I love to bake from scratch. So much these days is premade and done for us, I love taking the time (and, really, it usually isn't that much extra time...!) to make things myself. Francijn's challenge was great for this. I mean, make your own spice mix? Cool! Make your own almond paste? Ummm... awesome in theory. But I have a kiddo under the age of two who might be allergic to almonds (the skin test said yes, though a found and sucked on almond showed no reaction. Who knows.). But this was not going to deter me.
First things first, I actually didn't know what speculaas was. I had heard of it, and thought it was some kind of cookie, but beyond that I had no clue. As it turns out, it seems speculaas had a lot more to do with the spices than I thought. One of the main spices we had to use was mace. I have a lot of spices. Mace is not one of them. And for the first week or two it looked like I was going to have to use something different, since no one else I knew had it either. Then, while at a friend's house for dinner, I snooped in their spices and found it. (I love having friends who don't question me snooping in their spices!) Mace in hand,it was time to spice it up. Two of the other main components of the spice mix are cardamom and cloves. Which I have. Whole. Not ground. So they got toasted:
While the dough rested in the fridge I searched for a replacement for almond meal. I found a recipe for mock marzipan that I thought might work. Powdered sugar, shortening and not a whole lot else:
Assembling the dish wasn't too hard. Roll out the dough:
This was so good. Even my die-hard-chocolate-loving husband loved it. Success!
Thank you, Francijn, for introducing me to speculaas. I really learned a lot, and I had a blast playing with the recipe!
Take a look here to see what my fellow Daring Bakers made this month. I promise, you will be glad you did!