There are so many different words to describe a good “spiced” treat. Of course the obvious is just to use the word “spice” – like spice cookies or spice cake. Of course, then there is the word “ginger” – which is my favorite (gingerbread) – and then came speculoos. A few years ago, I was visiting my cousins in Belgium. They were living there for a couple of years right after they got married. What a way to start a life together! Well, they took me to their favorite chocolate shop. This place was amazing. The chocolates were not only delicious, they were spectacular looking – like a piece of art. I remember looking at the different types, and one of them was “speculoos.” I asked them what that was, and both their eyes just rolled backwards – they loved that type. They explained to me that it was cinnamon ginger spice. That was the first time I had heard that word, but I guess it is pretty common, I then found a speculoos flavored macaroon, and some ice cream on the same trip. It was so odd that I travelled all over Europe as a college student, but never encountered that word then.
Fast forward a few months, and I was reading emails on our company’s internal alias for “Food and Wine Enthusiasts” - and someone was looking for those “Biscoff” cookies that Delta Airlines carries on certain flights. I didn’t realize they were such a hot commodity. That conversation quickly turned to the “speculoos spread” – basically a spice spread, with a similar consistency to peanut butter. Who knew they actually carried it at Trader Joes! I swear this speculoos thing has almost a cult following!
A few months ago I was reading my Bon Appetit, and came across this recipe. I almost went to the kitchen right then and there – but I had a lot going on so decided to save it for another time. That time finally came – and you know why? I was looking for a cookie that I could give my new mommy friends with their Shepherd’s Pie – something that could sit in the freezer until they were craving something sweet – almost like a roll of Pillsbury cookie dough. When I saw that these cookies made three rolls – it was too good to be true. One roll for each of my friends, and one roll for me… OMG – AMAZING!!!! First of all, the smell that these cookies give your house – just the perfect fall/holiday smell – ok, it is March, but who doesn’t love their house smelling like that? They tasted great – not too sweet, but just sweet enough. You can’t just stop at one.
So – I thought it was only fitting to post these tonight – as I sit hear waiting for my Delta flight – where I am sure I will get some of those Biscoff cookies. Seriously though, those are good – but these mean business. Everyone should have a roll waiting for them, without having to get on an airplane.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons mild-flavored (light) molasses
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg white
- Sanding or turbinado sugar
Whisk first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl; set aside. Using an electric mixer at medium speed, beat butter in a medium bowl until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add both sugars and molasses; continue to beat until mixture is smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla; mix for 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low; add dry ingredients and mix to blend well.
Scrape dough from bowl and divide into thirds. Using your palms, roll each piece of dough into an 8-inch log. Wrap logs tightly in plastic or parchment paper and freeze for at least 3 hours. (For neater edges, remove logs from freezer after 1 hour and roll on counter.)
DO AHEAD: Dough can be made up to 2 months ahead. Keep frozen.
Arrange racks in top and bottom thirds of oven; preheat to 375°. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
Whisk egg white in a small bowl to loosen; lightly brush all over 1 log. Sprinkle with (or roll in) sanding sugar. Using a long, slender knife, slice off a sliver of dough from each end of log to make ends flat. Cut log into 1/4 inch-thick rounds. Transfer to 1 baking sheet, spacing 1/2 inch apart; place in freezer while you cut the next log. (The cookies hold their shape better if you bake when dough is cold.) Repeat with remaining dough.
Bake 2 sheets of cookies, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back after 6 minutes, until tops are golden brown and centers are almost firm, 11-13 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks and let cool. Repeat with third sheet of cookies.
DO AHEAD: Cookies can be baked 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.
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