As a little girl, we celebrated St. Nicholas Day by putting our shoes outside the night before December 6th. St. Nicholas would come and fill our shoes with treats. It was always a fun way to kick off the Christmas season. We have kept up the tradition at our house with our kids. St. Nicholas is worth celebrating, so we start things off by reading a story of his life (it’s in a collection of Christmas stories that we have for children). This year, we decided to add some baking to the festivities. St. Nicholas was so generous that we thought it might be fun to make some cookies for the neighbors to celebrate St. Nick.
Grant’s family is Dutch, and St. Nicholas is very popular in The Netherlands, so in my internet trolling* I found several mentions of speculaas or speculoos cookies as a traditional cookie for St. Nicholas Day. These were a huge hit. Grant loves all things gingerbread, and these are an “amped up” gingerbread cookie, if that makes any sense. I love all things simple, and these were that. Bonus points because the kids had fun with the cookie cutter, and it kept them occupied for at least twenty minutes. Win, win, win!
- 1 stick cold unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (75 g) white sugar
- 3/4 cup (165 g) packed brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 1 3/4 cup (235 g) all purpose flour
- Preheat the oven to 375?F.
- Cut the butter into 1/2 inch cubes. Place butter and sugars into the bowl of a standing mixer with a paddle attachment. Cream the butter and sugars together for about 30 seconds. Add the baking soda, salt, and spices. Mix for another 30 seconds or so or until the spices are mixed through the batter.
- Add the vanilla extract and egg and beat until incorporated.
- Add the flour and mix together until incorporated. You will likely need to use a spatula to scrape down the bowl to ensure everything is mixed together.
- I didn't have a fancy rolling pin (and I'm assuming most of you don't), so I just rolled them out and used a cookie cutter. Jasper picked the train cookie cutter, so I just went with it. You could also pretty easily roll this into a cylinder for a slice-and-bake version.
- If you're using the cookie cutter, roll them out until the dough is about 1/2 inch thick, then proceed with your cookie cutting.
- If you want to do the slice-and-bake version, roll the dough into round logs, and then slice the cookies so that they are about one-inch thick. Alternately, at this point, you could freeze for a month or two to have on hand for a quick treat.
- Bake the cookies for about 10-12 minutes. Grant likes them on the crispy side, so I let one tray go a bit longer for him. Remove to a wire rack to cool for at least ten minutes.
I also think these would be amazing with a thin icing like this one .
Barely adapted from Eat the Love .
Grant and I have been enjoying the leftovers of these (they made tons of cookies, even after we gave away a whole bunch) with our morning coffee, which is a like a match made in heaven, but also very bad for my upcoming new year’s resolutions.
*In my internet research, I also found that St. Nicholas is the patron saint of brewers, which Grant says cements St. Nicholas as his patron saint – as if there was any doubt. I told him that patron saints are only for Catholics, but he didn’t buy that.