On December 6th, it’s Saint Nicolas’ day and it’s a tradition in the north (not only in France) to offer a large speculoos (or not…!) molded. I promised you, after the recipe for“fine speculoos“, the recipe for molded speculoos, so here is an excuse, especially since my brother’s name is Nicolas and he is the one who entered me in the “Golden Blog Awards” that I won…! So happy birthday Nicolas! As I always want to follow tradition to the end, I found the sculptor of the Dandoy molds in Brussels and I ordered this superb mold to make this delicious recipe!
I use for my spice mix recipe, dosages with American spoons. They are easy to use and offer a wide range of quantities, from tablespoons to 1/8th of a teaspoon. Above all, they allow you to perfectly reproduce a mixture, without doing “au pif”! I always fill the spoons to the brim.
The etymological origin of the name of this cookie is controversial.
According to some, “Speculoos” comes from the Latin “species” which means spices or “speculum” which means mirror. Speculoos would be an image, the “reflection in a mirror” of a character. Others suggest the word “speculator”, which means bishop. It would then be Saint Nicholas, who is celebrated on December 6 by eating cakes in the form of subjects: donkey, saint, flowers, etc. … Finally, a Dutch cake made in the 17th century with exotic spices from India and Africa, called “Speculaas”, could also be the origin of Specula. The name “Speculas” is still used in England, Holland and a little in Belgium. The ending “as” was gradually transformed over time into “os”, in order to give the name a more francophone sound and therefore easier to pronounce by the Walloons and the inhabitants of Northern France.
Recipe for molded speculoos:
Spice mix for Speculoos:
-2+1/8 teaspoons cinnamon powder
-1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon of 4-spice mix
-1/8 teaspoon cardamom powder
-1/8 teaspoon aniseed powder
-480g of flour
-60g of water or milk (you have to go little by little depending on the absorption of the flour)
-200g unsalted butter
-320g of brown vergeoise
-3 teaspoons speculoos spice mix
-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Here is my mold that was sculpted by Huysmans-Bleeckx. You can find his website and prices here.
Here is the package of vergeoise needed for the recipe…
Many recipes write that you can replace this sugar with brown sugar, but I disagree. It is precisely this sugar that gives the cookies their flavor.
Start by preparing the spice mixture by gathering all the spices needed for the preparation.
You can prepare double the recipe to have some in advance.
Place soft butter, brown vergeoise, spices and water in a large bowl.
Mix well to obtain a creamy consistency.
Add flour and baking powder. Mix just to incorporate without insisting.
I ordered my mold from the sculptor who produces Dandoy’s…! The details are just fantastic! Simply spray with a can of grease remover (see the recipe for canelés) then flour. It is necessary to tap hard to remove the surplus…
Take pieces of dough and push them into the mold end to end to get all the details of the mold.
You need to apply some dough on the whole surface of the mold.
With a large knife, cut with the blade flat on the mold. If the dough is well pressed against the mold, there is no risk of cutting and thinning the dough with a curved blade.
Remove excess dough.
The result is a perfectly delineated subject.
The most delicate step is the demolding. It will probably take some practice. But just start over if the dough breaks! You have to turn the mould upside down over a parchment paper, then start the demoulding with a paring knife or with your fingers… Then tap with a hammer or rolling pin on the bottom of the pan (which is on top during this operation!!).
The dough will then begin to fall and “unroll” onto the paper. The most delicate part is of course the head of Saint Nicholas!
The subjects thus perfectly unmoulded are almost ready for the cooking. But there is a secret to keeping the fine details intact… As with macaroons, you’ll have to let them crust in the refrigerator for at least 2 or 3 hours…! This is a must for beautiful speculoos!
Preheat oven to 170°C.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, keeping an eye on the cooking time and adapting to your own oven… Let cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight box (lock&lock type).