Monday, January 30, 2012

Daring Bakers: Speculaas

Have you experienced Biscoff biscuits? These delightful cookies, dished out by Delta Airlines, have won the hearts of many weary travelers, and have developed a bit of a cult following in the process. Biscoff, known as "Speculaas" in Europe, is a caramelized, shortcrust biscuit from Belgium. Its yummy blend of spices and endearing crunch have earned it the title "Europe's Favorite Cookie with Coffee".


I only recently developed a crush on Biscoff biscuits. Thanks to my addiction to Foodgawker, I started seeing more and more posts about a mysterious cookie known as "Biscoff". I did some recognizance work and bought a pack for myself (which are now conveniently sold at most major food retailers.) I enjoyed my first Biscoff bite with morning coffee... the admiration was instant.

You can image my excitement when the Baked boys, who also share an admiration for the spicy, crunchy cookie, included a recipe in their book for a comparable biscuit.

Matt and Renato's recipe calls for cutting cold butter into the brown sugar, flour and spice mixture. Then, the egg and a dash of orange peel are added in the last stage. The dough is refrigerated for an hour before rolling out. I changed the technique up a bit for these by rolling the dough between two pieces of parchment or wax paper. Then, I cut my squares and placed the rolled dough in the freezer for 8 to 10 minutes to chill. Once cold, I removed the dough from the freezer, carefully lifted the shapes from the wax paper and placed them on a parchment lined baking sheet. The scraps can be collected and rerolled for more cookies. This process should help you get clean shapes and minimize spreading.

So, what's the verdict? Well, both are charming and wonderful coffee time treats.... But, I have come out of this with a clear favorite. The famous Biscoff has a smoother texture with a hint of cinnamon and a wonderful crunch. Matt & Renato's Speculaas are more coarse in texture with an intense spice flavor, all while maintaining the desired crunch of a traditional biscuit.

Drum roll please....

In my opinion, Matt and Renato's Speculaas have the better overall biscuit. The combination of spices is more robust and the crunch is wonderful. I will never turn my head at Biscoff, but my heart will always belong somewhere else.

To read what my fellow bakers thought of this recipe, hop on over to the new Baked Sunday Mornings website, or even better buy a copy of Matt and Renato's book Baked Explorations and join in on the fun! 

Have a Sweet Day!
Jaime @ The Great Cake Company


  1. I love speculas!! I will definitely be trying these, they sound great!

  2. You made me hungry...I'm looking at your post and am happy I have a couple of these cookie I'm hurrying to get finished so I can eat them. Yours look perfect and from your photos, they kept their shape quite well. You rolled your a tiny bit thicker than I time I will do the same. Mine are good, but I like the looks of a little more thickness....just a little.
    Nice post...great summary of this recipe.

  3. Thanks for the preview! I'll be baking mine tomorrow! Yours look like they came from a bakery.

  4. Oh. Yours turned out so lovely. I totally also roll my cookies out between two pieces of parchment paper too. It reduces the amount of flour I have to use. I love your pictures!

  5. Your cookies came out great Jaime! I like the cookie cutter you used. I thought about doing the same thing with the dough(rolling it out between the parchment, cutting them out and then chilling, but ended up just following the directions. I definitely agree that this helps with spreading. It has really helped me improve my sugar cookies!

  6. I really liked the orange in these and agree that they are so much better than Biscoff. Your cookies turned out great!

  7. Great post. Love the comparison between the two cookies. Your cookies look amazing (jealous!)and you got some excellent pics. While my cookies didn't turn out as I wanted I absolutely love the flavor, love the crunch. A new found fav for sure.

  8. I have never had the Biscoff originals, but these were good. Glad to hear you liked them!

  9. Your cookies look great. I love the scalloped rectangle shape. I often roll out dough between parchment, but I've never thought of chilling the cut dough in the freezer before transferring to the baking sheet. I love that I just learned something new!


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