Posts Tagged ‘spice is nice’

I’m in the mood for cookies today, and winter spices seem like just the flavor. I’m not big on commercial cookies but I do have a soft spot for Biscoff.

A Belgian speculoos cookie, Biscoff are crunchy, flavorful, go great with coffee or tea, and can be (here’s the sad part) hard to find. They were at Costco for about a minute and then gone. Amazon would be happy to sell me a bunch but for inflated prices.

After some fruitless searching among the European delis in the area, I wondered if I could make my own. (Surely I could write reams of speculative fiction, if only I were fueled by speculoos. I had to find out.)

Good news! Stella Parks put together a recipe for a homemade version. You can dive into it here, with her explanation of why what should have been a simple process was not, and why some of the most important ingredients can get lost in translation.

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This recipe was a great place to start but not spicy enough for me. If you compare the original with what’s below, you’ll see I’ve boosted the spices considerably. I’ve also trimmed down the ingredients a little.*

Candi sugar was ok but it was hard to find and I found it a little too sweet. The kinako, or roasted soybean flour, was interesting but was a little too nutty and could lean toward burnt flavors.

I don’t know that these cookies have done much for my writing, but they are perfect for an afternoon coffee break. Enjoy!

Famartin, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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(adapted from Homemade Biscoff (Belgian Speculoos Cookies) Recipe)

Makes thirty-two 1 1/2 by 2 1/2-inch cookies


  • 150g (2/3 C.) deeply toasted sugar
  • 90g (6 1/3 T.) butter, softened
  • 4.75g (3/4 t.) baking soda
  • 2.5g (scant 1 t.) Ceylon cinnamon
  • .5g (scant 1/4 t.) ground or freshly grated nutmeg
  • .4g (fat 1/8 t.) kosher salt; for table salt, use half as much by volume or use the same weight
  • .25g (fat 3/16 t.) ground cloves
  • .4g (scant 1/4 t.) ground cardamom
  • .125g (fat 1/16 t.) ground anise
  • 15g (1 T.) water
  • 155g (1 1/4 C.) flour


1. With oven rack in lower middle position, preheat to 350°F. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine sugar with butter, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, cloves, cardamom, and anise. Cream on medium speed until fluffy, soft, and pale, about 10 minutes, pausing to scrape the bowl and paddle as needed if the sugar seems dense and compacted at the bottom of the bowl.

2. While creaming on medium speed, slowly drizzle in the water a little at a time. Once it disappears into the fluffy butter/sugar mix, reduce speed to low and add the flour all at once. Continue mixing until the dough begins to gather around the paddle.

3. Turn the dough onto a clean surface, and knead gently to form a ball. Pat into a rectangular shape, then dust with flour, above and below. Roll to a thickness of ~3/16-inch, using a ruler for guidance. Slide a spatula or bench scraper beneath the dough to loosen, and brush away any excess flour.

4. With a fluted pastry wheel, pizza cutter or blade, cut the dough into 3/4-inch strips, then cut crossways to form 2-inch rectangles. Cut the scraps with cookie cutters or bake as is. With an offset spatula, transfer the cutouts and scraps to a parchment-lined cookie sheet, leaving ~half inch between each piece to account for spread.

5. Bake until cookies are golden brown, about 16 minutes. Cool to room temperature directly on the baking sheet; the cookies will not crisp until fully cool. Store leftovers in an airtight container up to 1 month at room temperature; the scraps can be ground to use for crumbs and frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months.**

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* I’ve included Imperial units but note that they are by nature less precise than weights, and I’ve only tested the recipe in grams. I will say that a couple of years ago I bought an inexpensive spice scale to go with my regular kitchen scale and it was very much worth it.

** Seriously though, they won’t be around that long. And I usually make a double batch.

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My recipe iterations, with version notes and the Post-it I use for marking out the dough spacing.

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