Thursday, December 29, 2011

Cookies for Friends...Speculoos

I have the greatest friends in the world! 

Exhibit A: It's the day before Christmas Eve, and I haven't started my holiday baking.  My wonderful cousin Whitney came to save the day and help me.  :)  Love her!

I am truly blessed with many different people who have all touched my life in some way.  This year I have some really good friends abroad that I have not seen since our wedding/honeymoon and won't get to see over Christmas.  Two of them are in Europe working and enjoying newlywed life together, and one of them is in India right now, traveling the world!  Since I wouldn't be able to see them this year, I made them cookies...virtual cookies.  With promises to make them again when they arrive back in the states.

One of our good friends Abe took off shortly after our wedding for a year of traveling.  He started out in Amsterdam, then to Africa, then to Turkey, Greece...some more places I'm sure I'm missing, and is now in India.  This summer, whenever we would go to dinner or out for drinks, or just talking about making drinks, Abe would want Lemoncello.  I think he made me a drink with Lemoncello for his good-bye party, though I'm not absolutely positive.  Regardless, when I saw these cookies I just had to make them for Abe. 

Unfortunately I was not thrilled with the results.  The dough ended up being really wet, the lemon candied wheels were hard to chew through and we ended up taking most of them off the cookies.  The first couple of batches actually cooked up looking like Pacman. 

Eventually we ended up freezing the dough and then cutting thick slices and cutting back the cooking time considerably.  This made somewhat presentable cookies that we ended up serving and surprisingly had some friends and family who really enjoyed them.  Whitney and I had a blast laughing at how disappointed we were in how the cookies turned out after all the work we put into them.  While they tasted better than I expected I am not sharing the recipe because I was not happy with it.  I do however love the idea, so I will definitely be re-working it and posting a Lemoncello cookie in the future.

We miss you this Christmas holiday Abe and hope you are having a great one!  By the time you make it back to us I will have perfected a Lemoncello cookie to make for you.

Now for the cookies that really turned out well:

On our honeymoon we took a detour to visit our friends in Brussels on our way back from Greece. Trisha and Michael got married and moved to Brussels about 4 months before we got married. We were thrilled that we were planning a European honeymoon and would be able to visit them in Brussels. We had a wonderful time visiting them and they were awesome hosts!

First let me state that Trisha is just as much of a chocolate fan as I am. Second, Belgium chocolate is AMAZING!! My husband will tell you that Swiss chocolate is better, but I'm on the fence kind of leaning towards Belgium. When I asked Trisha about getting some chocolate her eyes lit up and she told me that they don't have chocolate chip cookies in Belgium, they have Speculoos. My thoughts, "Really, something can replace chocolate chip cookies???". Regardless she pulled some out of her cabinet that she had bought just for us and we had some. They were delish!

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out dough
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp unsweetened coco
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp nutmeg
7 Tbs unsalted butter, room temperature and cubed
1/2 c granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
Raw sugar for sprinkling


In a medium bowl, combine flour, cinnamon,salt, baking soda, ginger, cloves, coco, cardamom, and nutmeg.

Beat together the butter and sugars until creamy, about 3 minutes.  Add egg and beat until just combined.

Gradually add in the flour mixture, until the dough is just moistened.

Dust a counter or work surface with flour, turn the dough onto it, and knead it just a few times until it comes together.

Lightly flour some parchment paper and place the dough on top.  Cover with another piece of parchment paper.  Roll the dough out until it is about 1/4 inch thick.  Place the dough as it is with the parchment on either side in the fridge to chill for at least 2-3 hrs and as long as overnight.

One the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 250-degrees F. 

Using a 1 1/2 in diameter cookie cutter, or a shot glass like us if your at loss, cut out the cookies and place them on the baking sheet. 

The dough was a little hard to work with, so we used an offset spatula to help move the dough from the counter to the baking sheet.  A butter knife would also work well.

Sprinkle the cookies with raw sugar if desired and bake for 7-10 minutes, until they are almost set and lightly golden.  Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

These cookies will now always remind me of our honeymoon and visit with Trisha and Michael. Merry Christmas! We miss you, can't wait to see you again, and hope you have an amazing Christmas!


Amanda's Tips:
When baking it is always best to add things in at room temperature, with the exception of pastries which call for cold butter.  Therefore allow any butter, milk, buttermilk, eggs, etc to sit on your counter 30 min to 1 hr before you start baking.

No comments:

Post a Comment