I really love making biscuits, I think I like making them more than any other food. There’s something about it that I find relaxing and rewarding. Perhaps I should be listening to myself, maybe a cookie business is the way forward!
Anyway, I’m constantly on the look out for inspiration, be it in supermarkets, bakeries, magazines or online. Seeing something new to experiment with and recreate makes me happy, and happiness in certainly needed in the cold dark days of January. The inspiration for these speculaas biscuits comes from the gorgeous Ottolenghi cookbook ‘Sweet‘ which I got for my birthday. I’m a big fan of Yotam Ottolenghi and his food, and as you can imagine a recipe book of his sweet treats is right up my street. These homemade Lotus biscuits caught my eye straight away, and I have to say that with a few tweaks and experiments the resulting ‘friendly’ biscuits are spot on. The spice [and if you can get hold of genuine speculaas spice then all the better – The Speculaas Spice Company makes a really delicious spice blend or use this recipe to make your own] and crisp nature of the biscuits make them the ultimate accompaniment to a cup of tea or coffee.
You may ask why bother when Lotus biscuits are ubiquitous all over Europe? Well, they may be easily found, but in my opinion homemade is generally best and these biscuits would win hands down in any ‘cookie-off’.
Homemade Speculaas Biscuits
(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)
makes about 30
220g plain flour
1/2 tbsp baking powder
1&1/2 – 2 tsp speculaas spice mix
pinch of salt
125g dairy-free margarine
160g soft light brown sugar
20-30ml dairy-free milk
- Preheat the oven to 210 degrees C/190 degrees C fan/Gas Mark 6
- Cream together the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy, add 20ml dairy-free milk. The mix may split after this addition, if so add an handful of the flour.
- Sieve in the flour, spice, baking powder and salt and bring together to a firm dough. If it remains too crumbly add an extra splash of the milk.
- Roll out to the thickness of a pound coin and cut out shapes. Place slightly apart on lined baking sheets and bake for 12 minutes, turning the trays round half way through so they brown evenly. Cool on the trays before moving to a wire rack.
- These biscuits keep really well for about one week.
Lotus specaloos biscuits are an unfailingly safe and readily available snack, especially in Europe. The delicate spices works well in so many settings, most notably with a quality cup of coffee.
As may by now have become apparent (especially if you follow me on Instagram!), Thursdays are my baking day. I’m not at work and following school drop off and an early boot camp session, I settle in for a serious baking session, putting into practice all the ideas that have been floating around in my head during my lengthy commute to work earlier in the week. It also enables me to provide some home baked goodies for both girls to take in and share with their class on a Friday. They so often miss out on the treats bought in by others for birthdays etc, and I think it’s important that they witness their friends eating and enjoying the same things they do.
The other week (I’m always a few weeks behind on my writing up, hence the heart theme!) I had the idea of making Linzer cookies or Jammie dodgers as they’re known in the UK. Big S likes jam so the flavour combo for her class was a no brainer (recipe coming soon!) but little S isn’t keen. I could have made a buttercream but then I spied a half empty jar of Lotus biscuit spread in the larder – perfect, what a great plan. Mildly spiced crisp biscuits sandwiched together with the caramelised biscuit spread. I only had the crunchy version which did work but next time I’d go for smooth for best texture combination.
Lotus Spread filled Jammie Dodgers (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)
Makes about 20 sandwich cookies
- 1/2 cup dairy-free spread
- 1/4 cup icing sugar
- 1 tbsp soft brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- pinch of ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 1/2 cups plain flour
- 1 tbsp dairy-free milk, I used Oatly
- 1/2 cup Lotus speculoos spread
- icing sugar to dust the top biscuits with
– Cream together the dairy-free spread, icing sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
– Sift in the spices, salt, bicarb and plain flour and mix to a soft dough, adding the dairy-free milk to make the mixing easier.
– Wrap in cling film and rest in the fridge for half an hour.
– Heat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade/ gas mark 4 and line cookie sheets with parchment
– Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out.
– Cut out an even number of shapes, and cut smaller shapes out of the centre of half of them.
– Place on the lined baking trays and cook for 10 minutes.
– Cool on a wire rack
– Dust the cookies with windows with icing sugar. Spread the lotus spread over the whole cookies and sandwich the window cookies on top.