I enjoyed my baking session using the Speculaas Spice miz.
I must admit I’d not heard of speculaas spice before. So when Steven from The Speculaas Spice Company asked me if I would like to try a sample of his special Speculaas spice mix I was intrigued.
A little package arrived in the post last week along with some background information about The Speculaas Spice Company. Speculaas is a special spice mix that originates from The Netherlands and many families had their own spice recipes. Steven grew up in Amsterdam and wanted to recreate the smell and taste of the Speculaas biscuits his own mother baked at home.
The special Speculaas Spice mix packet and background information sent to me from The Speculaas Spice Company.
The spices used in the VanDotsch Speculaas spice mix are organic or Fair Trade wherever possible and do not contain any preservatives. There are nine different spices in the blend including ginger, cloves, cinnamon and six other aromatic flavours.
If you want to find out more about The Speculaas Spice Company then here are the details:
Steven Dotsch, The Speculaas Spice Company
Tel: 020 8374 8718
To follow on Twitter: @vanDotschSpices
There are some delicious recipes to try out on the website but I was keen to try out the spices in two recipes I’d always fancied baking from the very first Edd Kimber book “The Boy Who Bakes”. One recipe was for some mouthwatering Blondies, also containing chocolate and hazelnuts, the other for some aromatic Speculaas cookies. I thought that the Spice mix would transform the bakes onto another level. There were enough spices to bake both recipes and as soon as I opened the little packet the wonderful smell escaped out into the kitchen. It made me very hungry. One of my favourite aromas in the world is the smell of gingerbread men baking and I was immediately transported back to my childhood. I am sure the Speculaas spice does the same for lots of Dutch children!
Edd Kimber says in his recipe introduction that he is “in love with speculaas.. what’s not to love?” I have baked blondies before but not with spices added to them, this was going to be very interesting. So, I greased an 8″ square tin and got stuck in!
I used about three teaspoonfuls of speculaas spice mix in the blondies.
Some butter was melted in a small pan.
The spice mix was added to the melted butter, cooked for a couple of minutes and then I added some brown sugar to heat through.
The melted butter, spice mix and brown sugar. This was taken off the heat and left to cool for a few minutes.
The other ingredients were added. First the dry ones, such as plain flour, baking powder and salt were folded into the melted butter mixture. Then I added in a bar of chopped white chocolate and some hazelnuts.
The batter was poured into the prepared tin and then baked in the oven for about 35 minutes. It took a little bit longer as I used a square tin and not a longer rectangular one.
The brownies had more depth than the ones in the picture because of the size of the tin. I had to adjust the baking time, it needed about 10-15 minutes longer than Edd suggested. This didn’t cause any problems, the blondies came out gooey and chewy as expected.
The finished blondies- cut up and on a serving plate. The smell was absolutely gorgeous and it took all my courage not to scoff the lot there and then!
I was very impressed with the Speculaas spices and I hope to buy some more in the future. I can see the comforting spices working very well in cookies, gingerbread and other bakes that you would eat or make in the Autumn and Winter months. As I was so entranced by the spices I decided to use the rest of them up in a second recipe from The Boy Who Bakes. This time it was a recipe for Speculaas cookies.
Edd also says in the biscuit introduction that this is a “spicy biscuit with plenty of crunch” The recipe he states is not a traditional one but has the flavour.
First, I put plain flour, the remainder of the spice mix, some salt, baking powder and sugar into a large bowl and mixed them together.
To this I added cubed butter which I rubbed in to the flour and sugar mixture.
After this I added in one whole egg, another egg yolk and binded the mixture together to form a large ball of dough. After this, Edd says to cut out the dough shapes and to chill them on a baking tray. I didn’t have time to do this so I baked them straightaway as soon as I had cut them out. The biscuits in the picture were circular ones but I fancied trying out two different shapes. I cut out plain circles and also a fluted rectangle. The recipe went very far and I got loads of biscuits out of the dough.
The finished circular Speculaas cookies warm out of the oven, deliciously aromatic and sprinkled generously with caster sugar.
The rectangular biscuits.
Love Sam xx