Thursday, December 6, 2012

St Nicholas Cookies ......Speculaas

Each year on the eve of St Nicholas we make Speculaas cookies to go in our St Nicholas stockings with our other gifts.

We have made this particular recipe from A Continual Feast for many, many years and always it is a delight to eat.

Now I know many people have fancy versions of Speculaas cookies with beautiful shapes and decorative tops and while I have always wanted to do this the fact remains that I don't have a cookie cutter to do them and I usually am cooking them in the wee hours of the morning of St Nicholas Day and thus don't have time to decorate before putting them in the bag.

I am quite resigned actually to this being our way of having Speculaas cookies each year even if it does not live up  to my 'decorative magazine' tendencies and I think they children would not be any more appreciative anyway, as these are very popular in our home.
So I would like to share the recipe we use each year that is so popular with our family.
Speculaas cookies~
1 Cup  butter, at room temperature
2 cups dark brown sugar (I have not found an appropriate substitute for brown sugar to cream with butter for this type of recipe and so special days we just go with the 'poison stuff' as we call it.)
2 eggs
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon cardamom
4 cups spelt flour (or plain if you desire)
1 teaspoon baking powder

Optional: icing sugar for decorative icing
In a large bowl, cream the butter with the sugar until fluffy.
Stir in the eggs one at a time, blending thoroughly after each addition.
Mix in the spices with the flour and baking powder, and stir gradually into the butter mixture.

Wrap in waxed paper or plastic wrap and chill for several hours or overnight. (If you are in a hurry, start the chilling process in the freezer: leave the dough in the freezer for about 20 minutes.)
On a floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/8 inch, or for larger figures to about 1/4 inch.
Cut out with cookie cutters, or trace around a heavy paper pattern with a sharp knife.
This dough can also be used with a cookie mold, or can be molded by hand.
 Bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned. If you like you cookies soft, remove them from the oven when they are just set -- the longer the baking time, the crisper the cookie.

This is the image we have used to cut around from each year
These are the shapes ready to put in the oven
And after they are cooked. They tend to expand and last night joined a little too much.
We like our cookies softer so don't cook them too long.

After this I wrap two up in glad wrap and put them in the stockings to be opened on St Nicholas Day by some very excited children.

Of course they taste fantastic with this Hot Chocolate too.

Blessings to you and your homes,

1 comment:

Sarah Harkins said...

I'm going to try this today- have you tried using sucanat instead of the brown sugar? I think it's just an unprocessed form of sugar, but it tastes a lot like brown sugar. I'm going to try it today with this recipe.


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