Press the dough for these cookies into a carved wooden mold, or just roll out the dough and cut with cookie cutters.
Traditionally, the molds represent St. Nicholas (Sinterklaas) at Christmastime and the speculaas are served on the eve of St. Nicholas Day (December 5) or on the feast day itself (December 6) and through the holiday season.
Tip: If you use a mold, it’s best to flour it first. Be generous; do not tip the excess flour out. Press down on the dough. Use a small pointed knife to start pulling the corners of the dough out.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar and milk, and stir until smooth. Add the flour, spices, salt, baking powder, almonds, and fruit. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender. Chill. Preheat oven to 350° F. If using a wooden speculaas mold, dust it with cornstarch, covering every bit of carving. Firmly press the dough into the mold, then run a sharp knife along the edges of the design. Gently lift the dough or tap it onto a greased cookie sheet. Press almond slivers onto the cookies wherever they fit into the design. To make cutout cookies, roll the dough about ¼ inch thick and cut with cookie cutters. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Let them cool and crisp on a rack.