Speculaas: Netherlands’ Quintessential Christmas Cookies

I knew it was time to get serious about Christmas this year when Gordon came home with a box from Topper Bakery in Ogden. So on the Third Day of Imported Christmas, we are celebrating Speculaas, the delicious Dutch cookies that we keep meaning to share with people but never quite manage to.

Speculaas are sweet spiced cookies historically served on St. Nicholas day that are now a Christmas tradition. The cookies are pressed into wooden molds to be stamped with an image of St. Nicholas or a windmill (there are other shapes, but based on my Topper Bakery experience, I only accept these two as cannon). Apparently,  Dutch children can receive speculaas cookies in their shoes as a St. Nicholas day reward for good behavior. Naughty children receive pfeffernusse cookies instead, which are full of pepper, cloves, and other things naughty children find disgusting because of their terribly unrefined palates.

Topper Bakery’s speculaas are sweet and soft with lots of delicious spices and sugar crystals coating the outside. They also guard the secret of their recipe like it’s a matter of national security. So you’ll just have to google different recipes and experiment until you find one you like.

If you want to be really authentic, you’ll need to either buy or make a mold for the cookies. Gordon carved a pair out of wood just in case Topper ever stops making them or sells out before we can get there.

Now excuse me while I go eat the 6-8 cookies we said we bought for my in-laws. Come on Gordon, you knew it was a lie when you brought them home.

Twelve Days of Imported Christmas

  1. The First Day: Tió de Nadal: Catalonia’s Pooping Christmas Log
  2. The Second Day: Kentucky for Christmas: Japan’s Festive KFC
  3. The Third Day: Speculaas: Netherlands’ Quintessential Christmas Cookies
  4. The Fourth Day: Wassailing: England’s Apple Tree Pep Talk
  5. The Fifth Day: Jolabokaflod: Iceland’s Literary Flood

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