11/25/2012
  • Davidk from Yankton SD
  • Excellent spice cookie. I didn't have almond flour so I replaced it with the same amount of APF and it turned out fine. I rolled the dough really thin (make sure the dough is cold) for a nice delicate cookie. I also used a round cutter so it was easier to transfer to a cookie sheet. Thanks KAF!
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