Honey Speculaas


#Festive cookies 3

As a proper cookie lover, I go around and collect cookie moulds whenever possible. When I was in Amsterdam last year I turned every corner of the city known to me, hoping to find original Speculaas moulds. I managed to find two beautifully carved large moulds in one of the Jordaan's antique shops. When I say large, I mean large, one being almost one meter high. Beautiful, but I wanted a piece of history that I can use, not an antique that is more of a wall hanging than a cookie mould. Almost every internet search that I did after that, lead me to the USA, so I decided to give it a rest.
But life has a mysterious way of fulfilling your wishes. I am a market, boot-sales, charity shop lover and one lovely June Saturday morning I found myself wondering around a packed market in Leskovac (a small town in South Serbia where I lived for a good part of my life) and at a glance to a pile of  wires, some wood pieces, a few bottles and God knows what else lying on the ground, I froze. Is this for real? Are those really speculaas moulds, in my small Serbian town in this mixed and matched but predominately farmers market? A pair of them? I had to pinch myself a few times. The seller, who didn't know what they were for, also pinched himself when I paid the asking price with a huge smile on my face, I thought I paid peanuts, he though he got a fortune for that - but we were both happy, very happy people.
Now, when you are in luck, you are in luck. Not long after that, searching for a PDF version of some textbook, I was offered a free Kindle copy of Baking with Cookie Molds by Anne Watson
I am one lucky baker!
From the book I choose to use the Honey Speculaas recipe that produces pale colour cookies and allows the pattern to show well.

Honey Speculaas

225 g unsalted butter
1 large egg
120 ml honey
1 tbsp milk
110 gr light brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
630 g plain flour

Melt the butter and set aside
Beat the egg, then stir the honey and milk in, mix until incorporated.
Combine the sugar and spices and add to the egg mixture, beat until well mixed.
Add flour slowly until the mixture is solid enough to knead (do not add all of it in one go)
Transfer to your work surface and knead more flour to make a soft, slightly sticky dough.
Wrap the dough and refrigerate for about 30 minutes, until it's firm but still flexible.
Roll out and mould.
Refrigerate the cookies while you preheat the oven to 175C/350F ( or lower for thick cookies)
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the cookies are slightly browned at the edges.

Preparing the mould:

Dip a soft brush into cooking oil and clean the excess with a kitchen towel.
Apply a light even coat of oil to the mould with the toothbrush, you want the oiled surface to to look softly shiny, like satin not glossy.


Cut a piece of baking aper larger than your cookie mould.
Flour the work surface lightly. 
Take  a piece of dough larger than you need to fill the cavity of the mould. 
Flatten the dough and brush flour over the top very lightly
Lift the flattened dough and floured side down press it into the mould. Spread the dough with your fingers so the entire cavity is filled.
Roll the dough into the mould, lay the baking paper over it and turn the whole thing so the mould is on top, press hard.
If the consistency of the dough is right, the dough will come out easily when you start to peel it away from the mould. If it's too sticky, you might need to add just a tad more flour. 

Of course that you don't need to have an the Speculaas mould to make it. Any shape, any pattern (doily pattern for instance) will do it, the cookies will be equally delicious.
Keep in an airtight container for weeks! Enjoy!

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