When my kids were little, one of their favourite treats (and a great enticement to get them outdoors in any kind of weather) was to walk to a local food shop that had bulk bins of cookies. Just about every time, they’d reach for the windmill cookies – their absolute favourite. Flavoured with cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamom and nutmeg, these crunchy little delights are also known as Belgian spice cookies or Dutch Speculoos cookies. I’ve even heard them referred to as ‘airplane cookies’ because they have been a popular snack served on several international airlines. While the cookies themselves are not a new thing, more recently, they have been translated into a delicious creamy spread similar in texture to peanut butter or Nutella but packed with that sweet-spiced cookie flavour. In the United States, it quickly became famous as Biscoff or cookie spread; here in Canada you are more likely to find it as Speculoos spread, available in many European-style grocery stores – Lotus is the most popular brand but there are others as well and I recently found Penotti Brand “Speculoos Cookinotti” at my local Superstore! It is fantastic on toast, crumpets and scones, and makes absolutely amazing cookies too – these are soft and chewy and oh-so-yummy.
- 1 cup Speculoos spread or Biscoff (smooth or creamy version, not crunchy)
- 1 cup butter, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon each cinnamon and ginger
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and Speculoos spread (or Biscoff) with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds.
- Add the brown sugar and 1/3 cup white sugar and beat until well blended.
- Beat in the eggs and vanilla until combined.
- Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt in a small bowl. Add to the butter mixture and stir until well blended.
- Cover and chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least one hour or up to 24 hours; this hydrates the flour and makes the dough little more firm for easier handling.
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Put 2 tablespoons white sugar in a small bowl.
- Using a cookie scoop or two teaspoons, scoop out one inch balls of dough. Roll them in your hands if needed to make them round.
- Roll dough balls in the white sugar and place 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets.
- Bake for 8 – 9 minutes (no longer!) until tops are starting to crack and bottoms are golden brown.
- Remove from heat and let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 5 dozen cookies.
Note: you can freeze cookie dough balls on a parchment-lined sheet and then transfer to an airtight container. That way you can bake up just a dozen or so at a time, whenever you want fresh cookies. This method works well for most cookie doughs.