Christmas baking: Spekulatius and chocolaty chocolate cookies

I recently translated two of my Christmas cookie recipes into English and decided to post them here as well in case somebody else wants to give them a try. The Spekulatius ones are always popular and usually gone too fast. The chocolately-chocolate ones are great if you’re into dark chocolate as there’s lots of it in them.

In case you’re not interested in baking at all: I’ll return to write about gaming with the next blog entry. Don’t worry, the focus of this blog still won’t change. ;)

First, a note on the amounts I list below: Teaspoon and tablespoon refer to the amount fitting into the spoons I have in my kitchen drawer, not the measurement utensils that you can buy for baking. I don’t own these. The “g” refers to “grammes”. You can find lots of conversion websites online.

Gewürzspekulatius cookies*

150 g butter
120 g sugar
300 g flour
2 teaspoons cardamom
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground/powdered cloves**
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon water
If you like: Dark or white chocolate as coating once the Spekulatius is cooled down.

The butter should be soft, but not liquid. Stir butter and sugar until creamy. Then add the flour and the baking powder. Stir again. Add the spices and taste the dough. It will become spicier with time. You can also let the dough rest a bit, so the spices can “sink in” properly.
Last step: add the water – probably more than one tablespoon. The dough should be rather dry. Its texture should be in a way that you can use cookie cutters, though, but it definitely shouldn’t be soft and creamy.
Roll out the dough and cut forms with a cookie cutter (or just hand-roll little cookies). They should be flat, about 5 mm high (they won’t rise much). If you’re using a silicone non-stick baking mat, flour shouldn’t be necessary. Otherwise, add flour before rolling out the dough.
Pre-heat the oven to 200 °C (convection oven). Put the cookies on a baking tray and let them bake for 8 to 15 minutes. The time they need depends on how thick you made them and how brown you want the cookies to be. Don’t let them be too light, but not dark brown either. Anything in between is good and depends on your own preference.

*Spekulatius usually comes in a different form, but I don’t have that and tried making very small cookies instead. They turned out great, so I do them this way now. Accordingly, this recipe is an adaptation, but everybody who tasted my cookies loved them as much as they love the original.
**Either grind them yourself or maybe you can find them in a powdered version.

Chocolaty-chocolate cookies

300 g flour
150 g butter
150 g sugar
2 eggs
40 g cocoa powder*
50 g chocolate pieces or chocolate chips**

The butter should be soft, but not liquid. Stir butter, eggs and sugar until creamy. Then add the flour and the cocoa powder, stir again. Add the chocolate pieces last.
The dough is probably too sticky, so put it in the fridge for a bit. I put the whole bowl in the fridge and after an hour, took out small parts of the dough, rolled it out and used the cookie cutter. That way, the dough stays cool until you are ready to work with it. If you get the whole bowl out, it’ll warm up faster than you can get through everything.
Roll out the dough and cut forms with a cookie cutter (or just hand-roll little cookies). They should be flat, about 5 mm high (they won’t rise much). Put them on a baking tray and in a pre-heated oven for about 10 minutes (convection oven: 180 °C).
You can add other things instead of the chocolate pieces as well. Ground nuts, coconut flakes, cinnamon, rum…

*Real cocoa. Not the kind mixed with sugar. I used 40 g and that was plenty already! 50 would have been too much, even though the original recipe called for 50 g.
** I used a chocolate bar with 75 % chocolate and crushed the chocolate. But any other kind of dark chocolate pieces will do. They just shouldn’t be too big, or you’ll have problems with the cookie cutter.

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