Spicy Sinterklaas Cookies (Speculaas)

Sinterklaas cookies
Sam Jones/Quinn Brein


2/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar
2 tablespoons milk
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon each ground cloves and cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon each ground nutmeg and ginger
1 pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons chopped blanched almonds
2 tablespoons minced candied fruit
10 tablespoons (1-1/4 sticks) butter, softened
large slivers of blanched almonds and candied fruit, for decoration


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. To make cutout cookies, roll the dough about ¼ inch thick and cut with cookie cutters. Press almond slivers and fruit onto the cookies wherever they fit into the design. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Let them cool and crisp on a rack.


Makes about 18 to 24 cookies.


Reader Comments

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too dry to gather (Spicy Sinterklaas cookies)

I checked and rechecked every ingredient and measured carefully but the resulting mixture was like sand, way too dry to pull together. I chilled it anyway to no avail. I ended up having to add almost another 1/3 c milk to create a roll-able dough. I looked back at the recipe again and it calls for only 2 tbsp milk! I wonder if anyone else tried this recipe and had the same issue? Otherwise, the flavor of the cookies was delicious and they did bake up well with the extra milk I had to add. (Added it at the end instead of in the beginning with the sugar so I was worried.) Did the recipe possibly get published incorrectly? Thanks to anyone for follow up comment(s). Happy St. Nicholas Day!! Good wishes for the holiday season and for the coming year.

Sinterklaas cookies

The Editors's picture

Hi, Kathy. The recipe is authentic as written. We’re sorry to hear that you had problems with it.


Patsy, I hear ya'. I googled which to use and found recipes that used one or the other. I even saw a recipe that used both! I did come upon a recipe that reported to be an authentic, old fashioned recipe that used something called 'baker's ammonia' (ammonium bicarbonate) that pre-dated baking soda and has a different chemical make-up. This can be purchased on Amazon for about $10/lb. If you want to check out her recipe it's called Traditional Speculoos Cookies on The Daring Gourmet website. Good luck.

Spicy Sinterklaas Cookies

your directions call for baking powder, but your comment response to a reader baking soda, so is the ingredients baking powder or baking soda?

sinterklaas cookies

The Editors's picture

Hi, Patsy. Baking powder is correct for this traditional cookie.

I have cookie molds that I

I have cookie molds that I have collected over the years... I can't wait to try this recipe

Do you use self-rising? Can I

Do you use self-rising? Can I use it?

The recipe has Baking powder

The recipe has Baking powder so I think you should be able to use plain flour?

This is a recipe based on

The Editors's picture

This is a recipe based on U.S. measurements.  It's probably best to stick to plain flour and add the specificied amount of baking soda.