Hands-on time: 40 minutes
Total time: 2¼ hours
Makes: about 15 cookies
These fragrant spiced cookies originate from Holland, where they are enjoyed at the feast of Sinterklaas (St. Nicholas, a Dutch holiday character).
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp each cinnamon and ground ginger ½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp each ground cardamom, ground
cloves and nutmeg
¼ tsp each salt and pepper
In large bowl, beat butter with brown sugar until fluffy; beat in egg. In separate bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, salt and pepper; stir into butter mixture just until combined.
Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface; knead until smooth. Divide in half; shape into discs. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. Lightly dust 4½- x 3-inch wooden cookie (speculaas) moulds with flour. Add 2 tbsp of the dough to each mould, pressing firmly and tapping on work surface to imprint image. Flip over; tap corner of moulds or use blunt end of knife to release dough. Arrange, 1 inch apart, on parchment paper–lined rimless baking sheets. Trim excess dough from around edges. Repeat with remaining dough. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
Bake, 1 sheet at a time, in 350°F oven until edges are darkened and tops are firm, about 15 minutes. Let cool on pans for 3 minutes; transfer directly to racks to cool completely. (Make-ahead: Store in airtight container for up to 5 days.)
PER COOKIE: about 166 cal, 2 g pro, 7 g total fat (4 g sat. fat), 25 g carb (1 g dietary fibre, 13 g sugar), 27 mg chol, 81 mg sodium, 45 mg potassium. % RDI : 2% calcium, 7% iron, 6% vit A, 11% folate.