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Who doesn't love a good speculoos? Whether you eat them at the holidays, as the in-flight snack on a plane, or in the form of indulgent cookie butter, the spiced cookies are a delicious treat that's not too sweet. As the weather chills, make yourself a hot cup of tea and enjoy Milk Street's alongside.
Belgian Spice Cookies (Speculoos)
Speculoos are Belgian spice cookies with a light, airy crispness. Creaming the butter and sugar until light and fluffy is important, so make sure the butter is softened to cool room temperature, then beat in the stand mixer for the full 5 minutes. The dough can be cut in any shape, but the baking time may need to be adjusted if the cookies are much smaller or larger than 2 inches.
Don’t use light corn syrup in place of dark; light corn syrup lacks the caramel notes that mimics the flavor of the type of brown sugar (made from beets) traditionally used to make speculoos.
Makes: About 6 dozen cookies
3⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3⁄4 teaspoon ground coriander
3⁄4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 tablespoons white sugar
320 grams (2 2⁄3 cups) cake flour, plus more for dusting
1 1⁄2 teaspoons baking soda
1⁄8 teaspoon ground cloves
12 tablespoons (1 1⁄2 sticks) salted butter, cool room temperature
218 grams (1 cup) packed light brown sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons dark corn syrup
1. Heat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle position. Line 2 baking sheets with kitchen parchment. In a small bowl, stir together the cinnamon, coriander, and allspice. Measure 1 teaspoon of the mixture into another small bowl, whisk the white sugar into it and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking soda, cloves, and remaining spice mixture.
2. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar, and salt on low until combined, about 30 seconds. Increase to medium-high and beat until fluffy and pale, about 5 minutes. With the mixer running, gradually add the corn syrup and 2 tablespoons water. Using a silicone spatula, scrape the sides of the bowl, then mix for another 30 seconds. Reduce to low, add the flour mixture and mix until the ingredients just begin to form an evenly moistened dough, about 15 seconds.
3. Dust the counter liberally with flour and scrape the dough onto it. Gently knead the dough, giving it 2 or 3 turns, until smooth; it should feel moist and supple but should not be sticky. Divide the dough in half; wrap 1 piece in plastic and set aside. With your hands, pat the second piece into a rough 8-by-6-inch rectangle.
4. Using a well-floured rolling pin, roll the dough rectangle to an even 1⁄8-inch thickness. With a 2-inch rectangular or round cookie cutter (ideally with a fluted edge), cut out cookies as close together as possible. Use an offset spatula to carefully transfer the cutouts to one of the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 1⁄2 inch apart.
5. Gently pat the dough scraps together, then re-roll and cut out additional cookies; transfer the cutouts to the baking sheet. If desired, use a slightly smaller cutter of the same shape to imprint a decorative border (do not cut all the way through the dough) and use a toothpick to poke a few holes in the centers. Sprinkle the cookies evenly with half of the spiced sugar, then refrigerate uncovered for 15 minutes.
6. While the first sheet of cookies chills, repeat with the remaining dough and second baking sheet. Place the first sheet of cookies in the oven, then immediately refrigerate the second sheet. Bake until the cookies are firm and beginning to brown, 16 to 18 minutes, rotating once halfway through. Cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then use a wide metal spatula to transfer them to a wire rack. Repeat with the second sheet of cookies. Cool completely before serving.