When I was a child we celebrated St. Nicholas day on December 5th. It was always a lot of fun; my Opa and Oma would dress up as St.Nic and black Pete (memories of my Oma with a painted black face....oh boy), and we had lots of traditional Dutch treats. I must have been feeling Christmas sentimental (semi-mental, as my Dad would say!) because I wanted to make some speculaas, a treat we would always have for St. Nicholas day.
Speculaas is a spiced shortbread/shortcrust style cookie that's not quite a ginger snap because the texture is a bit different, and you also add pepper to the dough as a seasoning! I know, pepper!
After researching (aka-Googling!) a bunch of recipes I decided on Martha Stewart's version. The only thing I didn't do that was instructed was to freeze the cookies once they've been cut and placed on the baking sheet. Why didn't I do it, you may ask? Because I did the classic bad recipe maker move, and didn't fully read through the instructions! I already had my oven on, warmed up, and out-loud said, "damn you Martha!". I was mad. I think I may have been hungry.
Anyway, they turned out nicely so I'm not sure what the freezing business was all about. Generally if you freeze a shortcrust dough once it's cut out it is intended to preserve the shape/size of the cookie, but I didn't find I had a problem without freezing. So, anywho, you decide what you want to do in that regard!
But you can't skip the pepper!
Some versions of these cookies are flakier than others. This particular recipe comes up as a nice, crunchy style cookie. Either way, you've got some fantastic spices nestled away in there, including the secret ingredient-pepper, and that just makes for a nice treat.
We are visiting family over the holidays, and I am looking forward to it! I hope you can make up a batch of these traditional Dutch Christmas cookies (although, they are usually served as part of St. Nicholas Day on December 5th). No worries, I'm sure St. Nick won't mind!
Have a great weekend everyone!
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Hi, I'm Amy-Lyn!
I am the lady behind this here blog! I live in the sticks with my animals, my super handsome husband, and my
3 amazing kids!
Here you'll find things from recipes (gluten-free, paleo, and strait up junk food!), DIY ideas, thoughts on raising a son with autism, and whatever else pops into my brain! : )
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