Gevulde speculaas is not a person, if that’s what you’re thinking. It is a traditional Dutch spiced cookie, filled with almond paste. It literally means “filled cookies.” It is actually pretty random how I came across this dessert. I didn’t know what I was eating when I first took a bite of this peculiar pastry in Amsterdam, when my friend brought it from a bakery on our way to the train station. After some digging on the Internet and finding out that it’s called gevulde speculaas, I didn’t even know how to pronounce it. I still don’t.
In case you’re curious, here is how it is pronounced based on a quick Google search.
This cookie looks unassuming, yet it packs a combination of unusual flavors that some people may find off-putting, but which I love. So I got my mind set on tackling this challenge. From the ginger cookie to the almond paste, gevulde speculaas recipes call for everything to be made from scratch. I’ll link the recipe at the end.
So I spent the last day of the year trying to replicate the bite of beauty I had in Amsterdam.
I love spices and this speculaas spice mix smells and tastes wonderful. It’s a combination of cinnamon, ground ginger, ground cloves, nutmeg and cardamom.
I used to bake so much more when I went back home for the holidays. I miss the summer when I was on a banana bread craze and many of my friends requested to make banana bread with me. The only problem with baking back home is that my family doesn’t really have too much of an affinity for Westernized food and find baked goods too sweet and heavy. Which is not untrue. So I can’t wait to get back to school and bake and feed my hungry friends.
Anyway, just FYI… here is what a legit gevulde speculaas looks like. Before you see the one that I made and get the wrong idea.
The one that I had in Amsterdam was delicious. The ginger cookie layers were chewy and slightly gooey, with a nice, even layer of almond paste in between.
And here’s mine…
As you can tell, it kind of looks like a mess. It was nowhere near the one that I had, taste and texture-wise 😦 The cookie was crumbly instead of thick and chewy, and the almond paste was too soft, and hence the layers are not that obvious.
But it is okay, new year, new me, better baking!!! Plus, guess who’s finally moving into off-campus to her own apartment??? I’m excited to finally have a kitchen. Well, ideally I would be taking advantage of it and spinning off some good dishes. But realistically I barely cook. So we’ll see.
Here is the recipe that I used. I would, however, use confectioner’s sugar instead of granulated sugar for the almond paste, and depending on your cookie dough, add more butter so it won’t be as dry and crumbly as mine.