If I remember correctly, I first heard of Speculoos Spread from David Lebovitz’s amazing blog a few years ago. Apparently, Speculoos are a kind of Dutch gingersnap-like biscuit (cookie, to those of us on this side of the pond). Speculoos Spread, in turn, is the spicy, sticky concoction based on the original cookie. When I first read about it, I remember thinking that it sounded interesting and that I should look for it—afterall, David (clearly we’re on a first-name basis) actually mentioned that it might be better than Nutella, and if that was the case, I was IN—but I still couldn’t really imagine what it would be like.
The first time I actually consumed Speculoos Spread a few months later, at Wafles and Dinges (Hot Belgian Waffles with to-kill-for toppings), the world ceased to spin for a few minutes. The spread had the texture of nutella and the flavor of a gingersnap, culminating in something vaguely reminiscent of spiced cake batter. When you spread it on something hot, say, a waffle, it melts into a spectacular puddle of goodness. Oh, I was hooked.
I’ve been looking for some Christmas cookies to make, so when Lottie and Doof posted these a few days ago, I knew I had found my first batch. Not ONLY were they Speculoos flavored, but they were BUTTONS, not cookies, and just, oh my goodness that’s too cute. The clincher was that this is a Dorie Greenspan recipe, so it is pretty much guaranteed to be spectacular. At the time, I didn’t put it together that this was the cover recipe on my December Bon Appetit, but that just would have been one more point for the Speculoos Buttons.
These are so dangerous guys. They’re like a perfectly spiced, slightly crunchy, slightly chewy, festive little bite of joy. They really are bite-sized, which is just…not good; cookies should not be poppable. Although you would think that the icing dollop is unnecessary (it’s just icing sugar and cream, afterall), I emplore you, don’t skip it–it really does elevate the little guys from really good to spectacoolar.
From Dorie Greenspan via Bon Appetit via Lottie and Doof.
The only change I made was to use cream in the icing instead of water. I’m a wild one.
2 c all-purpose flour
1 T ground cinnamon
3/4 t ground ginger
1/2 t fine sea salt
1/2 t freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 t ground cloves
1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 c (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 c sugar
2 T mild-flavored (light) molasses
1 large egg, room temperature
1 t vanilla extract
1 lg egg white
Sanding or other decorative sugar
2 c powdered sugar, sifted
Sprinkles, colored sanding sugar, or dragées (optional)
- In a medium bowl, whisk the first 6 ingredients; set aside
- In another medium bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth and fluffy
- Add both sugars and molasses to butter and beat until smooth and creamy (~3 min)
- Beat in the egg and vanilla; mix for 2 minutes
- Reduce mixer speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix to blend well
- Scrape the dough from the bowl and divide into thirds; shape each piece of dough into an 8″ long log and wrap each in plastic wrap
- Freeze for at least 3 hours (May be frozen up to 2 months). So, as I write this, I’m realizing that I refrigerated, instead of froze the dough….it didn’t seem to make a difference, but I’ll have to try it again the proper way.
- Arrange racks in top and bottom thirds of oven; heat to 375°F and line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats
- Whisk egg white in a small bowl to loosen and lightly brush all over 1 log. Roll in sanding sugar
- Cut off the rounded ends, then cut log into 1/4″-thick rounds
- Transfer to a prepared baking sheet, 1/2″ apart; place in freezer while you cut the next log. Repeat with remaining dough.
- Bake cookies until tops are golden brown and centers are almost firm, ~11-13 minutes (mine were done in 8 minutes). Transfer cookies to wire racks and let cool. (Be sure to keep the uncooked cut cookies in the fridge or freezer [just keep ’em cold] until there’s room in the oven)
- Mix powdered sugar and 7 t cold water (or cream, if you’re nasty) in a medium mixing bowl
- Spoon about 1/2 teaspoons glaze onto each button and decorate with sprinkles, colored sugar, or dragées
- Let stand on rack at room temperature for at least 30 minutes for glaze to set, or pop back in the refrigerator
- Store airtight at room temperature.