Speculaas cookies, aka speculoos cookies or windmill cookies, are easy to make, very buttery, and perfectly spiced. They’re a delicious addition to holiday cookie trays!
If you’re looking for inspiration for your Christmas cookie trays then you’ve come to the right place—because today’s recipe is A) a perfect holiday cookie and B) suuuuper delicious.
These speculaas cookies are spicy, buttery, crunchy, crumbly, and highly addictive.
Whether you make them to give away or keep all for yourself (I recommend the latter), your kitchen will smell like the holidays when these are in the oven!
Why you’ll love these speculaas cookies:
- You don’t need a stand mixer to make them
- Both the dough and the cookies freeze well
- The recipe doubles easily so you can feed a crowd!
How to make speculaas cookies
- Beat room temperature butter with an electric mixer until creamy
- Add brown sugar and granulated sugar
- Beat until smooth
- Combine the dry ingredients in a second bowl
- Whisk until well combined
- Gradually beat into the butter-sugar mixture
Baker’s tip: Be sure you use room temp butter so it mixes into your cookies properly.
If your butter is cold, cut it into small chunks and it will come up to room temperature much faster. You’ll know the butter is ready to use when you can press it with your fingertip and it gives a little but still holds its shape.
Then you’ll chill your dough for a couple of hours (or overnight). Once the dough has chilled, let it sit at room temp for a few minutes or it’s really hard to roll out.
- Roll your dough to a 1/4-inch thickness and cut into shapes
- Arrange cookies on baking sheets
- Bake until the cookies look set in the middle
Note: Your dough might crumble when you try to roll it out. That’s fine! Just press the crumbly parts back together. Be sure to let the dough sit at room temp for a few minutes before rolling it; that will help prevent it from crumbling as much.
How to freeze speculaas cookie dough
Tightly wrap each portion of dough in plastic wrap and/or freezer paper and freeze for up to 2 months. When you’re ready to bake, thaw the dough in the fridge overnight.
In the morning, you can roll your dough, cut out your cookies, and bake.
I don’t recommend freezing the dough after you’ve cut out your cookies, though—it will dry out.
If you’ve already cut out the cookies it’s better to bake them, then freeze the baked cookies. (They’ll last in the freezer, tightly wrapped, for about 3 months.)
What are speculaas cookies?
Speculaas cookies, also known as speculoos cookies, biscoff cookies, or Dutch windmill cookies, are a spicy shortbread cookie traditional in the Netherlands and Belgium.
You’ve probably heard of Biscoff spread—that (delicious) stuff gets its flavor from speculaas cookies.
The spice blend in speculaas varies from recipe to recipe but typically includes cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom, and ginger.
The taste is sort of similar to a gingersnap, only without molasses.
Speculaas cookies are often shaped with cookie molds but I just used a round cookie cutter for mine because I don’t have cookie molds and don’t want to store any more kitchen equipment (insert eye roll emoji). You can use any shape cookie cutter you like!
If you have springerle cookie molds you can use them here.
How to pronounce speculaas
If you’re wondering exactly how to pronounce the name of this cookie, don’t worry—you’re not alone.
It’s pronounced SPECK-yoo-lahss.
(That last syllable should sound just like the word “loss.”)
Why do I need to grind my cardamom fresh?
This speculaas cookies recipe calls for fresh-ground cardamom—the reason? Once cardamom is ground, it loses its potency incredibly quickly.
If you’ve never ground your own cardamom before you’ll be shocked at how much flavor one little pod packs when compared to its pre-ground counterpart.
Buy your cardamom pods in bulk and you can buy just what you need for a recipe. Grind it in a coffee grinder until it’s very fine and you’re ready to bake with it.
All that said, feel free to substitute more cinnamon or cloves or even throw in some allspice in place of the cardamom if you don’t care for it or don’t want to buy it.
How to grind cardamom
- Remove the outer shell from your cardamom pods
- Put the cardamom (minus the shell!) in a coffee grinder
- Grind until very fine
You can also use a mortar and pestle but it will take longer.
See those little black things next to the cardamom pods in the first pic below? That’s what cardamom looks like right out of the pod. The second pic is how is should look after you grind it.
Did you make these speculaas cookies? That’s great! Let me know what you think with a comment and a rating below. Then post a pic on IG–tag @theitsybitsykitchen so I can see your delicious creations!
Speculaas cookies are an easy, butter, and perfectly spiced shortbread-like cookie. They're delicious for the holidays or any time of year!
- 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom from 4 to 5 cardamom pods
- small pinch freshly ground black pepper
- Place the butter in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until creamy. Add the sugars and beat until smooth, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary.
- Whisk the flour, salt, and spices together in a second bowl. With mixer on low, gradually beat the dry ingredients into the butter-sugar mixture.
- Divide the dough into two equal portions and shape each into a flat disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (or up to overnight).*
- After the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Take 1 disk out of the fridge at let sit at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes to warm up a bit.
- Roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness and use a 2 1/2-inch cookie cutter to cut out shapes. (The dough will be crumbly but that’s fine, just shove the crumbs together.)
- Bake on ungreased, unlined baking sheets for 10 to 15 minutes, until the cookies look set in the middle. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 2 minutes, then carefully remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Store uneaten cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the freezer, tightly wrapped, for up to 3 months.
- *At this point you can also freeze the dough (tightly wrapped) for up to 2 months. When you’re ready to use it, defrost it in the fridge overnight. In the morning it should be ready to roll out and bake.
- Be sure your butter is at room temperature before you mix your cookies. Cutting it into small chunks will help it come to room temp faster; you’ll know it’s ready to use when you can press it with your fingertip and it gives a little but still holds its shape.
- If you don’t like cardamom or don’t have any, you can substitute additional cinnamon or cloves. You can also play around with the other spices, such as allspice, if you want.
adapted from How to Bake Everything