Speculoos…. found a good recipe at last!

4 Mar

First of all, I wanted to dedicate this recipe to my Dad who just achieved climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. He came back today and I am very proud of him as he made it to the summit!

I did not think it would be so difficult to find a good recipe for the Speculoos biscuits. The reason may be that it’s never really the same when you do them and when you get them from someone you love.

As my Dad was raised by his Belgium mum, he truly loves Speculoos… with his coffee, with apple compote, with ice cream, even as a snack in the middle of the afternoon, just to remember the old days when he used to share a “4 heures” with his brother/sister/cousins.

If you never tried a Speculoos, it is a little dark brown biscuits especially produced in the North of France and in Belgium.

As you have understood, Speculoos is part of the family culture and I wanted to give it a try.

I did not get it right at my first attempts as I was using recipes with Cinnamon only. It’s only a few days ago that I opened one of Anne-Sophie Pic’s cookbook and found THE Speculoos recipe!

It’s not a complicated one as it’s filed under the recipes for kids section…. but what makes the difference is the use of the 4 spices that will give a taste more complex and uncommon.

Basically, I kept all the proportions the same but I only change one of the ingredients. Instead of using muscovado sugar, I used dark brown sugar which is a stronger and softer sugar.

This will make it harder to roll the dough but I really think it was the missing component to get closer to the genuine taste.


  • 140g butter at room temperature – 4.9 oz
  • 80g caster sugar – 2.8 oz
  • 120g dark brown sugar – 4.2 oz
  • 4g four spices – 0.15 oz
  • 270g plain flour – 9.5 oz
  • 3g baking soda – 0.1 oz
  • 2g salt – 0.07 oz
  • 1 egg
  • 1-2 tbsp water


In the bowl of your Kitchen Aid, work the butter with the paddle until creamy and airy, add both sugars and keep on working the dough until well combined.

Mix together the flour, spices, salt and baking soda and add them to the mix. When the dough is homogeneous, add the egg and eventually a little water.

Unlike cookie dough, the Speculoos dough will be very soft and hard to get together. With a serving spoon, drop it on a piece of cling film and fold it in then put it in the freezer for 2 hours.

Once the dough is firm, preheat your oven to 150° C (300°F) then line the dough on parchment paper or silicon mat into a square or rectangular shape 2mm thick. If you have trouble lining your dough, cover it with a piece of cling film at least the size of your baking tray. This way, the dough won’t stick to your rolling pin, you’ll just have to remove it delicately once the dough is properly lined.

Bake it for 20 minutes. When you take it out of the oven, the dough is still soft when you press it with your finger. It’s normal and it will be very helpful as it will allow you to cut the biscuits.

Use a sharp long knife and start cutting the biscuits. You can also use star, heart, animals cutters if you want to have more fun. In that case, keep all the leftovers in an airtight box. You can use them to replace Digestive biscuits in your Cheesecake base!

Let them cool down and enjoy them the way you like them!


27 Responses to “Speculoos…. found a good recipe at last!”

  1. My Grandparent's Kitchen March 4, 2011 at 1:18 pm #

    It’s so beautifully arranged on the plate – you know someone’s fingers have been all over it. ~Julia Child

  2. Ian James May 15, 2011 at 9:46 am #

    Hello, what are ‘four spices’ – i googled it and got black pepper, nutmeg, cloves and ginger – but also said its used in charcuterie?

    Is this correct, loads of recipes use cinnamon, I’m not doubting the recipe, I just don’t want something lost in translation – if there’s a sweet/baking version of four spices.

  3. Ian James May 15, 2011 at 9:50 am #

    another google search says

    cinnamon, clove, ginger, star anise

    that sounds more like general mixed spice?

    • dthuret May 15, 2011 at 11:17 am #

      4 spices is a mix of spices used for savoury as well as sweet recipes. Usually you will find black pepper, clove, nutmeg and cinnamon, sometimes, you have ginger or jamaïcan chilli in it. It really depends on the factory that prepares the mix… It’s used in exotic food for marinade or seasoning for example. The best thing is to get them in a shop specialized in it. Hope it will help!

  4. Ian James May 15, 2011 at 10:52 pm #

    Many thanks, in the uk most shops just have a mixed spice that is coriander, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger. I might try that but add a bit of finely ground black pepper to it.

  5. Ian James May 18, 2011 at 1:01 am #

    Tried my first go at these. went for quite a complex spice mix in the end. But the bit I had trouble with was rolling the dough out. I didn’t get it thin enough, it was pretty tricky to roll, but that may be a testament to my poor rolling skills. But the bits around the edge were lovely, the thick bits in the middle were more like those spongy spieed biscuits the germans do at xmas.

    • dthuret May 18, 2011 at 6:08 am #

      Yes the dough is very sticky and hard to roll!
      At the beginning you can divide it into 3 to 4 and then roll it in between to squares of greaseproof paper or silicon mats. The one on top will be hard to remove but if you do it carefully it will be ok. I just slightly press the surface with the palm of my hand to flatten it.

  6. Aristea September 19, 2011 at 1:21 pm #

    Hello to everybody! I just saw the recipe for speculoos and I’m very happy to have find this on the web. I just want to do some notes. My mother is from Belgium and my father from Greece, so I cooked speculoos, but in a way more greek, and I’ve added some ingredients! So, I’ve put also,
    one shot of cognac,
    a beat of carnation,
    a half of fresh orange juice, and,
    some fresh orange zest!
    It’s a mix of belgium and greek taste, and it’s really striking!
    You should try to cook this, for a change!
    (excuse me for any mistake in english!)

    • dthuret September 20, 2011 at 6:49 pm #

      I like it…. thanks for sharing those fresh ideas…. Orange and Cognac will definitely upgrade this recipe!

  7. lifeinthefamilyenclosure May 1, 2012 at 3:01 pm #

    I am doing a culture day at school and natrally as i am belgian i am doing belgium. I get a whole lesson to share food, facts, art things, and general cultural things. for food i have used this recipe and everyone asked for seconds!

    • dthuret May 1, 2012 at 6:30 pm #

      I am glad you liked it as well as your students! I have family from belgium as well and as my dad everyday biscuits is speculoos… i had to try a recipe! Thank you for the feedback!

  8. lifeinthefamilyenclosure May 11, 2012 at 6:23 pm #

    There werent my students. I am a kid 🙂

  9. dthuret May 11, 2012 at 7:40 pm #

    i am glad to know that you proposed it to your class then. send them lots of love from France and 25% from belgium as I am 1/4 from belgium….

  10. Maleva Robert June 25, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

    Hi, I am a doubt that i want to clarify before i try this. The butter, is it salted or unsalted. Or Demi-sel ?

    Thank you for the recipe. I just can’t wait to try it! (I used to eat a lot of them when i was in France. I miss it! )

    • dthuret June 25, 2012 at 5:59 pm #

      It s really up to you depending on how you like them but for that cipe i d rather go for unsalted in order to keep the balance of the spices!

  11. Catherine October 3, 2012 at 10:08 am #

    Use a food processor instead of a mixer and omit water. Use butter straight from the fridge. The dough is silky smooth, soft and pliable, but not sticky. It is much more easy to handle and still gives a crisp result.

    • dthuret October 3, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

      thanks a lot….. it will make my life so much easier!

  12. Kevin October 13, 2012 at 12:38 pm #

    These are sooooo lovely! I left the salt out by accident but they still taste wonderful. I got some ‘Speculaas Kruiden’ spice mix from Amsterdam and added that instead of the four spices.

  13. Kevin October 19, 2012 at 6:55 am #

    Actually just made them again with salt and I think I prefer them without. The salt overpowers the subtle spicy-sweetness but I guess it’s a matter of taste.

  14. donna January 21, 2013 at 3:32 pm #

    Hi, I recently tried speculoos and thought they were terrific and found your recipe. Can anyone translate to US measurements please, thx

    • dthuret January 21, 2013 at 3:34 pm #

      I will try to do it ….

    • dthuret January 21, 2013 at 7:54 pm #

      Did it!

  15. WimVanraes February 3, 2014 at 8:31 pm #

    I am a Belgian as well, from the Flemish side of the country, but as I married my American sweetheart, I have been living here in the US for almost 10 years now. Sometimes around the 6th of December, I would get some ‘Speculoos’ from my family for Saint Nicolas day, and in an attempt to upgrade my Belgian experience, I developed a great dessert recipe, that pairs just excellent with Westmalle Tripel (a fantastic golden beer, made by monks not that for from where I was born and raised). The problem is that I can’t get speculoos here, so this was a nice site to find a good recipe, am trying it tonight! For that dessert – which you should try for your dad – put some speculoos in a freezer bag, and crush it into fine pieces. Take some scoops of a good vanilla ice, and mix the crumbles and some cinnamon under it, taking care not to let it melt. The ice will become slightly soft, but still frozen. Form balls from it, drizzle it with wild honey, and ready. Excellent when served with Westmalle tripel.

    • dthuret February 9, 2014 at 5:45 pm #

      yummy….! txs a lot.

  16. Michael February 12, 2014 at 8:19 am #

    I first learned to eat Speculaas in quantity in Amsterdam where I was given this recipe for the Speculaas spice mix:

    4 tsp ground cinnamon
    1 tsp ground cloves
    1 tsp ground mace
    1/4 tsp ground ginger

    You can leave out one or two of the following if you don’t have them.
    a pinch each of white pepper, ground cardamom, ground coriander seeds, ground anise seeds, grated nutmeg


  1. Speculoos Biscuits | Pie For Brains - May 23, 2011

    […] that caught my eye. It was from French chef Sophie-Anne Pic, and was the subject of a post on Diane’s Kitchen. The look of the biscuits reminded me of the Pain Aux Amandes by Belgian biscuit manufacturer […]

  2. Speculoos « Piotr Olejnik – Cookbook - April 20, 2012

    […] about the technical part of making speculoos, check: https://dianeskitchen.wordpress.com/2011/03/04/speculoos-found-a-good-recipe-at-last/ […]

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