Speculoos, also known as Speculaas or Dutch Windmill Cookies, are a holiday cookie that is traditionally made for the Feast of St. Nicholas in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Austria. They are a shortbread type cookie, with a lot of spices, like cinnamon, added, which makes them fragrant and tasty!
One of the best things about the holidays is making cookies. Every family has traditional cookies, like my great Aunt’s Gingersnap recipe or the Andes Mint Cookies my family bakes every year.
But in addition to baking traditional family recipes it is also fun to try new recipes, especially ones from different countries. Making the treats of other countries, like these speculoos, is a great way learn about other cultures. Or maybe I just like an excuse to eat more dessert!
The first time I saw speculoos cookies was at Trader Joe’s. I was intrigued and had been looking for a new kind of cinnamon cookie to make. I decided I had to learn how to make this crispy European cookie.
What are Speculoos Cookies?
The cookies are thin, crunchy cookies, and are traditionally made in Europe. They are sort of like gingerbread, because of the spices, but are thin and crispy instead of soft and chewy.
The overwhelming flavor of speculoos is cinnamon and caramelized sugar, although the cookies also have nutmeg, ginger and cardamon spices. They make the house smell amazing as they bake!
These cookies are most commonly made in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg, and Austria. Originally these were made to celebrate the Feast of St. Nicholas and Christmas.
Why are These Cookies Know by so Many Different Names?
The cookies are known by different names in different countries. In Belgium they are called speculoos and in the Netherlands they are called speculaas. In Germany they are called spekulatius.
So what about the name Dutch windmill cookies? That seems to be mostly a U.S. thing. Some of the most popular commercial bakers of the cookies bake them in the shape of a windmill, leading to them being called windmill cookies.
Are Speculoos and Biscoff the Same?
Yes, biscoff is yet another name for the same cookie. Speculoos is the generic name of the cookie and Biscoff is a brand name from the largest company in Europe that makes and sells the cookies commercially. Confused yet?
Speculoos = Speculaas = Windmill Cookies = Biscoff
How are Speculoos Shaped?
Speculoos are traditionally not made with a cookie cutter, they are made with a mold or a stamp. Ideally you want something that is going to leave a an imprint on the surface of the biscuit. I have a snowflake cookie stamp that I rarely use, and speculoos was a perfect cookie for using it.
Another traditional way of making the cookies is to use a springerle rolling pin. A springerle rolling pin is a wooden rolling pin that imprints a pattern onto cookie dough. You then cut the cookies apart along the lines. If you are making a lot of speculoos a springerle rolling pin will be faster than a cookie stamp.
This summer I found a springerle rolling pin while cleaning my mother-in-laws basement. I believe it came from my husband’s grandmother, who was German. I can’t wait to try it out this holiday season!
What if You Don’t Have Cookie Stamp or Springerle Rolling Pin?
Luckily there are alternatives if you don’t want to go out and buy a cookie stamp or springerle rolling pin just for this recipe. You can choose to ignore tradition and roll out the dough and cut it with cookie cutters.
Or you could roll them into balls and squish them with a drinking glass. Neither of these options will be as quite as pretty as traditional speculoos, but they will taste just as good.
How to Make Speculoos
1. Cream the Butter and Sugar
The first step is to cream the butter with white and brown sugar. And this cookie dough is better if you cream the butter and sugars thoroughly. Very, very thoroughly. Let them mix in a stand mixer for 5-10 minutes, until the mixture is light and lemony yellow.
2. Mix in the Egg and Vanilla
Then mix in the egg and vanilla and let the mixer run for a couple minutes.
3. Add the Flour and Spices
In a small bowl combine the baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamon and flour and mix. Then stir the flour mixture into the mixer bowl and combine. At this point you want to mix the dough as little as possible. Make sure all the flour is mixed in, but don’t over mix.
4. Chill the Dough
Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour. Chilling the dough makes it easier to handle and also helps keep it from rising or spreading. If the dough was to rise or spread the stamped design would be lost.
5. Shape the Dough
To use the cookie stamp I rolled the dough into small balls and then squished each one with the cookie stamp on a lightly floured table. Then I used a knife to transfer the round cookie to cookie sheets covered in parchment paper.
I found that I needed to dip the cookie stamp in flour after every stamp. The flour got into every nook of the stamp, but there wasn’t a lot transferred to the surface of the cookie.
I also tried stamping the cookies directly on the cookie tray, but that didn’t work as well as stamping on the table and transferring the cookie sheet.
I haven’t tried using the springerle rolling pin yet. But I feel confident that using lots of flour on the rolling pin and table will be necessary, just as with the cookie stamps.
No matter how you shape the cookies you want the final cookie to be about 1/4 inch thick. These cookies are supposed to be thin and crispy.
6. Bake the Speculoos Cookies
Once the cookie sheet is full sprinkle the top of the cookies with extra cinnamon sugar, just to add more sparkle and spice to the cookie. The cookies bake at 375 F for about 11 minutes.
These cookies were delicious, and the whole house smelled amazing while they baked, thanks to the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cardamon.
These crispy cinnamon cookies are excellent for dunking into hot coffee or tea. They were also pretty addictive to eat, so I ended up having my daughter take the speculoos back to her apartment, so I would stop eating them!
Cookies Make the Perfect Gift
I love to share homemade cookies with my friends and family! Food is a great way to bring people together during the holiday season, either in person or from a distance.
Why not bake some cookies this year and put together a cookie gift box for your friends? Here are some cookie recipe ideas for gift giving!
Speculoos, also known as Speculaas or Windmill Cookies, are a holiday cookie that is traditionally made for the Feast of St. Nicholas in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Austria.
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
- 1 3/4 cup flour
- cinnamon sugar
- Cream the butter with the sugar until well mixed. Really, really well mixed, cream for 5-10 minutes in a stand mixer until the mixture is lemon yellow and fluffy.
- Add the egg and vanilla and mix well.
- In a separate bowl combine the baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamon and flour. Then add the flour mixture to the mixing bowl. Mix until the flour is just mixed in, but don't over mix.
- Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 375 F.
- Roll the dough into 1 inch balls. Place the dough balls on a well floured table or pastry board.
- Use a cookie stamp to flatten the balls until they are 1/4 inch thick. Keep the cookie stamp well floured, dipping in flour after every use. Use a knife to move the stamped cookies to a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper.
- You can also use a springerle rolling pin or cookie cutters to shape the cookies if you don't have cookie stamp.
- Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with cinnamon sugar.
- Bake for 11 minutes, until lightly brown around the edges.
Nutrition facts are estimates.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 75Saturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 65mgCarbohydrates: 12gSugar: 7g
62 thoughts on “Speculoos | Dutch Windmill Cookies”
Utterly fantastic cookies and I have to get me that lovely cookie press.
These cookies look fantastic ! Makes me wanna get a cookie press right now. Maybe I will… Thanks for sharing the recipe..
Those are so perfect looking! Jealous of that cookie stamp! What a great idea for this month’s theme!
What a beautiful cookies, Anne! And I love that cookie stamp too. These would be perfect for Christmas!
Wow! These are gorgeous!
I love Dutch Windmill Cookies! You are my hero for sharing a recipe on how to make them at home. They are so pretty and I bet super delicious – the spicier the better. Definitely going on my Christmas cookie list!
How pretty are those!! Love the little cookie press, so fantastic for this type of cookie, nicely done!!
Oh I ‘ve had my eye on a set of cookie stamps and your beautiful cookies have convinced me to go out and buy the stamps. What fun — even if you only use the stamps once in a while, you’ve really made a lovely cookie.
One gorgeous cookie! Nicely done! Going to have to get me a cookie stamp!
I had never heard of these cookies before but they look very pretty. I should try these!
Squee! I am so excited you made these! I have always wanted to make them–they are just so gorgeous and feel so Christmas-y! Love it!
These look so pretty. I’ve never used a cookie stamp to make cookies, but I want to give it a try now. Thanks for sharing your recipe on Merry Monday. Pinned.
These are so pretty and perfect for Christmas!
Speculoos is one of my favorite cookies. I always buy them and I never made them myself. Cant wait to give these a try. Pinning!
they are so pretty!!! i should make this for a party thanks for sharing!
These look delicious! Would love to have you share them at the Great Cookie Exchange!
I love those windmill cookies, but never thought to make them until now. yum! Thanks for sharing on Creative K Kids’ Tasty Tuesdays link up. Hope to see you back next week.
Oh I’ve always wanted to make Speculoos!!! And you’ve definitely convinced me to give them a try! Thanks for linking up with Fabulous Foodie Fridays! xx
Hi, Anne! Those are so pretty – there’s something so sweet and old fashioned looking about them!
These cookies just looks so beautiful I had to click! Pinned on my baking board, I think I have to get myself a cookie stamp, how pretty do these cookies look. Thanks for sharing!
It reminds me of my childhood. We have Dutch in our big family and I spent some time in Den Haag as well. Speculoos is indeed yummy ..I just notice we have a special cookie stamp for that 🙂
Your Windmill cookies are so pretty and just perfect for the holidays. Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and have a great day.
Come Back Soon!
These look so delicious! Thanks for linking up with What’s Cookin’ Wednesday!
Love the cookie stamp!! So pretty! The cookies sound absolutely delicious!! Thanks for Linking up with us at #TryABiteTuesday! Come join in again this week, the link up is open!
I need to get one of those cookie stamps! This is awesome! Perfect for the holidays! Thanks for sharing it with us at #FoodieFriDIY…sending some foodie love your way!
I’ve always wondered how to make these delicious cookies and now I have a recipe! Thank you! I love the stamp too. What a great idea! Pinning this from the Friday Flash Blog.
Never heard them being called speculoos before. I am dutch and we call them speculaas…..interesting.
Correct. These are Belgian
“Speculaas” Dutch WINDMILL cookies traditionally have a windmill design. “Speculoos” are a Belgian Cookie.
Gorgeous pictures. I made these speculoos dutch windmill cookies for the super bowl party and it was a crowd favorite. I’m also gonna pin this post on my Pinterest board my followers will love it. Thanks for sharing, Anne!
It is very decadent, and the people in my office are happy today! These speculoos dutch windmill cookies looked soooo good, I had to try and make them. I used your suggestion and used 1/2 cup white sugar.
These speculoos dutch windmill cookies just look so incredibly delicious and I am so craving a slice right now! Can I post it on my blog?
Made them with my new cookie stamps but they spread while baking so the stamp design is no longer visible 🙁
Thank you for this cookie recipe Anne! Looks tasty!
I’m just wondering if they freeze well. I plan on making them in the shape of moose for a summer party….in northern Canada.
Wonderful! These cookies looks superb. all ingredients are useful for health. i will try it. thanks
Made a batch but the print disappeared during bake. I was real disappointed. They tasted delicious though.
Hi Anne-so I should have read the instructions before I started mixing-I think there’s a step missing in the directions-I see where you mix the butter and sugar really well but when do you add the brown sugar? I sadly mixed both sugars with the butter so I’m not sure how mine are going to turn out- the dough is good tho
I want to make these but where are the measurements??
Thanks for sharing info. Keep up the good work…We hope you will visit our blog often as we discuss topics of interest to you
I would be grateful if you continue with the quality of what we are doing now with your blog … I really enjoyed it
Did not think this was a good recipe. Did not taste like the windmill cookies I was used to. Dough was very hard to work with. Cookies burnt on edges and soft in Center.
Another helpful post. This is a very nice blog that I will definitively come back to several more times this year!
I have been reading a lot of stuff about it. but it is different presented, i loved to read this. keep it up.
Great article nicely presented and informative article.
Thanks for sharing info. Keep up the good work…We hope you will visit our blog often as we discuss topics of interest to you
When you are arranging again i am interested but it had been too late to visit your blog.
Is the recipie for stamp cookies works also for ingraved rolling pins?
Wow its look so tasty. i’ll must try thanks
I really wanted that cookie stamp because it is stylized. But both links are for other stamps. Any idea where it can be found these days?
Made these because I wanted to test out my new cookie stamps, but they expanded so much in the oven you can’t see the design tasty cookies still
I honestly never even knew there was such a thing as a cookie stamp! Now I want one for sure to make this recipe which sounds so great for fall and winter. Can’t wait to try these speculoos.
This is a fantastic recipe! The flavor is superb. The only issue that I had was that they simply didn’t hold the imprint of the stamp. I made sure to press down hard and I could definitely see the imprint on the dough prior to baking. I also tried chilling the stamped cookies a second time in the fridge for about 20 minutes prior to baking thinking it would help, but no luck. Is there a special trick to getting these to keep their stamps?
Thank you for sharing this recipe!
I had the same issue. Cookies are delicious but not pretty ♀️
This recipe was terrible for me. The daugh was so dry after chilling that i had to add another egg and more butter to keep it together. It’s all sugar (sooo much sugar!! ) and does not taste like a speculatcius cookie to me. Would not recommend this at all. (And i did follow the recipe exactly)
It is insanely sweet (not in a good way, though). I need tô find another recipe for a speculoos cookie.
In my oven it took 7 minutes instead of 11. I had tô burn the first batch to find that out.
They get bigger in the oven and the stamps disappear… don’t waste your time stamping.
I actually love cookies, especially chocolate cookie, it’s nice
The cookies are not good, they taste nothing like specculas, I would say they taste like dog cookies, I followed the recipe exactly and they were dry and gross, it’s annoying how almost all the comments are just saying how pretty they are no one has actually made them except a few people and I wish I scrolled down far enough to see that they suck cuz that’s what everyone who actually made them is saying, soo disappointed, will not be looking at any of your other recipes.
Such a very useful blog. Very Interesting to read this blog. I would like to thank you for the efforts you had made for writing this awesome blog.
Well, I wouldn’t make these again. Cookies did not hold stamp well, even when making sure to really press down. Dough was very hard to handle. Also, I’m not sure if the author’s stamp is much smaller than mine, but I only got about 15 cookies out of this recipe. They taste good enough though. Wish I’d read some more of the comments before baking these, it seems like most of the people who left positive comments didn’t actually make the cookies.
It says to cream until “lemon yellow and fluffy”. I could get it fluffy but the lemon yellow was impossible with the brown sugar. Should I have creamed it without the brown sugar first? Instructions don’t say to.
Ok they came out perfect!
I wish there was a way to post a picture. I bought a wooden windmill mold and there was a learning curve but in the end I figured it out. I think my mold was a little large because I doubled the recipe and still only got 24 out of it. But it’s kind of good though because it is time consuming and I wouldn’t wanted to stand there making more. The flavor is great nice amount of spices.I made others before using a press and special speculoos spice that had pepper. I can’t decide which way I like it best. I think I’ll try this recipe with the speculoos spice and see which one I like best. This recipe in general I like best and will make it my go to.