Speculaas (Dutch Windmill Cookies)

These cookies are often made to look like windmills, and are a traditional Dutch treat for St. Nicholas’ Day, December 5.

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Cup sugar
1-1/4 Cups dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
3-1/2 Cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
2-1/2 Tbsp “speculaas spice”*
1 tsp Kosher Salt

* Speculaas Spice:
8 parts Ground Cinnamon
2 parts Ground Nutmeg
2 parts Ground Cloves
1 part Ground White Pepper
1 part Ground Ginger
1 part Ground Cardamom

Using a mixer, cream together butter, vanilla, and the brown and white sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition, and continuing until mixture is well combined.

In another large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar/egg mixture, a little at a time, continuing to mix on low until the thick dough pulls from the sides of the mixing bowl. Divide the dough in half, wrapping each ball of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerating for several hours (up to overnight).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

When you are ready to bake the cookies, prepare a clean, dry surface (like a marble pastry board or similar). Lightly dust the surface with flour, and roll out dough to 1/4″ or 1/8″ thick before cutting the dough with cookie cutters. Remove cut-out cookies to a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

The word speculaas comes from the Latin “speculum,” which means “mirror.” Traditionally, these cookies have been made by pressing the dough into special cookie molds, which are about 1/4″ thick and are often shaped like windmills. If you use these, the baking instructions should be about the same; you just press the dough into the molds and carefully remove them to the baking sheet.