Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Speculoos cookies

My dearest Speculoos,

It was love at first sight. There you stood quietly, among your friends on the gleaming aisles of Le Grand Epicerie, stacked neatly, row after row, waiting to be devoured. Your ribbed red lid, your perfect round curves, the label that spelled out your glorious name: Speculoos.

My fingers shook with glee as I undid your cap, tore open the foil seal, revealing the most gorgeous caramel color I've ever laid my eyes on. Impatiently, I dipped my forefinger into your glossy, soft, luscious insides, and brought you to my lips. Oh! How you stole my heart. You were sweet! You were sticky! (akin to peanut butter, with a little less goo) And the best part of all, you had that kick of spice. It took me a while to figure it out, but lo and behold, it was cinnamon. You're scrumptious on bread. You're magnificent on a spoon. You're the sunshine in my mornings, afternoon and night. 

You accompanied me on Parisian picnics, kept me happy on afternoon snacks in Prague, and filled me up on many breakfasts in Budapest. So you can imagine how petrified I was when your jar held nothing but a few dregs of Speculoos left. You can't be bought in Canada and buying you on the internet costs just as much as the shipping (!!) BUT then Dorie Greenspan, that lovely lady, came out with this recipe. When we first met, you were a spread, thick and viscous, the consistency of nutella. I'll do anything to taste you again, even if it means in the form of a cookie.

So I mixed and kneaded dough to produce little Speculoos cookies to honor our love affair. I was giddy with excitement, dancing on my tippy toes as I watched you turn golden in the oven. Your irresistible cinnamony scent wafting through my home brought tears to my eyes. You were nearly done! Only one more minute till the timer announces your arrival! My own homemade Speculoos! Come to mama!

HM MMM! You were fine. Fine like a hot sexy lady in hot sexy stilettos. You are crispy, sweet little bites of pure happiness. I would have preferred you with a bit more feistiness (ground ginger and cloves), but you are beautiful just the way you are.

I heart you Speculoos.

Yours forever,

P.S. You are the epitome of beauty, just like this linen tea towel I won from Athena Pilchta's giveaway, courtesy of Linea Carta! (Thanks Athena!)

Speculoos Cookies
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan from Around My French Table

Makes about 50 cookies

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 (packed) cup light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature

1. Whisk the flour, salt, baking soda, and spices together in a bowl.

2. Working in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy. Add the sugars and beat until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and continue to beat until it, too, is blended into the butter and sugars. With the mixer on the lowest speed, add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, mixing only until the flour disappears into the soft dough. You may have some flour at the bottom of the bowl, or the dough may not be entirely smooth, but that’s normal. Using your hands or a spatula, reach into the bowl and knead or stir the dough 2 or 3 times, just enough to get rid of any dry spots.

3. Divide the dough in half. Working with 1 piece of dough at a time, roll the dough between two sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap until you have a circle that’s about ¼ inch thick. As you’re rolling, turn the dough over a couple of times and pull away the paper or plastic, so you don’t have rolling creases in the dough. Put the rolled-out rounds of dough on a cutting board and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. (The dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days)

4. When you’re ready to bake, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

5. Choose a cookie cutter, about 1 inch to 1¼ inch in diameter, and remove 1 circle of dough from the refrigerator. Peel off the top piece of wax paper or plastic and cut out as many cookies as you can from the dough, carefully lifting the cutouts onto the lined baking sheet. Collect the scraps and set them aside to combine with the scraps from the second piece of dough.

6. Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes, or until they are lightly golden and brown around the edges.  Allow the cookies to rest on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.

7. Repeat with the second round of dough, making certain the baking sheet is cool before you put the cutouts on it. To use the scraps, press them together, roll them into a circle, and chill them before cutting and baking. 

Serving: The cookies are just right with coffee, made for espresso and tea and really good nibbled as a snack. Storing: The dough can be wrapped airtight and kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Kept in an airtight container, the cookies will be fine for a week or more.

Recipe here!

No comments:

Post a Comment