…served with this peanut butter ice.
After throwing my last home made cookies away, because they were, as Bob and Jenna Torres would put it “totally not vegan”, I ran back to my kitchen immediately. Over here the temperatures have gone down (around 12-14 °C) and Christmas season is on it’s way. You think I am joking? Definitely not! Okay, people haven’t dragged out their Christmas decoration yet, but if you enter a German supermarket at the first of September, you will find Lebkuchen (gingerbread), Chocolate Santa Claus figures, and Spekulatius. And you will find lots of this stuff.
First of September! I remember that they started to sell Christmas treads on the first of October a couple of years ago and I thought that was early! When I was a child, my mother always refused to buy anything of that stuff before St.Nicolas Day, on the 6th of December. There was only one exception: Spekulatius, because my mother NEVER can resist them. These cookies are a traditional Christmas cookie found in Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany.
My mother always buys only one special brand because, as she says, they taste best. And if my father comes home and says something like “They were sold out, but I got another brand.” she will always answer: “These are the wrong ones!” Those Spekulatius cookies she likes come in 600g (almost 1 1/2 lb) bags (and this one bag can be eaten in no time! ). When I come home a couple of days before Christmas she always askes: “Do you want some Spekulatius? I’ve hidden them!” Although everyone knows that she keeps kilos of them.
I keep the tradition to buy no Christmas sweets before St. Nicolas day as well. There’s one exception and I want only one special brand…The funny thing is, that these are the ONLY vegan cookies that you can get at a regular supermarket and so I start buying them from the first of September as well! They are called “Gewürzspekulatius” (Spice spekulatius) and traditionally they include one egg and a lot of butter. So they are easy to veganize anyway and inspired by a post by Celine some time ago, I made my first Spekulatius.
This is the original recipe I used and here is my adapted version:
Spekulatius (yield: around 40 cookies)
150g whole spelt flour (1 1/4 cup)
60 g vegan margarine (1/3 cup)
60g brown sugar (I used dried cane juice = Sucanat or Rapadura, which is the best kind of sugar for these cookies) (1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon)
30g almond flour (1 oz.)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch ground cloves
1 pinch ground cardamom
eventually some soy milk or water
Cream together sugar and margarine.
Add spices, lemon peel and ground almonds and mix.
Add flour and baking powder and kneed until you get a form dough. If your mixture is too crumbly and the dough won’t form, you can add some liquid like soy milk or water (to make up for the missing egg).
Form into a flat disk, wrap in some foil and refrigerate for one hour.
Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F) and roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface.
Cut out the cookies with a cookie cutter and bake on a baking sheet (lined with parchment paper) for 10-15 minutes until slightly browned.
I know it’s hard but don’t serve them immediately because the spices need their time to develop their taste. Wait one or two days…if you can.
P.S. They didn’t taste like the one’s me and my mother use to buy but I am working on it. I think next time I will make my “pinches” of cloves and cardamom a bit bigger. By the way, P., the omnivore, seems to be especially attracted by these guys, the spekulatius-pigs: