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Speculaas is a special Dutch Christmas treat. It is a spicy cookie with almonds,
and is traditionally molded into the shape of Saint Nicholas. Specialty bakers
in the Netherlands still make the giant, 12-inch high Speculaas using antique,
carved molds. This is a richer variation, filled with almond paste.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2/3 cup butter or margarine
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 (7 ounce) package almond paste
1 egg, beaten
4 tablespoons finely sliced almonds
Sift flour with baking powder. Cut butter into flour mixture. Add sugar,
cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, milk and lemon zest; mix well. Roll out dough on a
lightly floured surface into a rectangle 1/4-inch thick. Cut in half. Place half
on a heavy sheet of aluminum foil, folding the edges of foil up around dough to
make a shallow, fitted pan.
Roll out the almond paste to fit on top of dough. Brush top of dough in foil pan
with beaten egg, then put almond paste on top. Cover with remaining half of the
dough, pressing down lightly to eliminate air bubbles. Brush top with beaten
egg. Scatter almond slices over the top, pressing them lightly into the dough.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes, or until done. Let cool, then cut into