Some years ago I first discovered spéculoos biscuits in a hotel room in Nice, France. It was love at first bite and after chomping through the small sample in our room, it was straight to the gourmet food hall at Galeries Lafayette for a ready supply of more. Years later, in a return trip to France, we discovered spéculoos ice-cream in a little brassiere in Saint Rémy de Provence.
It is really difficult to uncover where the biscuits were first created. There are equal and compelling claims from France, Belgium, Germany and Netherlands. But for me, spéculoos have become a deep and lasting memory of not only the azure niçoise coast, but of France in all it’s delectable glory. One biscuit (or two) with a cup of a much adored ‘French Breakfast’ tea from Mariage Frères Thé (tea) and I am instantly transported.
250g plain flour
150g brown sugar
100g butter, soft
100g almond meal
80g golden syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp ginger
Pre heat oven to 180°C and line two baking trays with baking paper.
Cream brown sugar and butter together in a mixer. Add golden syrup and egg and continue to beat until smooth.
Add flour, almond meal, spices, baking powder and salt to the butter mixture and continue to mix until all ingredients are evenly combined. Form a round ball and place the dough in the fridge for at least an hour.
Lightly dust a large board or clean bench surface with flour. Roll out the dough until it is less than 5mm thick. Traditionally, spéculoos are a rectangular shape with an embosser relief. However, I use a 5cm round cutter. You could use whatever shape you like. Cut each shape from the dough and place them on the lined baking tray and bake for 10-12 minutes or until the biscuits have a golden brown colour.
Remove the biscuits and place them on a cooling rack.