Saturday, December 5, 2009

Speculatius (German Spice Cookies)

With St. Nicholas' feast day approaching, our bakery just shipped out an order of hand decorated St. Nicholas gourmet Speculatius cookies. They take about 45 minutes each to hand decorate with royal icing.

Speculatius (German Spice Cookies) are considered the traditional St. Nicholas Cookie and the recipe hails from the Rhineland. Here's the Speculatius recipe that I used:


Mix in order:
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 4 eggs whole
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons allspice
  • 2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons ginger
  • 2 teaspoons cloves

Turn out onto a floured board. Knead in about one cup additional flour or as much as you need until dough is no longer sticky and is easy to handle.

Put into a plastic bag and refrigerate until chilled and stiff. Then you are ready to roll out and cut the cookies. Cut off a manageable piece and keep the rest cool until you are ready for more.

For the larger, hand decorated St. Nicholas cookies, roll the dough to about ¼ inch thickness. Cut out cookie around paper pattern. Place on greased baking sheet.

Bake at 350º F. until golden-brown. These keep forever in tins in the freezer or for two-three weeks on the shelf.

Happy St. Nicholas Day!

This recipe (and beautiful photo) was submitted by Victoria, from Designer Pastry, for publication here at Catholic Cuisine! Thank you Victoria!

This would also be a great recipe to use with the St. Nicholas Cookie Cutters available from the St. Nicholas Center!

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  1. I'm going to use this recipe today. I know that my cookies will not be as beautiful as yours, but ti's worth a try, right?

  2. those cookies are beautiful. what a wonderful bakery.

  3. My dough turned out dry rather than sticky even without the additional cup of flour to add in. Any thoughts?

  4. I will forward your question on to Victoria from Designer Bakery, who shared this recipe. It has been a year since I made it myself, and I don't remember the details - just that the cookies turned out yummy. I actually made two batches, one using this recipe and another recipe using molasses (they were my favorite!) that came with our cookie cutters. ) I am still trying to find that second recipe to make again this year.)

  5. Substitute the shortening with unsalted butter. It will give the batter a looser texture and actually, a bit of a better taste! :)