Chefs Across Boundaries is an initiative by some of us friends and foodies, who explore different cuisines from different parts of the world. The month of July is being hosted by me. I chose Dutch Cuisine as the challenge.
Dutch cuisine consists of the cooking traditions and practices from the Netherlands. The country's cuisine is shaped by the practice of fishing and farming, including the cultivation of the soil for raising crops and the raising of domesticated animals, and the history of the Netherlands.
Traditionally, Dutch cuisine is simple and straightforward, with many vegetables and little meat; breakfast and lunch are typically bread with toppings while dinner is meat and potatoes, supplemented with seasonal vegetables. The Dutch diet was relatively high in carbohydrates and fat, reflecting the dietary need of the laborers whose culture molded the country, and contains many dairy products. Without many refinements, it is best described as rustic, though many holidays are still celebrated with special foods. In the course of the twentieth century this diet changed and became much more cosmopolitan, with most international cuisines being represented in the major cities.
Speculoos (Dutch: Speculaas, French: spéculoos, German: Spekulatius) is a type of spiced short crust biscuit, traditionally baked for consumption on or just before St Nicholas Feast in the Netherlands (December 5), Belgium (December 6), and around Christmas in the western and southern parts of Germany. Speculoos are thin, very crunchy, slightly browned and, most significantly, have some image or figure (often from the traditional stories about St. Nicholas) stamped on the front side before baking; the back is flat.
Speculoos dough does not rise much. Dutch and Belgian versions are baked with light brown (beet) sugar and baking powder. German Spekulatius uses baker's ammonia as leavening agent. Spices used in speculoos are cinnamon, nutmeg, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cardamom & white pepper. Most Speculoos versions are made from white flour, brown sugar, butter and spices. Some varieties use some almond flour and have slivered almonds embedded in the bottom. Some Belgian varieties use less or no spice.
I took the recipe from www.eatthelove.com & the recipe for the speculaas spices from www.kayotickitchen.com
What would you need:
- 4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp cloves
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1/4 tsp cardamom
- 1/4 tsp mace
For the cookie:
- 1/2 cup (1 stick or 113 g) cold unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (75 g) white granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup (165 g) packed dark brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cup (235 g) all purpose flour
- Milk - 2 tbsp
- Baking Soda - 1/2 tsp
- Parchment Paper
- Cling Film
How to go about it:
- In a bowl, add the butter, sugars, salt, vanilla extract & baking soda. Beat until light fluffy.
- Sift the flour and combine everything together. Add the milk and bring the dough together.
- Put the dough in a cling film and make a log shape. Pack this and refrigerate the dough for an hour.
- Just 10 minutes before the baking time, preheat the oven at 200 degree Celsius for 10 minutes.
- Once the dough is refrigerated, take it out and cut into 1/2' cookies, arrange on the baking sheet laid with parchment paper and bake at 190 degree Celsius for 9 to 11 minutes. Make sure there is at least 2' gap between cookies (they expand in the heat)
- Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container.
Njoy with your loved ones...