If the name sounds a bit too like a gynaecological instrument you could always call them Dutch Windmill Cookies, which is another name for them. Holland has brought some brilliant foods into my life, notably hagelslag and stroopwafels, and of course - speculaas biscuits. If you could distill Christmas and put it in a biscuit, you'd come up with something pretty close, that's the wonder of the speculaas. The magic comes from the spice mix, called speculaaskruiden, that's quite close to our mixed spice, but with extras like cardamon and white pepper. You can use mixed spice in your speculaas biscuits, or you can mix your own spices. I used the recipe from London Eats for mine.
- 110g rice flour
- 1½ tsp speculaaskruiden, or mixed spice
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 70g softened butter
- zest from a lemon and an orange (or a clementine, you've got hundreds of them in the house too, right?)
- 25g caster sugar
- 25g soft brown sugar
- 1-2 tbsp milk
- Mix the rice flour, spices and baking powder in a bowl and rub in the butter. Add the zest and sugars and stir to combine.
- Add the milk, an drop at a time, and mix with your hands until you have a soft dough. You might not need all the milk.
- Wrap the dough in cling film and rest it in a cool place for about 15 minutes.
- Roll out the dough between two sheets of baking paper to the thickness of a pound coin. Cut out your cookies and transfer to a baking sheet.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes at 180°C. Leave them to cool on the baking tray for at least 5 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack, or they'll fall to pieces!
If you're feeling creative (or just need a distraction from all the shopping, wrapping and writing cards that you still haven't done) you can decorate these with candied peel and dried fruits, just stick them on with a bit of water icing.