This post contains gifted items that will be featured in a separate post which have been marked in line with my disclaimer/policy. This post is in collaboration with Licensed to Charm however it has been in exchange for gifted goods only
In celebration of the Licensed to Charm Miffy collection, I’m bringing you this dairy-free Dutch-inspired Speculaas recipe inspired by the homeland of Miffy.
The Netherlands is a country that is very dear to my heart. It’s, of course, the home to Miffy, but also where many of my favourite humans have and continue to live.
It’s also my favourite country because Miffy is everywhere! As some of you will know, I’m a crazy passionate Miffy fan!
Miffy was created by Dick Bruna and the first Miffy book was published in 1955 after Dick had told his 1-year-old son stories about a little rabbit they had seen earlier in the dunes while on holiday.
The Dutch name for Miffy is ‘Nijntje’ and it’s short for ‘konijntje’, meaning ‘little rabbit’.
Over 60 years later, the Miffy books have sold more than 85 million copies, and are currently published in more than 50 languages.
This recipe is inspired by the new Licensed to Charm Miffy collection that features delicate charm necklaces with a tiny Miffy head, or associated flowers or button icons.
To celebrate the adorable launch party on the 21st June for this sweetest Licensed to Charm Miffy collection I thought this recipe would be a very special way to celebrate. As the Dutch would say they are very lekker, if I do say so myself!
What are Speculaas?
Speculaas are spiced cookies that are popular throughout Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands.
They are made with an intense fragrant concoction of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger that taste and smell divine.
Speculaas cookies are traditionally baked on the eve of St Nicholas Day, that is celebrated on the 6th December.
You can think of them as a cousin to gingerbread cookies although Speculaas cookies are lighter and use a broader array of spices.
Traditionally, before going to bed, Dutch children put their shoes by the chimney, and if they behaved well, they are rewarded with Speculaas cookies in their shoes.
Today, the cookies are not reserved only for St Nicholas Day or for Christmas, but are available the whole year-round.
In fact, although this recipe might find you foraging in your spice cupboard for all the fragrances, the Dutch actually sell this spice mix ready-made due to their popularity!
Why are they called Speculaas?
What’s behind the name you ask? Well, there are a few theories here.
One theory is that Speculaas takes inspiration from the Latin word ‘speculum’, meaning ‘a mirror’, referring to the mirrored images that the cookies are decorated with.
However, it could also be derived from the Latin word ‘speculator’, referring to a bishop, such as St Nicholas.
The final suggestion as to the origin of the name behind Speculaas stems from ‘specerij’ the Dutch word for spice.
How to make Speculaas
I’m naturally not very skilled at baking, at all! Hence why you don’t see many baking posts here!
To my surprise, Speculaas cookies are always easy to make and especially easy to tweak to be dairy-free (I’m allergic to dairy but you can, of course, alter this to your requirements).
Traditional Speculaas molds can be found from the motifs that include windmills, the figure of Saint Nicholas, animals, plant motifs and boats.
You can also use stamps, glasses with a unique texture or rolling pins. I am using my dear Miffy stamp for this recipe. Isn’t it darling?
I actually got it from the Netherlands, the official Miffy shop no less, however, I found these adorable cutters for you on eBay.
Dairy-Free Dutch Inspired Speculaas Recipe
- 1 Egg (Or vegan alternative)
- 100 grams Dairy-Free Butter
- 200 grams Coconut Sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract (you could also use a vanilla pod or vanilla bean paste if you have that)
- 300 grams All-purpose plain flour (save some for rolling at the end. You can also swap this for a gluten-free flour if needed)
- 1/2 tsp Baking powder
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1 tbsp Ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp Ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp Cloves (you might need to grind this)
- 1/8 tsp Ground Ginger
- 1/8 tsp Cardomom (if, like me, you have pods just one will do)
- 1/8 tsp Aniseed OR Aniseed Extract
- 1/8 tsp Ground Pepper
- In your electric mixer or by hand, whisk together the dairy-free butter and coconut csugar until it starts to turn into a cream consistency.
- Add the vanilla extract and egg to this mixture and whisk this into the mixture. Then set aside. Turn on the oven to about 160C (please note all oven temperatures will differ so adjust accordingly)
- In a separate bowl, sift all the dry ingredients together (the flour, baking powder, spices and salt and pepper).
- Add the dairy-free butter and coconut sugar mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well together. Then, work this all together into a dough. Be patient and this takes a few minutes to get it all together nicely. I like to get my hands in the bowl to really knead it all together.
- Wrap the dough in some parchment paper and put in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
- Whilst you wait, line enough trays as you need, I used two large one, with more parchment paper.
- After 30 minutes, remove your dough from the fridge. Sprinkle some flour on a flat surface and roll out the dough to around 4mm thick dough. This really depends on how thin you'd like your cookies to be.
- Take your Miffy, or cookie-cutter/stamp, whatever you fancy, and carefully add your shapes to the parchment papers on your baking trays.
- Add your baking trays and bake for 12-15 minutes. Or until you see them turn a lovely golden brown.
- When they are ready, remove them carefully from the oven and allow them to cool for about 10 minutes. Then, tuck in, lekker!
I really hope you love making these sweetest Speculaas cookies and that it takes yourself and your tastebuds to one of my favourite countries.
If you want to add an extra touch of sweetness to your life then the Licensed to Charm Miffy collection is another gorgeous treat to give to yourself or your loved ones who adore Miffy.
Dank u wel (thank you!) for reading this and I hope you love making these Speculaas cookies.
For more recipes be sure to check back here and I’m always up for requests!