This will make me sound like an unabashed nerd, but a well designed grocery store is my happy place. I love turning the corners around aisles to discover unexpected treasures on the end caps. Encountering baby vegetables of any variety can turn my day around like that Dead or Alive song.
While at Trader Joe’s the other day, picking up some fancy cheese for a Sunday dinner, I impulsively picked up a box of those deliciously addictive Speculoos cookies. I’d had them before, but in the course of my daily life of writing books and waiting tables, I had forgotten about these gingery, crispy delights.
The Gent and I proceeded to devour the box within 48 hours.
We needed more. So many more. In a cookie-craving frenzy, I pawed through my pantry and uncovered cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, molasses…. I had eggs, and butter, and flour, even Almond Meal. Then I was called off work last night and the evening unrolled before me like a blank canvas waiting to be filled.
It was cookie kismet.
These babies have a decent shelf life, are amazing little snacks, and (if you can refrain from devouring all of them) make a lovely hostess gift.
Sidework Speculaas Cookies
makes about 60 cookies, depending on how large/small you chop ’em.
1 ½ c flour
½ c almond flour
½ tsp kosher salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 Tbs cinnamon
¾ tsp ginger
1/8 tsp cloves
¼ tsp nutmeg
½ c (1 stick) butter, softened
¾ c sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 1/2 tsp un-sulphured molasses
1 tsp vanilla
zest of 1 lemon
Optional: Cinnamon Sugar or sanding sugar
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter, sugar, and molasses until fluffy. While butter is fluffing, combine first 8 ingredients (flours, salt, BP, and spices) in a separate bowl. When butter is fluffy, add egg and beat well. When egg is fully incorporated, add vanilla and beat well.
Add dry ingredients to butter mixture and stir until combined. Then either:
A) flatten dough into a disc, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 hours
B) separate dough into thirds. With slightly wet hands roll each third into an 8 inch log. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for three hours (or up to a month)
Once dough is chilled, either
A) roll chilled disc into ¼ thickness, cut into squares and bake in a 350 degree oven until edges begin to brown (8-11 minutes)
B) roll logs in cinnamon sugar or sanding sugar (optional), then slice into ¼ inch thick coins and bake in a 350 degree oven until edges begin to brown (6-8 minutes)
When you pull hot cookies from the oven, lightly press a cookie cutter into the center to create a design, if you are feeling fancy. The cookies crisp as they cool and are perfect to serve with a cup of tea or coffee. Store cooled cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.