I love to try recipes from different foods I’ve tried while travelling. Especially Asian recipes do the trick for me. But every now and then I’d like to make some typical Dutch things. Although Dutch cuisine isn’t really my cup of tea (mashed potatoes and mashed veggies, yikes), there are some nice sweet treats which are definitely worth trying / making. For example: Speculaas.
I know what you are thinking: isn’t the most famous Dutch cookie the stroopwafel (translation: syrup waffle). Unfortunately you need some sort of waffle maker to make these, which I don’t have, so no home made stroopwafels for me. Speculaas is probably the next best thing. Speculaas is actually a crunchy Dutch cookie, made with a delicious spice mix. The cookies are usually shaped like a windmill, so they are also known as windmill cookies. It’s are a well-known Dutch treat around the December holidays, but if you ask me, Dutch cookies are suitable for every day.
So I decided to make them myself. A nice treat to eat with this famous Nepali tea >
Because I’m a Dutchie, I can buy the Speculaas spice mix in the supermarket. I – being lazy – did this. But no worries if your supermarket doesn’t have the mix. You can easily make it yourself.
Speculaas spice mix ingredients
(You only need 1 tbsp of the spice mixture for this wind mill cookie recipe, so store the rest in an air-tight container)
- 8 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 tsp ground cloves
- 2 tsp ground cardemom
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground coriander seeds
Just mix all the ingredients until combined.
Speculaas / Dutch windmill cookie ingredients (±15 cookies)
- 150 grams flour
- 5 grams of baking powder
- 100 grams butter, cut into cubes
- 80 grams of brown sugar
- 1 tbsp speculaas spice mix
- Pinch of salt
How to make these yummy Dutch windmill cookies
- Mix all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, brown sugar, salt & speculaas spice mix) until combined.
- Add the cubes of butter and knead it into a ball of dough. In the beginning this seems impossible, but the warmth of your hands will soften the butter so it will work eventually.
- Wrap the ball of dough in some cling film and put it in the fridge for 2hrs (or more, overnight is also perfectly fine). This will infuse the flavours better, plus it makes sure the dough is easier to handle when actually making the cookies.
- Take your dough out of the fridge, line a baking tray with some parchment paper and pre-heat the oven (200℃ or 390F)
- Roll out the dough to about a 0,5cm thick and use a cookie cutter of your choice to create your speculaas cookies.
If you have one, you can use a wooden cookie mold (and if you want to make it super Dutch, choose a windmill shape). Dust the cookie mold with a bit of flour. Take a piece of dough and press it into the mold. Cut of the excess dough with a knife. Now slam your cookie mold onto the countertop, and the cookie will fall out. Repeat until your baking tray is filled with cookies.
- Bake the windmill cookies for about 10 minutes, until nice and golden. They’re still soft now, but they will become crunchy, no worries. Leave them to cool for a few minutes on the baking tray. Then transfer them to a cooling rack and leave them until they’re nice and cool and crunchy. Yum!
Speculaas windmill cookies were invented in the 17th century. Spices were very expensive back then, but they became a lot cheaper when the supply grew tremendously. Around that time bakeries in Amsterdam began experimenting with certain spices in their cookies. That’s when windmill cookies made their first appearance.
Dutch Windmill Cookies have a very unique flavour. People say it’s a bit like gingerbread, but they are not the same.
The main ingredient is the speculaas spice mix, which consists of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardemom, ginger and coriander seeds. Furthermore the dough is made of flour, baking powder, butter, brown sugar and a bit of salt. The complete ingredient list + recipe can be found here.
Traditionally they’re not. There is butter in the dough, so the cookies are not vegan. You could try and substitute the butter for a vegan alternative, but this might affect the taste and texture of the cookie.
They are not the same. However, speculaas spice mix (which gives the unique flavour to windmill cookies) and gingerbread spice mix have a lot of ingredients in common. So it is understandable that many people say it tastes similar.