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
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
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!