Belgian Spice Cookies (Speculoos)
Why This Recipe Works
Speculoos are Belgian cookies with a crisp, light, open-crumbed texture and a blend of caramelized sugar and warm spice flavors. To achieve the appropriate texture, we rolled the dough thin so it would bake up dry and crisp, used only enough sugar to lightly sweeten the dough since sugar is hygroscopic and makes cookies moist, and added baking powder along with the usual baking soda to produce an open, airy crumb. For a subtle caramel taste, we chose turbinado sugar rather than molasses-based brown sugar or traditional (but hard-to-find) Belgian brown sugar. To nail the spice flavor, we used a large amount of cinnamon along with small amounts of cardamom and cloves for complexity.