Dutch Speculaas

Total Time

Prep: 40 min. + chilling Bake: 10 min./batch


about 2-1/2 dozen

Updated: Oct. 27, 2023
In Holland, it’s tradition to mold this Dutch speculaas dough into the shape of St. Nicholas and serve the cookies on Sinterklaas (St. Nicholas Day). —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
  • 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup finely ground almonds
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom


  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. Beat in the eggs, molasses and orange zest. Combine the flour, ground almonds, cinnamon, baking powder, nutmeg, cloves, pepper, ginger and cardamom. Gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or until easy to handle.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°. On a parchment-lined surface, roll a small amount of dough to 1/8-in. thickness. Use a floured cookie stamp to press design into dough, then cut with floured 3-in. cookie cutters, leaving 1 in. between cookies. Remove excess dough, and reroll scraps if desired.
  3. Transfer parchment with dough to cookie sheet. If dough has warmed, place baking sheet in refrigerator until it firms up, 10-15 minutes. Bake until edges are lightly browned, 8-10 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.
Dutch Speculaas Tips

What kind of molasses should you use to make Dutch speculaas?

While there are many kinds of molasses, we advise using light or regular molasses for these speculaas. Molasses imparts a nice, deep, almost smoky flavor, but you don't want it so rich that it masks the blend of spices in these cookies, which is the real star of the show.

Can you make Dutch speculaas into other shapes?

Certainly! The dough for these speculaas lends itself well to cookie molds or stamps with decorative patterns, or you can even use a pretty embossing rolling pin to create lovely surface designs. Maybe sure that your dough is nicely chilled—and not too soft—before stamping out the patterns. A light dusting of flour doesn't hurt either, to keep the dough from sticking to the stamp or rolling pin. You can cut the rolled dough out into any desired shape with cookie cutters. Here are a few of our favorite cookie decorating tools to get you started!

Can you make Dutch speculaas ahead of time?

Of course! The dough can be made, then chilled, 2 days in advance. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before rolling out. Cookies can also be baked 1 week ahead of time and stored in an airtight container at room temperature or frozen for up to 1 month. Once your Dutch speculaas are gone, try making more Old World cookie recipes.

Mark Neufang, Taste of Home Culinary Assistant

Nutrition Facts

1 cookie: 151 calories, 7g fat (4g saturated fat), 30mg cholesterol, 65mg sodium, 19g carbohydrate (8g sugars, 1g fiber), 2g protein.