Speculoos (traditional Dutch spicy biscuits)
Ingredients (for 60 biscuits)
350 g plain flour
200 g butter
25 g ground almonds
1/2 teaspoon powdered aniseed
3 soup spoons milk
3 pinches each of ground cloves, ginger and nutmeg
150 g brown sugar
1 soup spoon powdered cinnamon
1/2 packet of baking powder
1 pinch salt
Mix the flour, baking powder and all the spices together in a bowl. In another bowl, mix the butter and the sugar together until they are fluffy. Add the milk and the salt; mix together then gradually add the spiced flour and, finally, the ground almonds. The mixture should be fairly firm. Roll it out 3 mm thick and cut into rectangles of 5 x 3 cm. Alternatively, and especially at Christmas, the dough can be pressed into special wooden moulds, some of which are antique and traditional, for example one depicting St. Nicholas, or others of a man and a woman in historic dress.
Photograph (c)2008 Helen Macbeth
Remove the dough with care from the moulds so that they retain the shape and the details of the mould. Place the cut or shaped biscuits on to a buttered oven dish or baking tray, making sure they do not touch each other, and put in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the oven and cook at 200° C or thermostat 6 for about 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a wire tray.
These biscuits keep very well in a metal or plastic well-sealed container and make a delicious accompaniment to tea or coffee.