Monday, December 5, 2011

Preparations for Saint Nicholas Day

Today is eve of Saint Nicholas day, so it is good time to bake few speculaas cookies ahead.

Speculaas for Saint Nicholas day

During year 2011 I have tried few times speculaas or german style spekulatius, with or without almond or honey. After my experiences I would see two different uses for speculaas: decoration and edible cookie. 
Speculaas which will be used more likely as table decoration only will work best if dough contains honey and only little or not at all leavening. This will make sure design will remain well while basic features for edible cookie will suffer. 

Speculaas as cookie itself is very simple, and might mean loss of some details if recipe is basic: brown sugar, butter, flour and eggs. Usually genuine speculaas molds are with less details than my Saint Nicholas molds, so they will work better with sugar sweetened dough. After practise it is possible to get good result with authentic speculaas recipe, yet it might take few attemps. 

Speculaas under magnifying glass

What is speculaas? I would define it as spicy cookie. Some sources say it is gingerbread, which is misleading in my perspective. Few recipes I tested uses spekulaaskruden, spice mix for speculaas, and combination might use 9 different spices. Such spectrum of spices will take speculaas on it's own type of cookie. 

I wish someday I get opportunity to taste speculaas from Netherlands, speculoos from Belgium. After that I would understand more better fine nature of this cookie, suitable for celebration of Saint Nicholas.