On the 7th Day of Christmas…Speculaas!

IMG_0449Okay, I’m not gonna lie.  Speculaas cookies are a total b#*@h to make…but you can’t deny it, they are so lovely.   I tend to shy away from things that take a lot of time, but I’ve had my speculaas molds for about 6 years and they were still brand new.  Not anymore!  I did it.  I spent 12 hours pressing, cutting and baking these puppies to ship out to friends.  Now my molds can go back into the cookie cutter drawer for another 6 years until I conveniently forget how tedious they were to make and then I’ll try again!   I know I’m not really selling this to you as a cookie recipe, but what good is winter if not to zen out a whole day and make something completely beautiful in the kitchen? 

My mom bought me these gorgeous molds for Christmas one year. I used a small brush to coat the molds with confectioners sugar between each pressing.

My mom bought me these gorgeous molds for Christmas one year. I used a small brush to coat the molds with confectioners sugar between each pressing.

Coat your surface with confectioners sugar as well so the dough doesn't stick when you roll it out.

Coat your surface with confectioners sugar as well so the dough doesn’t stick when you roll it out.

I rolled out small chunks at a time, pressed them into the mold and gently rolled over the back before carefully releasing them.

I rolled out small chunks at a time, pressed them into the mold and gently rolled over the back before carefully releasing them.  I found that the dough was easier to work with when it wasn’t as cold as the recipe suggested. 

Once I pulled them out of the mold, I tidied the edges with a fluted circle cutter.

Once I pulled them out of the mold, I tidied the edges with a fluted circle cutter.

The roosters had to be hand trimmed with a small knife.

The roosters had to be hand trimmed with a small knife.

These cookies don't spread much during baking so they are safe with a small gap between them.

These cookies don’t spread much during baking so they are safe with a small gap between them.

Fresh out of the oven...after 65 minutes!  I swear you are drying these more than baking them!

Fresh out of the oven…after 65 minutes! I swear you are drying these more than baking them!

The roosters fresh from the oven!

The roosters fresh from the oven!

The recipe I used definitely wasn’t my favorite in the world…the lesson I learned is to read the comments first before diving into a recipe online.   My advice for these is to find a recipe with higher ratings or tweak this one to your taste.  They are good with coffee or tea though, and again…very very pretty!    Here are some tips if you try this particular recipe:

  • Add a tiny bit more water than the recipe calls for.  I used a heaping 1/3 cup and it was much easier to work with.
  • Don’t chill the dough until it’s firm.  If you have a detailed or deep mold, it just makes it that much harder to press it in there.  You are freezing the cookies before baking anyway, so I found it didn’t make much difference if I started with it a bit softer at first.
  • Keep them in the oven longer than you think.  I’m pretty sure all of mine were a little under-baked.  After 65 minutes per sheet, I mostly just got bored with waiting….but I should have!   At 250 degrees, it’s going to be super hard to burn these, so be more patient than I was.
  • Make sure your spices are fresh.  This is one of those cookies where you really shouldn’t be using the ginger you’ve had in your spice cabinet for over a year or that nutmeg you still haven’t used since college.

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