Speculaas, Dutch spiced biscuits or windmill cookies
This is a traditional Dutch treat. Everyone loves them! The cookie dough is made with a special spice mix. The mix consists of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and cardamon. The smell when baking these cookies is really delicious.
Recipe for Dutch Speculaas:
500 g flour
300 g light caster sugar
250 g butter
200 g dark caster sugar
50 g milk
10 g speculaas spices
5 g baking powder
30 almonds (for decoration)
Blend the flour, sugar, spices and baking powder. Make a hole in the middle of this mixture and add the butter in cubes and add at the milk. Mix the dough with your hands into a soft dough. Let the dough rest in the fridge for 24 hours. It is really important to let the dough rest this long. The spices will develop their flavour. Trust me, this is necessary to make delicious Speculaas.
Preheat the oven to 175°C.
I used an old Dutch ‘Speculaasplank’, the wooden cookie mold on the picture, to make a traditional mill. The cookie is often baked in this shape. If you don’t have a Speculaasplank, just roll out the dough about 5mm thick and cut the dough in the desired shape. Put some almonds on top, egg wash the dough and bake the Speculaas for about 25 minutes.
For the filled ones, roll out the dough and cut out 2 cirkles. Get some almond paste (see the recipe below) and put it on the middle of the first cirkle, brush the sides with some egg wash, this will make the dough stick. Put the second cirkle on top. Brush the top of the dough with egg wash and bake the Speculaas for about 30 minutes. The long ‘Speculaasstaaf’ needs about 40 minutes to bake.
250 gr almonds
250 gr sugar
1 large egg
zest of a lemon
This is really easy to make. Mix the equal parts of almonds and sugar and grind them in a blender and add the egg and the lemon zest. Mix it really well and cover it with saran wrap and cool. After cooling it is ready to use.
Eat this Dutch treat with a cup of fresh brewed coffee and enjoy!
Bruges, the chocolate capital of the world
When you go to Bruges in Belgium you need to get some chocolate! The city has close to 50 chocolate shops. And ofcourse I was looking for the best chocolates.
So I went to ‘The chocolate line’ a shop from the famous chocolatier or should I say shock-o-latier, Dominique Persoone. I was lucky to meet him at the shop! He invented the chocolate shooter and makes bonbons with unique and innovative flavours. How about crispy fried onions and chocolate? Or saffron and curry, wasabi or even a ganache made with a distillate of Havana leaves. On the right picture you see some chocolates that I bought at his shop.
A very special ingredient and a doubtful one. Because of the high coumarin levels the bean is forbidden in several countries. It is like a mix of vanilla, almond and honey. A depth flavour and truly delicious! There was only one shop where I could find bonbons made with tonka beans. They were so good!
Here are some samples of delicious carrot cakes that I made. The cakes are made with a 5 spice mixture: anisseed, fennel, peppercorn, cinnamon and ginger. This makes the cake really spicy. The frosting is made with cream cheese, icing sugar and lemon peel. A nice combination with the carrot cake. For decoration I made some carrots from marzipan. Crushed walnuts are used for the sides of the cakes.
Advocaat, a Dutch delicacy
Made with yolks, sugar, brandy and vanilla. It is really easy to make and truly delicious! It is like Eggnog but flavoured with vanilla and without nutmeg.
Did you know that the word “brandy” comes from the Dutch word “brandewijn” which means “burnt wine”.
Nice to make for Easter, but hey, do we need an excuse to make a brandy liquor?
Recipe for Advocaat
200 gr yolks
200 gr sugar
200 ml brandy (or 250 ml for a stronger Advocaat)
1 vanilla bean
Whisk the yolks, sugar and vanilla together and add the brandy. Whisk this mixture ‘au bain marie’ until it thickens. Cool the ‘Advocaat’ over an ice bath and it is ready. Serve with soft peak whipped cream.
Hmmm, rich chocolate mousse infused with the best espresso you can get.
What’s not to love about that?
I made a chocolate and espresso genoise for the bottom and I also used a slice as an insert. The bottom genoise is coated with tempered milk chocolate, mixed with praline for a crunch. On the insert is a vanilla caramel sauce to add some extra deliciousness.
The base for the chocolate mousse is a ganache made with Italian Musetti 100% Arabica espresso beans. The ganache is mixed with a pâte à bombe and whipped cream. On top of the cake is a milk chocolate ganache glaze and rosettes made from Italian buttercream mixed with chocolate.
Get yourself a hot espresso and enjoy!
And it was a happy birthday with all the gifts and the treats! I made profiteroles with streusel and a light vanilla crème chiboust. This is a pastry cream with an Italian meringue folded in. This makes it light and delicious! The bonbons were filled with an espresso (100% Arabica) ganache and hazelnut and the other ones with a vanilla caramel. The truffles, on the top right in the picture, are also made with an espresso ganache and hazelnut. And a refreshing raspberry mousse cake was also on the menu.
The streusel adds a really nice flavour and texture to the profiteroles. Definitely worth a try! Make sure that the filling for the profiteroles is not too sweet. The streusel already adds sweetness to the profiteroles. Here you can find the recipe for streusel.
White Chocolate Vanilla Mousse Cake
And again I am baking! Also a mousse cake this time. A friend of mine asked me if I would make a Lidl theme cake (Lidl is a discount supermarket chain in Europe). Of course I was more than willing to make the cakes. And what is better than one cake? Two cakes!
The bottom is a coconut sablée with tempered white chocolate on top. The sides are made with a joconde with a blue and yellow pate décor. In the middle of the cake is a raspberry puree layer.
The base for the white chocolate mousse is a crème anglaise. For the top I made a lemon gelee. The Lidl logo is made with fondant and the writing with tempered chocolate.
Here’s the recipe for the mousse:
White chocolate mousse
250 ml milk
15 gram sugar
57 gram egg yolks
1 vanilla bean
6.5 gram gelatin
477 gram white chocolate
730 ml heavy cream
- Bloom the gelatin in cold water and reserve.
- Melt the white chocolate and reserve.
- Whip the heavy cream to soft peak and reserve.
- Make a crème anglaise with the milk, vanilla, sugar and egg yolks.
- Strain the crème anglaise through a fine chinois into a clean and dry bowl, add the bloomed gelatin. Stir to emulsify.
- Add the melted white chocolate to the crème anglaise, and form an emulsion.
- When this mixture reaches 27°C, fold in the soft peak whipped cream. Use right away!
Recipe from the book ‘Advanced bread and pastry’ from Michel Suas
The most lemon tarts that I ate are too acidic or the flavor is just too strong for my taste. So I decided to make a lemon tart with a thin layer of traditional lemon curd and a thick layer of lemon mousse on top.
This way you get the strong acidic lemon flavor from the curd and a smooth and creamy lemon flavor from the mousse. I still had some leftover coconut sablée that I used for the tart shells. With white chocolate I made a moisture barrier. Enjoy!
Recipe for lemon curd:
250 gram sugar
125 gram fresh lemon juice
8 gram lemon zest
120 gram egg yolks
50 gram unsalted butter
Measure the sugar into a stainless steel bowl and then whisk in the lemon juice and zest, followed by the egg yolks. Place over a bain-marie and cook until thickened, whisking occasionally. Once cooked, strain into a container and cool until the mixture reaches 32°C. Add the butter and emulsify with an immersion blender. Deposit a thin layer of lemon curd in the tart shells.
For the lemon mousse, take equal parts of lemon curd and soft peak whipped cream. Fold them together and deposit on top of the lemon curd in the tart shells.
Orange Carrot mousse cake
My first baking in 2012! This one is for my dad. He asked me if I would make him cakes with carrot in it, for 60 people. They took a tour through the company. My dad has a farm and carrots are a big part of the company. So the thinking started… Something with carrots. What about a carrot and orange mousse cake? Not just an ordinary carrot cake but one in a new style?
I made a carrot cake with cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and walnuts for the bottom. A nice jaconde with orange stripes and for the filling an orange mousse. And also an orange puree insert. For decoration I made carrots from marzipan and I candied some oranges, also really delicious! On the pictures you see the result!
Back home for Christmas! The picture shows the christmas dessert I made.
It is a vanilla bavarian cream with a coconut sablée bottom and toasted coconut on top. Paired with a citrus salad. After this course we had fresh brewed espresso with bonbons. Of course home made! One filled with grated coconut, white chocolate and a coconut sablée, the other with a creamy vanilla caramel.
I wish everyone the best for 2012!