Speculaas, or speculaaskruiden (speculaas-spices) is the Dutch name
for a blend of oriental spices consisting mainly of cinnamon, cloves
and nutmeg. It is typically used for cookies and the like, which may
seem a bit surprising considering the sharp, dominant flavors of the
The cookies using speculaas-spices are also called speculaas (or
the diminutive speculaasjes). They are often sold abroad as Windmill
cookies, because they are in the shape of, of course,
windmills. However, in Holland, speculaas is most commonly
associated with Sinterklaas, the traditional Dutch Santa Claus
I could not find much on the history of this particular blend of
spices. It has been used in Holland for several centuries, since ships
of the Dutch East India Company returned from the colonies with
oriental spices. However, it is likely that this particular blend of
spices was already used in Indonesia, because several traditional
dishes use this mixture. For instance, take a look at the delicious
There's no official recipe for speculaas. However, the
cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg are generally part of the mix.
Following is a typical recipe for speculaas-spices, but feel free to
play around with the ingredients and proportions. Alternatively,
speculaas-spices can be bought in Holland as a ready-made mix.
And finally, a recipe for yummy Windmill cookies
. If you really want
to make these cookies right, buy the traditional cookie forms/wooden
moulds. It's fun to have kitchen utensils with only one
single practical use
. Alternatively, they form nice kitchen decorations
if you're into that kind of thing
- chop up the unpeeled almonds
- mix all the other dry ingredients in a mixing bowl
- add the butter, and cut it into tiny pieces with two knives
- add the almonds
- mix the dough, while adding the milk spoon-by-spoon. The dough should be consistent but not too runny.
- If you have a wooden cookie mould, add some flour to it, and press
some dough into it. Cut away any excess dough. Hit the mould onto your
kitchen counter to remove the cookies.
- If you don't have a wooden mould, sprinkle flour onto your
clean kitchen counter, and roll out the dough to a flat sheet. Next, cut
out the cookies using cookie forms, or a 5 cm (2") glass.
- Butter the cookie sheet (not necessary if you have a non-stick
one), and arrange the cookies on it.
- Preheat the oven to 180 C
- Bake the cookies for 20 min. If you use more than one cookie
sheet, bake each sheet one-at-a-time.
- After baking, remove the cookies from the sheet immediately, and
turn them upside-down.