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speculaas cookies

The Christmas season started as it usually does in our house: at 12am on December 1st. I think this might be the last year we do this tradition, though. Now that the kids are older, maybe we’ll do it the evening of December 1st, rather than the early morning. Also, because we’re old and midnight is really late. Noah started this tradition with his college roommate, where they’d start decorating as soon as the clock struck midnight into December. They’d have their eggnog ready, as well as a little Mariah Carey, or whoever he listened to before Mariah Carey. They’d then decorate into the wee hours of the morning and their dorm would wake up to a very lit-up room.

Noah has carried on this tradition up until this year, which was the hardest to carry out, due to the aforementioned reasons. Also because we’re just not into it as much this year. Or maybe it’s just me. I’m not a big fan of Christmas on the best year. I usually have a bunch of baking ready for that December 1st day, but this year I had nothing. I just made the first treats a couple days ago, and yesterday I finally made speculaas cookies, or Dutch spice cookies. They are my favourite, and I use the recipe my mom used when I as growing up.

speculaas cookies

2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cups butter
3 1/2 cups flour
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp baking powder
1 scant tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ginger

Cream butter and sugar. Add remaining ingredients and stir. The mixture will form a very stiff/crumbly dough. Press into an ungreased cookie sheet or cake pan. Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes, or until edges start to turn brown. Cool, and cut into squares.

I don’t know about you, but I love bar cookies. I love them because I don’t have to drop eleventy billion individual cookies. Because I’m lazy, basically.

Besides the speculaas cookies, all I’ve made so far is peanut butter marshmallow squares. Next up is whipped shortbread, followed by Naniamo bars and chocolate-covered chocolate chip cookie balls. And then, if it’s not Christmas by then, I’ll make whatever Noah chooses next, as I leave most Christmas decisions up to him since he cares more about it than I do. The only Christmas thing I insist on is opening one present on Christmas Eve, as that’s when we opened all our presents growing up. Dutch tradition.

I’d love to hear your holiday favourites, as I’m always open to adding something delicious to the line-up.

ps. Happy Birthday, Mom!

Categories: recipes

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  • Kami Thursday, December 12, 2013, 10:07 am

    I am the opposite, cutting the bars…oh the torture! I have the Pampered Chef cookie scoop and so prefer scooping the individual ones. Cutting Nanaimo bar is the worst…the cracking.. oh the agony. (dramatic no?)

    My favourite things about Christmas are the tree decorating (prelit tree for the win) and the baking. Scuffles, haystacks (or macaroons as we call them, don’t shoot us), nanaimo bar…oh yum Drooling!

    • Jen Wilson Thursday, December 12, 2013, 10:13 am

      Ok, I’ll agree with you there. Cutting Naniamo bars is torturous. But cutting speculaas cookies is easy peasy. They’re soft and stick together well!

      And I won’t shoot you for calling haystacks “macaroons”, as long as you don’t call macarons “macaroons”. :)

  • Chelsea Tuesday, December 17, 2013, 8:28 pm

    I love the Grinch Story. Because it kicks my butt back into why Christmas is special. Not presents. Not commercialism. It’s friends, family, eating and drinking and enjoying each other’s company. And it’s my Mom’s Poppycock recipe (the best) and ginger cookies, snickerdoodles and butter tarts.
    PS. I read your blog and I’m glad you’re back.

    • Jen Wilson Wednesday, December 18, 2013, 8:19 am

      I love that story as well. And thanks! It’s good to be back. :)