Friday, December 3, 2010

FFwD - Speculoos


I have made it to Friday - hooray! It's been a long week in which I haven't had one decent night's sleep, for one reason or another. I won't be getting that tonight either - I have tickets to see U2 at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, and I am stoked. Years ago when I was at Uni, someone asked me to go to the Zoo TV/Zooropa tour, but I declined because of lack of cash to buy a ticket. It is therefore great to be able to have the chance to see U2 now. I am not up on their latest music so much, but a band like U2 will always throw in some old favourites. All I Want Is You, a U2 song that featured in the movie Reality Bites, is one of my favourite songs of all time, so I hope they play it.

What has all of that got to do with French Fridays with Dorie? Nothing actually, apart from the fact that both events occur on a Friday.

This month, FFwD is once again free choice within the 5 recipes. I decided to start with the Speculoos - as a baker, it seemed like a natural choice, and I was curious to know what they tasted like. Ever since seeing David Lebovitz's post on Speculoos in a jar, I have been keen to try them, so now is my big chance.

Speculoos are spice cookies with cinnamon, ginger and cloves, making them appropriate Christmas fare. I didn't have any cloves, so I left them out - and at 1/8th of a teaspoon, I don't think it made much difference. I rolled my dough thinly with the thought of making my Speculoos into sandwich cookies, but apart from one that I filled with dulce de leche for myself (and which tasted excellent!), I didn't bother making sandwich cookies.



The dough was very hard to work with because it was incredibly soft - after just a couple of minutes out of the fridge, it became almost impossible to remove the scraps from around the cut out cookies, so I resorted to carving out the scraps with a knife and leaving the cookies on the baking paper on which I cut them out. (Warning - don't try using fancy shaped cutters to make these, as it will be way too hard to get them out in one piece.) So that I could space them on the baking tray with enough room to spread, I cut around the cookies on the paper and reassembled them on a baking tray like a jigsaw. The softness of this dough surprised me, as my friend Anna gave me two Speculoos kits with moulds for my birthday a couple of years ago. The use of moulds would indicate that the recipe used in the kits yielded a far more robust dough than Dorie's recipe.

And the verdict? These cookies are delicious, crisp spice cookies, similar to many others in my Christmas repertoire. This means that, due to the difficulty of working with the dough, I am unlikely to choose these over some of the other more robust spice cookies that I have made. I highly recommend sandwiching a teaspoon of dulce de leche between two of these cookies - the spices and the caramel were made for each other, and I imagine tastes something like David Lebovitz's Speculoos a Tartiner.

To check out what the other FFwD members made this week, go to the LYL section of the
French Fridays with Dorie website.

31 comments:

stef said...

Oh yah on the U2 concert. I am bummed to have missed the one in Auckland

stef said...

Oh yah on the U2 concert. I am bummed to have missed the one in Auckland

Elaine Corwin said...

I'm a little reluctant to make these because of having to do them gluten free. How long did you leave them in the fridge? Am I right to assume, rolling them on parchment paper is the best way to handle them? Did they stick very much when they were finished? Like I said I have some trepidation even thinking about making them.

Steph said...

Enjoy the concert. Cookies look yummy! Love the dulce de leche!!

cocinadiary said...

Your cookies look so delicious! Mine are in the oven as we speak. And congrats on the tickets to U2; green with envy here :)

Nutmeg Nanny said...

Have fun at the concert! I would love to see U2.

Cakelaw said...

Thanks for the concert wishes guys!

Elaine, I refrigerated mine for 2 hours (I didn't have 3 hours, as stated by Dorie). I find with doughs like this that rolling them on parchment paper not only assists with rolling out the dough, but if the cut outs start to stick or you have difficulty removing the scraps, the paper makes it easier to manipulate the dough (eg I used a knife to scrape the scraps from around the cookies, then left the cookies on the parchment and cut around each one with scissors to lift and position on the baking tray). Once they are baked, it's all plain sailing - they come straight off the parchment paper.

Ellie (Almost Bourdain) said...

You have just reminded me that it's time to make some Speculoos!! They look good and I am sure they taste great!

yummychunklet said...

I absolutely LOVE that song by U2. It's my favorite part of Reality Bites! I was hesitant to make these cookies, but I think they turned out well! I omitted the ginger instead of the cloves, and I think it still worked.

Kris' Kitchen said...

Appreciate all the tips as I will be making these soon.

Not Quite Nigella said...

I have eaten many of these but never baked them but I shall take your warning on board about the dough if I do!

Johanna GGG said...

have a great time - am sure U2 are amazing performers - would love to see them

and those cookies sound interesting - I love spicy cookies but the soft dough makes me less tempted - glad you enjoyed them after your efforts - wonder if this funny humid weather made it harder to work with the dough

Cher said...

Enjoy the concert! U2 is one of my alltime favorites - I paid a king's ransom to see them a few years ago and it was so worth it. They don't disappoint.

Cookies look great - I feel a weekend project with the kids coming on.

Kathy said...

Congrats on the U2 concert…love them. Your cookies look yummy. My husband is Dutch and I make Speculaas cookies every year at Christmas. I am looking forward to trying a new recipe. I usually make my dough the night before I plan on baking them. Maybe that would help with the softness.

Happy Cook said...

Here we have speculoos cookies with bread too in the morning. I love the way you have done them.

Frolicking Night Owl said...

I'm looking forward to this recipe but am always worried about working with doughs. Thanks for the tip from David!

Ivy said...

Have fun going to the concert. The ginger cookies are mouthwatering.

Sis. Boom. said...

Not being a baker I'm not looking forward to this. I'm also not a huge fan of dry-ish cookies but I'm up for the challenge and LOVE the dulce le leche idea and will steal it!
Trevor Sis. Boom.

Indie.Tea said...

How lovely...

Jessica of My Baking Heart said...

I can't wait to make these - my favorite cookie is similar to these! Hope you have fun at the concert! :)

jillbert said...

These sound delicious, but I get so frustrated when I work with difficult cookie dough.

I hope you enjoyed the concert! I'm not up on the latest U2 either, but it would be so great to see them live.

sarah @ For the Love of Food said...

What lovely,delicate sounding biscuits - and just in time for Xmas. I must say the handling of the dough is a bit off putting though (I'm no dough afficionado - is that a pun?). I'd be happy to be presented with a batch though :)

onewetfoot said...

Thanks for the tips; I've yet to make these. I love the idea of dulce de leche with them, too!

crustabakes said...

Totally agreeing on that dulce de leche sandwiched in between! :)

Jennifer said...

U2-always a favorite of mine! Hope you had fun at the concert1

Those cookies look delicious!!!

Lana said...

I am going to wait for my daughter to come from from the University to make these:) She loves to bake.
I think that I am going to like the taste of speculoos and I am seriously thinking of that Dulce de Leche thing:)
Oh, U2, how I love them! Brings back the memories of Piazza di Spagna in Rome, 1987, when a hundred of us from all over the world sang their songs...

blackbookkitchendiaries said...

I love spice cookies. It is definately a good idea for the holidays. Thanks for sharing.

Indie.Tea said...

My type of cookie. These look delicious.

wanderlustforfood said...

I'm making these cookies on Thursday - hopefully they will turn out as well as yours!

So jealous that you are going to U2 in Melbourne! I'm moving to Brisbane from the US in January so I just barely missed the tour! - Laura

scrambledhenfruit said...

Spiced cookies are my favorites! I haven't tried these yet, but I'm looking forward to them- yours look yummy, especially with the dulce de leche sandwiched between them. :)

Barbara l Vino Luci Style said...

Thanks for the honest appraisal; I've got so many cookie recipes I'm not sure I'm game to try one that has a degree of difficulty starting with the dough! They sound lovely though and like others...congrats on scoring tickets to see U2.