Speculoos de Noël

My Maman’s family comes from Holland. We kept a few culinary traditions from our country of origin, like Christmas speculoos (a shortbread biscuit with warming spices ie: cinnamon, coriander, clove, ginger, allspice, cardamom and nutmeg). The family recipe contains butter, white wheat flour (hence gluten) and refined sugar, as well as eggs. I created a recipe that preserves the flavour and texture of the traditional cookies, without the heaviness of the combination of eggs + sugar + flour. Bake, share, and enjoy!

Makes 40 small pieces

Ingredients:

1 1/2  cup of almond meal

2 Tbsp. cup of flaxseed meal + 1/3 cup of warm water (makes binding agent)

½ cup of tahini

¼ cup of Speculoos spice (if you are in Australia, I recommend the blend from Gewürzhaus, if not found, mix the spices as described in the introduction)

2/3 cup of coconut sugar

½ tsp of baking powder

1 tsp of vanilla bean paste

1 pinch of good quality salt

½ cup of gluten free flour (used to prevent stickiness of dough when cutting pieces)

Utensils:

Cookie cutters

Mixing bowl

Baking roller

Baking paper

Baking tray

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Let’s bake!

Warm up your oven to 180℃.

In a bowl, start mixing the dry ingredients: almond meal, baking powder, spices, coconut sugar and salt. Meanwhile prepare the vegan egg  - or binding agent - by adding warm water to the flaxseed meal (it will thicken and form a sticky consistency).

Add vanilla essence and tahini, mix well. Add vegan egg and combine using your hands until you get a thick dough. Try not to massage the dough too much or it will start to get gooey and sticky. Make a ball and let it set in the fridge for 3-12hrs so the flavours of the spices can develop.

On a clean bench, spread gluten free flour thinly (I use Amaranth flour, use what you have at home, perhaps rice or coconut flour). Spread the dough with a baking roller – aim for no more than half a centimetre thick. Cut the dough with the cookie cutters of your choice. Place them on a tray covered with baking paper.

Cook for 5 min (7 min if thicker cookies). Let the cookies rest aside to cool down. The cookies should be a crunchy outside but remain soft on the inside.

Options/Variations:

Using a baking brush, spread an extra thin layer of coconut oil over the cookies to give them a shiny look.

For a variation: dip half of cookies in melted chocolate. Let them rest on a tray for the chocolate to set.