Last week I already posted a recipe for tiny kruidnootjes on the website that makes use of my homemade spice blend for speculaas, but actually my favourite type of ‘speculaas’ are these large, speculaas cookie chunks, or speculaasbrokken. They’re thick, crisp and covered in toasty almonds (and take a lot less time to prepare than kruidnootjes…) – the perfect cookie to dip in a hot cup of coffee or tea!
To make these speculaas chunks really crisp and crumbly, I use soft flour instead of regular all-purpose flour (though I have made them with all-purpose flour as well in case you can’t find soft flour). Soft flour – typically packaged as either cake flour and pastry flour – has less protein and starch and is lower in gluten than regular all-purpose flour or hard flour for bread, which gives your baked goods a finer, less chewy texture than those made with hard flour.
Another tip for a really crisp result, apart from using the right type of flour, is to divide the dough into two or three pieces and rolling out two or three separate speculaas-sheets rather than rolling out one large sheet as I’ve seen some people do on other websites. The edges of these speculaasbrokken really turn out lovely and crisp, so more edge is better in my opinion. I found that when I made only one large cookie dough ‘sheet’ that the centre remained quite chewy and slightly soft, which is something I didn’t want. Should this happen to you nonetheless, luckily, a soft centre can easily be fixed by breaking the cooled-down cookies into chunks and returning them to the oven for a few minutes.
Dutch Speculaas Cookie Chunks / Speculaasbrokken
- 300g soft wheat flour (Zeeuwse bloem, for Dutch people)
- 2 level teaspoons baking powder
- 2.5 - 3 level tablespoons speculaaskruiden
- 150g (dark) brown caster sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 150g butter, cubed
- 3 - 4 tablespoons milk
- To decorate:
- 1 small egg, for egg wash
- 2 tablespoons milk, for egg wash
- blanched almonds, or almond slivers, for garnish
MethodYou can find the recipe for my homemade speculaaskruiden (spice blend) here
- Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl.
- Add the cubed butter and cut it into the other ingredients until you’ve got a crumbly texture then start kneading with your hands. If the dough is too dry, start adding some milk, spoon by spoon until you are able to make a smooth ball (it usually takes around 3 - 4 spoons of milk and some kneading, but it will eventually form a ball).
- Wrap dough ball in cling film and leave to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes (or longer, if you want).
- Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius.
- Once your dough has rested, divide into two equal pieces. Lightly flour a work surface and roll out the pieces of dough into rectangles (more or less) of a little less than 1cm thick (1cm is fine, slightly less is better for crunchier cookies, but don’t roll it out too thin either). Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl combine a small egg with a splash (2 tablespoons) of milk. Brush the rolled-out dough with the egg-milk mixture.
- Divide blanched almonds over the top of the dough, pressing them in slightly.
- Bake in the centre of the oven for 30 - 35 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow to rest on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer onto a rack (without the baking paper) to allow to cool completely. The cookie chunks should be crunchy and slightly brittle when cooled down.
- Break cookies into large chunks and store in an airtight container.
Note: at times, the centres of the speculaasbrokken may still stay ever so slightly chewy even after cooling down. Should this happen and you don't like this texture, you can fix this by breaking the cooled-down cookies into large chunks and returning them to the oven (175 degrees Celsius) for another 5 to 10 minutes to crisp up completely.