Speculaas (Saint Nicholas Cookies) – 12 Days of Cookies
On the 12th day of cookies, my oven gave to me… Saint Nicholas Cookies!
And Sugar Shuttles, Pecan Tassies, Strawberry Thumbprint Cookies, Honey Walnut Cookies and Chocolate Wafers, Fig Swirls, Brown Sugar Crispies, Brides Cookies, Pistachio Cranberry Icebox Cookies, Dutch Cashew Caramel Cookies, Cottage Cheese Cookies, and a partridge in a pear tree (and new baking sheets)!
It’s been a wild ride! But this is my last batch, named for Saint Nick himself, and a delightful closer. They’re a crisp thick cookie, like a biscuit, laced with strong spices and topped with slices of almond for color. They feel homey and old-fashioned, with a simple elegance next to coffee or tea.
I’d like to thank my fellow bakers for joining me in this adventure: Jerry at Cooking by the Seat of my Pants, Judy at No Fear Entertaining, Sandy at At the Baker’s Bench, Courtney at Coco Cooks, Kelly at Sass and Veracity, and most of all Andrea at Andrea’s Recipes for getting the whole thing together.
And what you’ve all been waiting for: The Best cookie Award!
I had a hard time choosing, but across the categories of ease, attractiveness, giftability and most importantly taste, the winner is….
I loved these with a passion. Off to make more!
But first, the cookie of the hour:
Speculaas (Saint Nicholas Cookies)
Adapted from Gourmet, December 1971
makes about 2 dozen cookies
(recipe after the break)
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground anise
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons brandy
slivered almonds for decorating
egg white wash
electric mixer, parchment paper, baking sheets, rolling pin
1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Sift together flour, baking powder, and spices.
2. In another bowl with an electric mixer beat together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the brandy and mix to combine. Add the dry ingredients slowly, until the dough is well mixed.
3. On a lightly floured board roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut into rectangles about 1 1/2 by 2 1/2 inches. Place on a parchment-covered baking sheet. Press small slices of slivered almonds gently into the cookies and brush with beaten egg whites. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden and firm.