warm your weekend: speculaas muffins

speculaas muffins

There’s something special about speculaas – the cookie I always referred to as “windmill” cookies growing up because of the dutch windmill stamped on every one. They were spicy and crunchy and foreign, which seemed quite appealing to my small city ways. You couldn’t buy them at just any grocery store, but the tiny European shop in the farmer’s market building always had them. We usually bought a package around Christmas so I associate them with winter. And it’s a good fit with all those toasty warm cinnamon and spice flavours.

speculaas muffins

I recently spent an evening clearing out my browser bookmarks and stumbled upon a recipe for speculaas muffins. Yes, please! I baked up a batch the next morning. I added sliced almonds because my favorite speculaas cookies are the ones studded with flakey almonds. But I would imagine that raisins or currents would be a nice, non-traditional option. The batter was odd – very thick – and I probably could have scooped it out on a tray and called it a cookie. But I went ahead and lumped in the dough into muffin cups and I was rewarded by a crisp exterior and a lovely crumbed interior. The flavour was excellent and they went perfectly alongside my morning coffee. So if you’re looking to warm-up your February weekend morning with something cozy and nice, I urge you to whip up a batch as soon as possible!

speculaas muffins

elsewhere: Throw a pink dinner party, really! Check out my post over at ReadyMade and get pretty in pink for every single course. Want a crisp graham cracker? Well follow my recipe over at Poppytalk for a simple and tasty cookie. And it’s begging time around here because this blog is up for Best Canadian Blog at the very prestigious Bloggies and I’d LOVE your vote! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

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33 comments to “warm your weekend: speculaas muffins”

  1. 1
    Jacqui   February 18, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    They almost look like wheat rolls. You’ve also reminded me I need to go through and clean out my bookmarks too!

  2. 2
    Su-Lin   February 18, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    These look brilliant – I adore speculaas too!

  3. 3
    Rochelle   February 18, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    As a dutch kid, I am very familiar with speculaas. These muffins are an excellent idea, and I think we will be having them for breakfast this weekend! Thanks!

  4. 4
    heather   February 18, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    Windmill cookies! My request every time I went to the grocery store with my grandparents. There was a self-serve bin with windmills, and we rarely left without a little paper bag full for me and my sister. I can’t wait to make these speculaas muffins … which reminds me … I received a jar of speculaas spread for Christmas. I wonder if I could use that in there? Otherwise, we’re thinking swirled into a vanilla ice cream. What do you think?

    Cheers,

    *Heather*

  5. 5
    Bijoux   February 18, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    Ah, I know exactly the windmill cookies you are referring to! And the flakey almonds are what I enjoyed about them too! The walnut oil must have made these muffins smell incredible! I have a bottle of walnut oil in my cupboard and it’s been there since last summer. I hope it hasn’t gone rancid. It would give me an excuse to use the oil in this recipe.
    Seems cleaning out bookmarks is a February thing to do. I recently did the same thing and added a bunch of new blogs to my RSS reader.

  6. 6
    Joanne   February 19, 2011 at 4:34 am

    Don’t you just love recipes that are rife with memories? I would never have thought to make speculaas in muffin form but now I’m definitely craving one of these with my coffee!

  7. 7
    Maddie   February 19, 2011 at 5:51 am

    Delicious! I’ve actually never had the good fortune to try speculaas cookies, but I heard from a friend studying abroad in Paris that they sold a boxed muesli that had Speculoos (as I guess they call them in France) mixed in.

    Whether in cereal or muffin form, I can’t say I disagree with adding cookies to one’s breakfast!

  8. 8
    Leanne Prain   February 19, 2011 at 8:20 am

    Yum! Thanks for this recipe.

    My family has a speculaas recipe that we bake every year for Christmas. It is my favourite seasonal cookie (though we tend to cut them into hearts and stars). My mom and sister will be very excited about this muffin recipe.

  9. 9
    Julia   February 19, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    Mmmmmm, I am SO making these tomorrow. I adored those cookies whilst living in Germany, where they call them Spekulatius. Yum!

  10. 10
    bonniebonnielass   February 20, 2011 at 8:38 am

    I love, love , love Speculaas. These look heavenly.

  11. 11
    kickpleat   February 20, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    They do a little, Jacqui, but the taste is oh so different!

    Thanks Su-Lin!

    Rochelle, I hope you love them. They are delicious.

    Heather, that sounds like a wonderful recipe! I’d love to get my hands on that spread! I think it would be great smeared over top a muffin and a hells-yes to the ice cream!

    Bijoux, I keep my walnut oil in the fridge. As long as it still smells good, use it!

    Thanks Joanne, they’re great with your morning coffee.

    Maddie, that sounds amazing! Yum.

    Leanne, my in-laws make speculass cookies at Christmastime too. Nothing wrong with hearts and stars :)

    Hope you enjoy them, Julia!

    Thanks bonniebonnielass! They are quite wonderful.

  12. 12
    Rina   February 20, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    LOVE LOVE LOVE speculaas.

  13. 13
    Lee   February 21, 2011 at 10:38 am

    Oh there goes this weeks good intentions, I feel some baking coming on.
    In Belgium they call them speculoos. Someone brilliant made it into a paste or pate (basically peanut butter except made with speculoos) you put lashings of it on chewy bread….heaven. It is sold under the brand of Lotus. A recent find at local stores is Biscoff biscuits, which are speculoos cookies masquerading under a different name. Bakerella made a cheesecake once using them as the cookie base. Fabulous! So thank you for your most excellent post I am off to the kitchen…..

  14. 14
    Jess   February 21, 2011 at 11:52 am

    I called them windmill cookies when I was a kid, too! I imagine that the walnut oil isn’t optional (6 tablespoons…) so I’ll have to wait until I pick up a bottle to make these. Can you tell me what else I can do with the oil?

  15. 15
    kickpleat   February 21, 2011 at 11:58 am

    Thanks Rina!

    Lee, I have to get my hands on that spread, obviously. Luckily, I have a connection!

    Windmill cookies are the best, aren’t they, Jess. As for the walnut oil, you can definitely sub in another type of oil. Really. I used it because I do like baking with it & using it for salad dressings, but you can use canola or even melted coconut oil here (and you can never go wrong with melted butter). Try them & let me know what you think & how it works with another oil.

  16. 16
    Jess   February 21, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Oh, well in that case, speculaas muffins, ho! Thanks, Jeannette. I’ll report back.

  17. 17
    Haley   February 21, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    My Dutch blood is really pumped about these muffins – one can never have too much speculaas. I can’t wait to try these out!

  18. 18
    monika   February 22, 2011 at 6:48 am

    Speculaas! My husband’s Dutch father told us the main cookie factory in the Netherlands that made them burned down and they’d be limited for a while. So we hurried to the Dutch Store on our way to Sauble Beach and bought eleventeen packages of them, only to find out he’d been pulling our legs…

    Must try these!

  19. 19
    Nicole   February 22, 2011 at 8:57 am

    Ah, windmill cookies bring back so many memories! I grew up in Holland, MI where there is a very large Dutch community and these cookies were always around. I love the idea of the same flavors in muffin form. Thanks for sharing!

  20. 20
    Josie Lee Suská   February 22, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Great timing! I juuuuust bought a muffin pan (living the expat life in a place nearly devoid of the muffin concept. Just so you know that I’m not some strange empty-kitchened food blogger.) And I juuuuust discovered your blog and these look awesome! Never heard of speculaas before, so thanks for the heads-up :)

  21. 21
    kickpleat   February 22, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    Jess, I hope they turn out well!

    I agree, Haley! I’m not Dutch but my husband is and he loved these too.

    Monika, sounds like your husband’s dad is a real joker! Too funny.

    Thanks Nicole!

    Josie, enjoy the muffins.

  22. 22
    Alison @ Hospitality Haven   February 23, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    These sound fabulous!! My husband grew up eating speculaas cookies so I think he’d really appreciate these muffins!

  23. 23
    kickpleat   February 28, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    Alison, I hope he enjoys them (and you too!)

  24. 24
    Lisa   March 10, 2011 at 7:47 am

    I made this with agave nectar (just under 1/2 cup) and they turned out quite nicely. I’m not sure if the texture was exactly the same, but they were chewy on the inside and a bit hard on the outside – I loved it.

  25. 25
    lindsey   March 13, 2011 at 12:10 am

    i live in vietnam, and made these muffins with a vietnamese co-worker who has been begging me to teach her to cook something. Usually everything I bake is too sweet, but these won her hearty approval (and mine!). thanks for posting this delicious recipe!

  26. 26
    kickpleat   March 13, 2011 at 10:41 am

    Lisa, so glad you loved these!

    Lindsey, so glad that you and your coworker enjoyed these!

  27. 27
    Katja   March 23, 2011 at 5:32 am

    Thank you for the recipe, as a Dutch girl speculaas brings back winter memories from the past!

    You could use an icecream scoop (greased with some butter) to scoop the batter in the cups, when you have thick batter like with these cupcakes.

    If you’re looking for more speculaas products: in the Netherlands they sell speculaas icecream at the Australian Homemade shops.. (only during winter time though)

  28. 28
    Wilson   March 23, 2011 at 9:22 am

    Oh my! These sound so great. I love the addition of the walnut oil.

  29. 29
    Ashley   March 31, 2011 at 6:58 am

    I don’t think I’ve ever had speculaas before!! I really want to try these muffins though. I love the mix of spice, especially having the black pepper in there.

  30. 30
    Oswald Hamilton   February 2, 2012 at 2:50 am

    Speculoos is made from caramelized gingerbread cookie which was traditionally baked for consumption on St. Nicholas day in Belgium.Speculoos is sourced and derived from the Dutch word ‘speculaas’ and it is a type or form of biscuit or cookies that we eat on a daily basis as part of our breakfast or snacks.

  31. 31
    Donna Castle   March 15, 2012 at 12:46 am

    We were introduced to the “windmill” cookies years ago on our first assignment to Germany. This year we “met” the speculaas spread. Yum. Can’t wait to try this recipe and send it on to our children. Question: does “ww” mean “whole wheat”? What kind of flour is “ap”? Thanks!

  32. 32
    kickpleat   March 15, 2012 at 10:48 am

    Donna, ww is whole wheat flour and ap is all-purpose :)

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