Aarlanderveen, Holland is a breathtakingly beautiful village of approximately 500 residents and their four windmills. These windmills are integral to the culture of the area, serving the dual purpose of milling grain into flour while pumping water out of the polders, or land areas which are below sea level.
To celebrate the beauty of Aarlanderveen we are making Speculaas, or Dutch windmill cookies. These cookies are traditionally made using wooden cookie molds, but a windmill-shaped cookie cutter will suffice.
The secret to authentic windmill cookie flavor lies in the Speculaaskruiden, or Dutch “mixed spice.” You can order jars of Speculaaskruiden online, but it’s more fun to mix your own. A recipe for this delightfully aromatic spice blend follows the cookie recipe, below.
Speculaas Cookie Ingredients (makes about 36 windmill cookies)
1 cup real butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons Speculaaskruiden spice mix (see recipe, below)
1/2 cup sliced almonds
Step 1) Cream together butter and brown sugar. Add egg and mix well.
Step 2) Add flour, baking powder, salt, and Speculaaskruiden. Mix by hand; dough will be stiff.
Step 3) Add half of the sliced almonds, reserving the other half as a garnish.
Step 4) Chill dough for at least one hour before rolling 1/4 inch thick on a floured surface. Cut dough into windmill shapes, and carefully transfer to cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.
Step 5) Garnish the unbaked cookies with sliced almonds, as shown above.
Step 6) Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!
Stir together (if using powdered spices) or grind together in a coffee grinder (if using whole spices):
4 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon mace
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon star anise
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
Store spice mix in a tightly sealed container and store away from heat and light. Open container and smell whenever you need a smile. 🙂