Gevulde Speculaas – Dutch Spiced Biscuit (Cookie) Filled with Almond Paste


These are my favorite Dutch specialties. They bring wonderful warm memories of December and Christmas. I daren’t even think about the sugar, fat or calories in these things. However, they do have a redeeming feature – they contain almonds, although I doubt this counteracts the naughtiness of them. They are definitely worth the splurge once in a while.

I find these the perfect. Why? I love the Dutch spiced biscuits (cookies), speculaas, and I also love almond paste. When you get layers of speculaas wrapped around a thick layer of almond paste, what is there not to love? It’s like heaven for me. I would gladly work out for a longer amount of time just to enjoy these goodies!

The recipe was adapted from The Dutch Table. I used 100% wholemeal (whole wheat flour), halved the recipe, as the original recipe was far too big for one, but doubled the almond paste, and reduced  the sugar by half. The result was fabulous. It’s probably the best gevulde speculaas I’ve ever eaten, and that includes all of the ones that have been bought in the patisseries in the Netherlands!

I had a little speculaas dough left over when I finished shaping, so I made it into a mini speculaas with almonds on top. It was divine!!! So, if you’re not too fond of almond paste, or just prefer to make speculaas brokken, use this recipe to make the dough and roll into a thick slab before baking.


GEVULDE SPECULAAS – DUTCH SPICED BISCUIT (COOKIE) FILLED WITH ALMOND PASTE

Adapted from The Dutch Table: Gevulde Speculaas

Makes 8 decent pieces


Ingredients

For the almond paste

  • 145 g (1 c) whole, raw, skin-on almonds
  • 60 g (½ c) icing (confectioners) sugar, more if you like almond paste sweeter
  • 1 tablespoon almond extract
  • 1 large egg, separated

For the speculaas

  • 150 g (1 c) wholemeal (whole wheat) flour
  • 75 g (5 tablespoons) unsalted European butter
  • 110 g (½ c) dark muscuvado (brown) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 small pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon of speculaas spice*
  • 2 tablespoons milk, or as required

* For the speculaas spice: mix together 1 heaped tablespoon ground cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon ground cloves, ¼ teaspoon ground ginger, 1 pinch finely ground white or black pepper


Method

1. Place almonds into a bowl, and cover with boiling water. Let sit for 15 minutes, then pop the almonds out of their skins. Reserve 8 halves.

2. Place remaining almonds into a food processor and blitz until the texture resembles fine crumbs.

3. Add the egg white and almond extract and blitz until smooth, then add the icing (confectioners) sugar, blitz again. If the mixture is not smooth and spreadable, add a little beaten egg yolk. Cover and chill until needed.

4. Rub butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, mix in sugar, baking powder, salt and spices. Then add just enough milk to make the dough come together. Wrap in clingfilm (plastic wrap) and chill overnight or for upto 2 days.

5. Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F).

6. Line one 20 x 10 cm (8 x 4 inch) loaf tin (pan) with parchment paper.

7. Divide the spiced dough into two pieces, one ever-so-slightly larger than the other.

8. Roll out the larger piece of dough to line the base of the loaf tin (pan), making sure there is about 1 inch in height up the tin (pan).

9. Spread the almond paste onto the rolled dough and even out with the back of a wet spoon.

10. Roll the second piece of dough and place on top of the almond paste, making sure you seal the joins. Trim off any excess and use this to make an additional speculaas.

11. Lightly score the top with a blunt knife to make 8 squares, and press one almond half in each square. Brush with beaten egg yolk, and bake in middle of the oven for 30-35 minutes.

12. Let sit for 5 minutes in the tin (pan), and then remove and let cool on a wire rack. Once cool, slice and enjoy!

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5 thoughts on “Gevulde Speculaas – Dutch Spiced Biscuit (Cookie) Filled with Almond Paste

  1. Pingback: Taai-Taai – Dutch Chewy Spiced Honey Cake Dolls « Honey and Spice

  2. Happy Sinterklaas day! Very nice interpretations of both the gevulde speculaas and taaitaai. I appreciate that you have an eye open to redux and more health-conscious options (e.g. using whole wheat flour and reducing sugar). These are certainly inspiring me!

    Now, if you help me come up with some redux Brit holiday classics like a healthier option for coconut ice?! (That one may be beyond hope). But, I am thinking of some possibilities for Turkish delight, like using quince to help thicken it (and reduce the sugar, and not cover it with chocolate like Fry’s…).

    • I totally forgot about coconut ice… I really did. However, I do remember that I used to love that stuff, although the sugar content now will probably kill me. A “healthier” version may be treading on the impossible, as it is basically sugar and fat (good fats mind you), which is the key to delicious candies. Messing up the ratios could ruin the whole taste and flavor sensation.

      As for Turkish Delight, I was never a fan. It was always the last thing left in the selection box my mother gave us at Christmas, and then it would mysteriously find itself in the garbage can when no one was looking, lol.

      • That’s funny about the Turkish delight; is it a “texture thing” or a “flavor thing” (or both)? I’ve had some really “rubbery” product that “bounced back” when chewed–I really didn’t like that very much. Also, a common flavoring ingredient is rose water–flowers are great to look at, and nice to smell, but I can’t say that I really enjoy their perfume lingering on my palate (I feel the same way about candied violets as well, but not orange flower water, oddly).

        Consequently, the Turkish delight I prefer is usually flavored with mastic gum and vanilla and/or a mild fruit flavor, and also has either pistachios or almonds. For texture, I look for something like that found in good quality French or Belgian fruit pastes or those sugar-coated candy orange segments (in the U.S.), but not like wine gums mind you, which are tasty but too hard and sticky to chew easily.

      • Turkish Delight dislikes? I guess it’s a bit of both, but mainly the flavor. However, the last time I tried some was in some Mediterranean restaurant (somewhere in the world) with coffee. That version was pretty good. I remember being in Nicosia, Cyprus where we sampled some gelato, one of them was rose-flavored – it tasted like eating soap or potpourri. She assured us that the flavor was highly popular (definitely an acquired taste).

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