It is thought that the Dutch name Speculaas comes from the latin 'speculum' that means mirror.
Traditionally speculaas biscuits are the mirror image of the carved wooden moulds they are baked in.
Windmill shaped speculaas biscuits are known throughout the whole world, as are male or female speculaas figurines.
These days speculaas biscuits can take any shape or form. But you can do so much more with speculaas spice than just making biscuits.
Find out more about the delicious recipes you can make using vandotsch speculaas spice mix.
In the ‘good old’ days speculaas biscuits were made using a wooden speculaas mould, like the antique one from the 19th century on the left.
The wooden speculaas mould is the old-fashioned cake form that the (home) baker used in order to make speculaas biscuits. These days of course all this has been mechanised.
It is thought that the Dutch name speculaas comes from the Latin speculum, which means mirror, as speculaas are the mirror image of the carved wooden moulds they are baked in.
Traditionally speculaas biscuits comes in the form of windmill shaped biscuits or male or female figurines, known as 'lovers', but these days they can take many shapes.
Young men used to decorate these figurines and give them to their sweetheart. If she accepted, she loved him back. That's apparently where the Dutch expression for flirting, “iemand versieren” (literally 'to decorate someone'), comes from.
It is also rumoured that the very first biscuits introduced to North America by Dutch settlers in the 'New World' were in fact speculaas biscuits ('koekjes'). Some even say that the English word 'cookie' owes its existence to the Dutch word koekje. Who am I to disagree!
Anyway, one thing though . . . whatever you do with your speculaas moulds, please, don't bake your speculaas biscuits in them. Instead, the mould acts more like a biscuit cutter. You put the speculaas dough into it to get it into the shape of whatever the mould is, then you remove it and bake the speculaas dough.
The vandotsch speculaas moulds
We have a limited number of small wooden vandotsch speculaas moulds for sale, including a man and a woman, both in traditional Dutch clothing, as well as two types of Dutch windmills. They make a perfect gift for young and old to enjoy making speculaas biscuits the ‘old-fashion’ way.
The vandotsch speculaas moulds are made from untreated European beech wood grown in plantations, rather than logged from a primeval forest. The moulds have been carved using traditional methods in an artisan environment in The Netherlands.
For best results, the vandotsch speculaas moulds need oiling. Before your first use clean your mould with a soft dry cloth (please avoid getting the mould wet) and then oil them with plenty of vegetable oil – let dry for two hours - and oil them some more for another two hours. At the end, the surface needs to look softly shiny, like satin. Then, put a tiny bit of flour on the dough surface with a small brush.
Reviews of the vandotsch speculaas spice moulds
How easy is it to make vandotsch speculaas biscuits using our moulds?
Making speculaas biscuits using the vandotsch speculaas moulds
Click here for our speculaas dough recipe, infused with vandotsch speculaas spice.
- (rice) flour
Make the speculaas dough in advance as per our recipe.
- Preheat the oven at 150ºC
- Take the dough out of the fridge. Make sure your dough is as cold as possible but still pliable enough to fill the mould.
- Sprinkle rice flour in the speculaas moulds. Be generous with the sprinkling of rice flour on your moulds, especially when they are new. Take extra care to flour the corners of the moulds, for easier release from the moulds.
- Press an amount of dough in your speculaas mould and cut away the excess dough with a very sharp knife. Make sure your knife for cutting away the excess dough is super sharp and cut with confidence and in one go. Your knife should be level to the speculaas mould, held flat against the wood, when cutting away the excess dough.
Image, curtesy of Cakemania.it
- Tap the shapes out of the moulds by turning them (this is NOT easy, especially the first few times, they will need a bit of help and lots of patience) and place them on a baking tray. If your speculaas will not be released by tapping, help it along with your fingers and/or with a blunt kitchen knife.
Tip: In general, the first few speculaas biscuit shapes are likely to fail because the mould is ‘just’ too new and too clean. Keep going, though! The trick is to sprinkle the right amount of rice flour. All this is trial and error. Too little the dough will stick. Too much and you cannot get the dough in the mould. Be prepared to discard your first attempts. Start again. That’s all part of the fun!
-Gently brush excess flour from your speculaas biscuit with a pastry brush and place on a baking tray. Put remaining dough back in the fridge for a while if it becomes too warm and soft
-Repeat the process until you run out of speculaas dough. For the speculaas to hold their shape better put them in the fridge before baking to firm up again.
- Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, depending on your oven.
- Keep a close eye on the speculaas during the later stage of the baking, because you don’t want your speculaas be too dark, (you will taste and smell it, burned sugar!).
- Take them out and leave the speculaas on the baking tray for a few minutes to firm up. Transfer them to cool on a rack.
Tip: The vandotsch speculaas spice biscuits should be crunchy all the way through. You will only know this for sure when they are completely cooled.
Finally, make sure your mould is dry and clean before storing it and cover it so it will not collect any dust.
Traditional speculaas mould containing a relief of a female figure (real size: 9 x 4cm)
Traditional speculaas mould containing a relief of a male figure (real size: 9 x 4cm)
Traditional speculaas mould containing a relief
of a Dutch windmill figure (real size: 7 x 4cm)
Example of an antique speculaas mould containing the relief of a male and a female figure (real size:
Adriaan - our speculaas biscuit mould maker - with one of his old speculaas moulds
Traditional speculaas mould containing a relief of a
Dutch Stelling windmill figure (real size: 15 x 9cm)