Speculaas, Spice Biscuits

These spice biscuits, a tradition of northern Europe, have been adapted to suit Dairy Free, Fodmap, Gluten Free and Vegan diets.



Spices were traditionally a treat of Christmas time when cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and cardamom were a luxury. Now, they are in most pantries, although often underused. These biscuits may encourage you to add more flavourings to your food, giving your diet more interest and variety.

Cooking this recipe is a two step process and requires a little more time than many biscuits; but it is worth the extra effort as the result is a tasty snack that also makes a great gift; or you can even hang these biscuits as decorations from your Christmas tree (if, that is, you don’t have a pet dog – in which case, not recommended!).


Diets for which Speculaas, Spice Biscuits are suitable:

Diary Free, Fodmap, Gluten Free, Nut Free, Vegetarian and Vegan.

Ingredients

Preparation: 15 + 30 mins | Cooking: 5 + mins | Serves: 30 + biscuits

120 gm (3/4 cup) rice flour*
40 gm (1/3 cup) tapioca flour
40 gm (1/3 cup) buckwheat flour
3 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves**
1/2 tsp ground cardamom***
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
Zest of half a lemon
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1/4 tsp salt
180 gm dark brown sugar
90 gm (3 oz) coconut oil****
2-3 tbsp water*****

Method

MIX flours, spices, bicarbonate of soda, lemon zest and salt.
CREAM the sugar and coconut oil to a fluffy consistency.
BLEND 2 tbsp water into the sugar mix.
ADD the flours to the sugar and fold together. (This dough is very firm, not sticky, and may require your hands to bring it together. Add a little more water if more moisture is required.)
WRAP the dough in cling film and refrigerate overnight (or a minimum of 4 hours).
REMOVE the dough from the refrigerator and cut into three pieces.
RETURN two pieces, covered, to the refrigerator.
PREHEAT the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4.
CUT and lay a piece of parchment on the worktop.
ROLL the dough, on the parchment, to a thickness of approximately 1/2 cm. (1/4 inch). (If the dough falls apart as you roll it, knead the pieces till it holds together in one piece. This kneading warms the coconut oil enabling it to bind the flours.)
PRESS the biscuit shapes, using a biscuit cutter.
SLIDE the parchment with the rolled dough still intact, onto a baking tray, cover and return to the refrigerator for 10 minutes. (The shapes will be easier to remove when cold and you can be rolling and cutting second and third pieces of dough while rechilling the first.)
CUT and lay a new piece of parchment onto the baking tray.
GENTLY remove the shapes from the rolled, chilled dough and place them on the baking tray, they expand a minimal amount. (Removing the shapes is a delicate process. Do not use your hands because the biscuits will lose their shape. I use a long spatula to slide the shapes off the parchment and a small knife for trimming any untidy edges. After you have removed a couple of biscuits you will develop a good technique.)
BAKE the biscuits for 3-5 minutes. (Cooking time is dependent on the heat of the oven and the thickness of the biscuits. They should remain a similar colour and darken very little.)
ROTATE the tray in the oven through 180 degrees and bake for another 2-5 minutes.
COOL.
REPEAT for each tray of biscuits.

Serve

– As a tasty plate of biscuits.
– Dust with icing sugar to provide a winter look.

Notes

* Substitute the mix of flours with a commercial Gluten Free mix or plain flour (not Fodmap or Gluten Free). The consistency may change, so add more water or flour as required.
** Grind whole cloves with a pestle and mortar, removing the stalks if they do not break down.
*** 15 whole cardamom pods will provide approximately 1/2 tsp ground cardamom. Grind the whole pods with a pestle and mortar so they break apart. Remove the pod casings and grind the seeds to a powder.
**** Substitute coconut oil for butter (not Dairy Free of Vegan diets).
***** Replace water with 1 egg (not Vegan). The texture of the biscuit is softer.

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