speculaas ~ st. nicholas cookies

Speculaas, St. Nicholas cookies, Windmill cookies — call them what you may, you MUST call them good. They're a spiced, shortbread biscuit. And I love them.

You can get them on a Delta flight— Hello Biscoff!— and you can get it in a jar (sort of like nutella!?!)

The cookies are traditionally eaten on St. Nicholas Day, which is celebrated December 5 in the Netherlands and December 6 in Belgium. They are supposed to be rolled out and then stamped with the image of St. Nick (precursor to our dear Santa Claus), but I am simplifying life. If you're not interested in all the bells and whistles, just roll it into a log and cut it into thin slices. 

You must be thinking, "Why is beurrista publishing a Christmas cookie in April? Where are the Easter goods?" I'm pretty much thinking the same thing, but with all the lingering cold, snowy weather, my baking brain is still craving some comforting winter items. Crunchy, spicy, nutty, with a cup of hot tea is just what I need for these dank days.

Dutch St. Nicholas Cookies
adapted from A Treasury of the World's Best Almond Recipes

½ cup blanched and slivered almonds
¾ cup butter, room temperature
½ cup brown sugar, packed
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1½ teaspoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons milk
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
finely grated rind of one orange

Chop almonds finely. Set aside. In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter, sugar, spices and milk together. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Mix to combine and scrape down bowl as needed. Add the almonds and the orange rind and mix to combine.

Divide the dough in half. Shape each half into a log and using wax paper or plastic wrap, wrap tightly around the log. Chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. 

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375ºF. Remove one log from the refrigerator. Remove the plastic wrap, and cut the dough into ¼-inch slices. Place them 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges.  Remove from oven, let cool on cookie sheet set on a wire rack. Makes about 48 cookies. Can be stored at room temperature for a week.


  1. These are my favorite cookies ever! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Replies
    1. Not necessarily... shortbread doesn't have any eggs.

  3. Look very nice, I think I might try it! Biscoffs are great except that they are Belgian. The Belgian have their own version of Spekulaas which is Speculoos. It's good but slightly different from the Dutch one. (what makes me the so/called expert? I am Dutch 100% Dutch and worked at a Belgian embassy for 11 years.....


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