Speculaas (a Christmas special in Holland)

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tbsp speculaas spices *
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 stick butter
2 tbsp milk
a few drops vanilla extract

* speculaas spices:
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp mace
3 tsp cinnamon


Mix the dry ingredients, and cut in the butter till the pieces are pea-sized or smaller. Add the milk and the vanilla, and knead the mass into a smooth ball of dough. The dough is best if kept in the fridge for several hours.

There are several things you can make with this dough. One is called 'pepernoten' or 'kruidnoten', spicy nuts: I put a chunk of dough on the counter, and use a 1/2 tsp measuring spoon to cut small equal amounts from the dough. These I roll into balls and press onto a cookie sheet. You can get 100-200 on a sheet.

In Holland, we use carved planks to shape cookies of various sizes, but you can also roll out the dough to about 1/8" thick, and use cookie cutters.

Bake at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes. They are done when the bottoms just start turning a little dark. When cooled, they are quite hard.