With fall making its entrance, and speculaas and fall spices popping up everywhere, I was looking for recipes for some nice seasonal treats. I'm a big fan of 'gevulde speculaas' (filled speculaas)as we call it, which is basically a spiced cookie, filled with almond paste, baked into a big slab of cookie that you cut into pieces after baking (you could compare it with a bar cookie I guess).
When browsing my books and the web for recipe, I stumbled onto a recipe for another Dutch treat as well, also using almond paste but without the spices. We call them 'gevulde koeken' which translates into 'filled cookies'. Both came out so well, I decided to post a full report with instructions and the recipe here.
I have to thank Chufi on Egullet, who described the proces and the recipe before. I have slightly altered it to our likes.
Let's start with the filled cookies. It really is a fairly easy process, just takes some time because the dough needs to be chilled and rolled/cut, but I promiss, if you're an almond lover, you will be glad you gave it a try.
This is the recipe and the directions:
300 g / 10.5 oz AP flour
200 g / 1 cup - 2TBS cold butter, cubed
150 g / 3/4 cup sugar
200 g / 7 oz almond paste
1 egg for egg wash, with a little milk added and beaten
blanched almond halves
Preheat oven to 350 F / 175 C.
In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, mix butter, flour and sugar to form a dough. You may need to add about 1 tsp - 1 TBS of cold milk or water for the dough to come together. Wrap in foil and refrigerate for about an hour (up to a few days)
Mix almond paste with egg.
Roll out the dough on a floured surface, until fairly thin. Cut out rounds with a fluted round cutter. I used a 2.5 inch cutter, which yielded 44 rounds for 22 cookies. Put half the rounds on a baking sheet, and place filling in the middle of each cookie. It's okay to make a mound.
Moisten edges with a little water, put pastry round on top and seal edges. Generously brush with egg wash and put an almond on top. Brush again with egg wash.
Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. I got them out of the oven twice to brush them with the egg wash again, to give them an extra lovely color. This is how they look right out of the oven:
Now to the filled speculaas, which is basically the same proces, but it's quicker because it is traditionally baked into a large slab and cut after baking. If you're into the cutting proces and like to make individual little tarts, you can follow the same procedure as described above.
The recipe and instructions:
To make these cookies the traditional Dutch spicemix (speculaaskruiden) is used. You can make your own, the spices that should be in there are: cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, aniseed, coriander, cardamom, in a ratio: cinnamon 3 : cloves 2: nutmeg 2: ginger 1/2: aniseed 1/2: coriander 1/2: cardamom 1/2.
300 g / 10.5 oz of selfrising flour (or use AP flour with 1 tsp baking powder)
150 g / 11 TBS of cold, cubed unsalted butter
150 g / 1/2 cup + 1TBS brown sugar
1 to 2 TBS speculaas spices, to taste (I use 2)
pinch of salt
about 1 TBS milk
350 g / 12 oz almond paste
grated rind of half a lemon
1 egg for eggwash, beaten with a little milk or cream
blanched almond halves or slivers
Preheat oven to 350 F / 175 C.
In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix the forst 5 ingredients for the dough. You may have to add the milk to make it come together.
Divide into two parts, wrap in saran wrap and refrigerate for an hour, up to three days (it will stiffen the dough and help to develop the flavor).
Mix the almond paste with the lemon zest and the egg until you have a spreadable mixture.
On a floured counter, roll out one part of the dough into a rectangle (or any other shape you like). Put on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Spread the almond paste on top, leaving a 1 inch border. It will still be pretty stiff. Carefully spread it over the pastry with the back of a spoon, wetting it to keep the paste from sticking.
Roll out the other part of the dough and place on top. Press the edges to seal and trim all around with a knife to make a neatly shaped log.
Press the almond halves on top and genrously brush the log with the egg wash.
Bake for approximately 25 minutes. Let completely cool before cutting into pieces. This could also be made in a tin or as individual filled cookies.
The speculaas will keep pretty well and improve in flavor. Just store in an airtight tin. Enjoy!!