Speculaas ranks high on my list of favorite Dutch treats. It's a super thin, crunchy and slightly spicy shortcrust cookie. That probably doesn't sound overly exciting, but trust there is some kind of perfection in the simplicity. Traditionally, these cookies were baked in celebration of Sinterklaas, but (lucky for me) are available year round and often served with coffee.
In terms of taste, the best way I can describe speculaas is similar to gingerbread cookies, but much lighter, much more crispy and without the overpowering molasses flavor (therefore much more delicious).
Remember the craze? It's made with speculaas.
I love speculaas so much - I made a cocktail inspired by it. We're drinking dessert again for this week's Gezellig Hour, so bring out your cocktail shaker and put on your stretchy pants!
Ingredients (makes 3):
2 cups half & half
1 teaspoon speculaas spice (see note at the bottom to make your own)
1 vanilla bean, split open lengthwise
7 tablespoons brown sugar
4 oz bourbon
2 speculaas cookies, crushed, plus more for garnish
1 tsp butter
1) In a saucepan, combine half&half, spices, vanilla bean and sugar. Heat on medium to a low boil, then remove from heat. Let everything steep for 1 hour, then chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
2) Place crushed speculaas on a small plate. Take each glass and run butter around part of the rim and gently roll the butter-covered portion in the crushed cookies (think of it as salting a margarita but with butter and cookie crumbs!).
3) In a cocktail shaker, combine the half&half mixture with bourbon and ice. Shake until chilled, strain and top with whipped cream 1/2 of a cookie.
*Note: If speculaas spice is not available, you can make your own by mixing 8 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ground cloves, 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper and 1/2 a teaspoon ground cardamom. Recipe via Veggiestyle with Daphne.