• Serves 10 people

  • 500 gm (3 1/3 cups) plain flour, sieved
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 220 gm butter, softened
  • 250 gm dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • Speculaas spice
  • 8 green cardamom pods
  • 8 cloves
  • 5 star anise
  • 1 tsp white peppercorns
  • 1 piece of mace
  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp finely grated nutmeg
01   For speculaas spice, finely grind cardamom, cloves, star anise, peppercorns and mace in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Transfer to a large bowl, add cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, stir, add to flour and baking powder, and set aside.
02   Beat butter, sugar and a pinch of salt in an electric mixer until creamy (3-4 minutes). Add milk, beat to combine, then add flour mixture and mix until just combined. Form mixture into a dough with your hands on a work surface (add extra milk if mixture is too dry), shape into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate to rest (8 hours-overnight).
03   Preheat oven to 170C. Roll pastry on a lightly floured surface to 5mm thick, then refrigerate until firm (30 minutes). Cut into desired shapes (see note) and place on trays lined with baking paper. Re-roll scraps and repeat. Chill until firm (20 minutes), then bake in batches until light brown and crisp (10-12 minutes). Cool for 5 minutes on trays, then transfer to wire racks and cool completely. Speculaas will keep, stored in an airtight container, for 1 week.
Note You'll need to begin this recipe a day ahead. This recipe makes about 40 cookies. We’ve used snowflake cutters available from Alfresco Emporium. You can substitute any shape of your choice.

This recipe is from the December 2009 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller magazine.
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