From way back I was a fan of those grocery store windmill cookies (don’t judge). That they were a special holiday cookie in Holland or anywhere else never crossed my childhood mind. Not much crossed my childhood mind, actually.
Whirl forward in that amazing machine called time-flies. I recently had a craving for that crispy-spicy-gingery-molasses-with-almonds-stuck-in-it windmill cookie. But they had to be gluten-free. It was time to figure out what they were so I could recreate them in the GF Canteen kitchen.
What I didn’t know is that there is an entire universe out there devoted to this cookie, Speculaas and its various cousins. Getting caught up in the enthusisam I ordered the windmill mold from this place. It came with a great recipe and instruction booklet. How hard could it be?
But me and written instructions? We have a long wretched history. I am one of those people who need pictures of how stuff is supposed to look. Pictures. Louder than words.
The cookie and its cousins, the Springerle et al, call for some mighty odd ingredients like Hartshorn which is baking ammonia. I also ordered that but haven’t used it yet (and truth be told I’m a little chicken after I read about the smell that goes away once the cookies are dry…huh?).
After a couple of recipe iterations and a whole lot of grinching, I did get the hang of using the mold without cutting off my fingers, but unless you love standing in the kitchen making one cookie at a time for endless hours, you might try a few and do what I did to the rest of the dough.
Chill, roll, chill, cut, chill and bake.
I have much admiration for those who have patience to use these fabulous molds- kudos to you guys. And just for the record – these will probably be the only windmill cookies from my kitchen. Ever. But aren’t they adorable?
I adapted my Speculaas creation from the recipe that came with the windmill mold here and also from Dorie Greenspan’s Around my French Table here. And of course, I forgot the almonds. But hey – it’s a still a great windmill cookie.
|Spectacular Speculaas Spice Cookies, Gluten Free||
- 205 grams GF Flour (130 g superfine brown rice flour, 40 g tapioca flour, 35 grams GF oat flour) (about 1.5 to 2 cups lightly scooped flour)
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 3 tablespoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ½ teaspoon ground mace
- ¼ teaspoon powdered lemon peel
- 85 grams unsalted butter, room temperature ( about 7 tablespoons)
- 175 grams dark brown sugar (about ¾ cup packed)
- 50 grams white sugar (about ¼ cup)
- 1 large egg
- 1 drop natural Anise oil (or ½ teaspoon anise flavoring)
- Your favorite Royal Frosting and decorations
- Weigh flours and add baking soda, salt, spices and mix well. Set aside. Cream butter and sugars together in a stand mixer bowl until well incorporated and fluffy. Add the egg and mix a bit more until fully incorporated. Add the anise oil and mix well. Add the dry stuff on low just until mostly mixed. Using a spatula, scrape down sides and turn the mixture over a few times to make sure all the dry stuff is mixed in. The dough will be very sticky. Don’t worry about that for now. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight for best results, but at minimum, 4 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350. Line a few baking sheets with parchment. Remove dough from the refrigerator and break into thirds. Leave remaining dough in the refrigerator while you work with one piece.
- Taking a parchment liner from a baking sheet, plop dough in the center. Cover with plastic wrap. Using a rolling pin, press down on the dough from the center out to get it moving without tearing. Roll as well you can to the edges of the parchment under the plastic wrap. When you get to that point, slide the whole thing back onto the baking sheet and refrigerate until well chilled. Take it out of the refrigerator, place the parchment on the counter surface and set the baking sheet aside for a moment. Remove plastic wrap carefully. Cut out circles, squares or whatever shapes you want – but quickly. Remove the extra pieces (I found that the dough rolled up as I moved it). Don’t touch the cut-outs – leave them right where they are. This part is a major pain, but it goes quickly after you get an idea of how to remove the extra dough between the cut-outs. Once it is nice and clean, move parchment back to baking sheet. With dough this thin and fragile, always a good idea to roll and cut out shapes directly on the parchment that it bakes on. If it is too warm, give it a chill in the refrigerator for a few minutes before baking.
- Bake 5 minutes and rotate. Bake about 3-5 minutes more or just until they look crispy. Remove and let cool for a minute. Remove to a rack to cool completely.
- Frost with your favorite holiday royal icing and decorate any way that makes you happy.