Speculoos with Spiced Sugar Topping

I cannot resist trying a new Speculoos recipe. I am mildly obsessed with these crispy spice cookies! 😉 I love the spiced sugar sprinkle on this delicious version. They may be my new favorite!

This recipe was adapted from 177milkstreet.com, contributed by Erika Bruce. I modified the method and used a combination of molasses and light corn syrup instead of dark corn syrup. Next year I need to make a double batch!

Yield: about 60 2-inch square cookies

  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 3/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 T granulated sugar
  • 320 g (2 2/3 cups) cake flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground cloves
  • 12 T (1 1/2 sticks) salted butter, cool room temperature
  • 218 g (1 cup) packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp table salt
  • 1 1/2 T light corn syrup
  • 1/2 T molasses
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle position. Line 4 baking sheets with kitchen parchment.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the cinnamon, coriander and allspice. Measure 1 teaspoon of the mixture into another small bowl, then whisk the white sugar into it and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking soda, cloves and the remaining spice mixture.
  4. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar and salt on low until combined, about 30 seconds. Increase to medium-high and beat until fluffy and pale, about 5 minutes.
  5. With the mixer running, gradually add the corn syrup, molasses, and 2 tablespoons water.
  6. Using a silicone spatula, scrape the sides of the bowl, then mix for another 30 seconds.
  7. Reduce to low, add the flour mixture and mix until the ingredients just begin to form an evenly moistened dough, about 15 seconds.
  8. Dust the counter liberally with flour and scrape the dough onto it. Gently knead the dough, giving it 2 or 3 turns, until smooth; it should feel moist and supple but should not be sticky.
  9. Divide the dough in half; wrap 1 piece in plastic and set aside. With your hands, pat the second piece into a rough 8-by-6-inch rectangle.
  10. Using a well-floured rolling pin, or between layers of plastic wrap, roll the dough rectangle to an even 1/8-inch thickness. Wrap well and place in the freezer until firm, about 15 minutes. (I place the dough on a plastic cutting board to keep it flat.)
  11. With a 2-inch rectangular or round cookie cutter (ideally with a fluted edge), cut out cookies as close together as possible. Use an offset spatula to carefully transfer the cutouts to one of the prepared pieces of parchment paper, spacing them about 1/2-inch apart. (I used a square cookie cutter.)
  12. Gently pat the dough scraps together, then re-roll and cut out additional cookies; transfer the cutouts to parchment paper.
  13. If desired, use a slightly smaller cutter of the same shape to imprint a decorative border (do not cut all the way through the dough) and use a toothpick to poke a few holes in the centers. (I put 4 holes in the center of each square.)
  14. Sprinkle the cookies evenly with half of the spiced sugar, then freeze or refrigerate uncovered for 15 minutes. (I place the parchment paper on a plastic cutting board to put it in the freezer.)
  15. Repeat the process with the remaining dough.
  16. Place the first sheet of cookies in the oven. Bake until the cookies are firm and beginning to brown, 14 minutes, on convection, or up to 18 minutes in a standard oven, rotating once halfway through.
  17. Cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then use a wide metal spatula to transfer them to a wire rack.
  18. Repeat with the remaining cookies. Cool completely before serving.

Salted Caramel Ice Cream

My daughter and I planned to make caramel cookies and cream ice cream after enjoying the flavor at Storm Bros. Ice Cream Factory in Annapolis, Maryland this spring.

I started (and finished!) my caramel ice cream recipe search with Jeni Britton. One of my favorite homemade ice creams is Jeni Britton’s Vanilla Bean– I make it at least once a summer. President Biden is also big fan of her ice cream. She has a new flavor, White House Chocolate Chip, inspired by his favorite order. 🙂

The secret to her fabulously creamy ice cream is the inclusion of corn starch and cream cheese in the base. “Salty Caramel” is one of the most popular flavors in their stores. The caramel is made using a dry-burn technique. The resulting caramel flavor is rich and sophisticated.

This recipe was adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Britton Bauer, via BonAppetit.com, contributed by Julia Bainbridge. I modified the technique. We first used the ice cream as filling in snickerdoodle ice cream sandwiches. Yum! The leftover ice cream was served with crushed Oreos as a topping instead of being mixed in. Perfect- beyond creamy too.

Yield: about 1 quart

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  1. Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry.
  2. Using a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. (I used a stainless steel bowl.)
  3. Mix the cream with the corn syrup in a measuring cup with a spout.
  4. Fill a large bowl with ice and water. (I used a giant glass bowl. It is important that the bowl with the cream cheese can easily fit into the bowl of ice water.)
  5. Heat the sugar in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat until it is melted and golden amber in color. **Note: This is a dry-burn technique- be cautious. Caramelizing the sugar this way is faster but you have to watch it very closely and be ready to incorporate the cream.** See below.
    • The Dry-Burn Caramelization Technique:
    • Stand over the pan of sugar with a heatproof spatula ready. Do not touch the sugar until there is a full layer of melted and browning liquid sugar on the bottom of the pan with a smaller layer of unmelted white sugar on the top.
    • When the edges of the melted sugar begin to darken, use the spatula to bring it into the center to help melt the unmelted sugar.
    • Continue stirring and pushing the sugar around until it is all melted and evenly amber in color- like an old penny.
    • When little bubbles begin to explode with dark smoke, give the sugar another moment and then remove from the heat.
  6. Immediately after removing from the heat, and, stirring constantly, slowly add a bit (about 1/4 cup) of the cream and corn syrup mixture to the caramel: It will fizzle, pop, and spurt. Stir until well combined, then add a little more and stir. Keep adding the cream a little at a time until all of it is incorporated.
  7. Return the pan to medium-high heat and add the milk. Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  8. Gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry.
  9. Bring back to a boil over medium-high and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
  10. Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. (I used a hand-held mixer.)
  11. Add the vanilla and whisk.
  12. Place the bowl in the ice bath, making sure that the ice water doesn’t come in contact with the ice cream base.
  13. Let stand, stirring occasionally and adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.
  14. Using a fine mesh sieve, strain mixture into a frozen ice cream machine canister. Churn until thick and creamy. (I churned mine for 25 minutes.)
  15. Pack the ice cream into a storage container, press a sheet of parchment or plastic wrap directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid. (I used a glass loaf pan.)
  16. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours. (I froze the ice cream a day in advance.)

Strawberry Ice Cream

Speaking of strawberry cocktails… the added bonus of this amazing fresh strawberry ice cream is that the sweetened vodka-based macerating liquid makes a wonderful base for a celebratory summer cocktail. Nice! 🙂

The texture and color of this ice cream was absolutely incredible. It was the perfect use for my precious, freshly-picked strawberries. The ice cream recipe is from Martha Stewart Living; I included a recipe for the bonus cocktail below.

For the Ice Cream:

Yield: 1 1/2 quarts

  • 1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved (about 3 cups), plus 8 ounces more, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup low-fat milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup sugar, plus 1/2 cup more for macerating
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup vodka or silver tequila
  1. In a blender or Vitamix, puree halved strawberries with lemon juice and salt. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve. (You should have 1 1/2 cups of puree; reserve any excess for another use.)
  2. Combine milk, cream, 2/3 cup sugar, and corn syrup in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer 2 minutes.
  3. Strain mixture into a bowl set in an ice bath and let stand, stirring occasionally, until cold, about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in strawberry puree. Refrigerate, covered, at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
  5. Stir together remaining 1/2 cup sugar and vodka. Add chopped strawberries and macerate at room temperature at least 2 hours, or in the refrigerator, covered, up to 12 hours.
  6. Process puree mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. When it has the texture of soft serve, drain macerated berries (reserving syrup for another use) and fold into ice cream.
  7. Transfer to a loaf pan and freeze, wrapped in plastic, at least 4 hours and up to 1 week.
  8. Let stand at room temperature 10 minutes before serving.

For the Bonus Cocktail:

Yield: 1 cocktail

  • fresh juice from 1/4 large lime
  • 3 oz strawberry-vodka-sugar macerating syrup
  • tonic (for a sweeter cocktail) or seltzer (less sweet), as desired
  1. Combine lime juice and macerated strawberry syrup in a glass.
  2. Fill with ice and top with tonic or seltzer, as desired.

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