Speculoos or speculaas in Dutch are crunchy or cake-like (if home made) cookies made with spices (nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, sometimes white pepper) and served traditionally at Sinterklaas, or the Sint Nicolaas feast on the 5th of December, and weeks preceding it. There are several varieties and they come in different sizes too.
I’ve heard about the speculoos spread for a while now, but only when my twitter friend Dawn Nel reminded me about it recently did we decide to ask my mother-in-law to send some down in the Sinterklaas package of sweets, chocolates and biscuits she sends every year. She is incredible like that. Thank you Mem!
Speculoos spread looks like the image above and tastes of Christmas – allspice, a hint of ginger, smooth and very, very dangerous. Hot toast never had it so good. (Note this isn’t a product endorsement)
I have, if you follow my instagram posts you will know, been on an ice cream making mission. It is summer. Have new machine, will experiment. Not every recipe has got my 100% approval. This one has – it is a Christmas ice cream for summer (lucky us in the southern hemisphere), smooth, rich and the addition of crumbled speculoos cookies with almonds adds a lovely dimension. You can crumble ginger cookies in – they will not get soggy, if you are wondering. They harden with the mixture in the freezer.
Heating the cream allows the spices to infuse and water to evaporate, which my experiments have shown produce the smoothest ice cream.
250 ml whipping or double thick fresh cream
1 & 1/2 cup (375 ml) milk (any type)
385 g (1 can) condensed milk
2 heaped T speculaas spread
1 t allspice
1 t powdered ginger
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1/2 t cinnamon
4 thin sliced fresh root ginger (approx 5 cm long)
3 extra large egg yolks
1/2 t vanilla extract
4-5 medium sized speculaas cookies or ginger cookies
1. Heat the cream, milk, 3/4 condensed milk, speculaas, spices and root ginger in a pot on medium heat. Stir well with a whisk to dissolve the speculaas spread, until mixture is smooth and it simmers (around 6 minutes).
2. Remove pot from heat. Quickly whisk the reaming condensed milk and vanilla extract into the eggs in a bowl. Add a spoonful of the hot cream mixture to the eggs, beating well with each addition. After 4 additions, add the yolks slowly to the cream and whisking all the while. Allow mixture to cool completely.
3. Strain mixture and remove ginger.
4. Add to ice cream maker and churn for 40-60 minutes or until thick and the paddle stops turning. Crumble crushed cookies into the ice cream as you transfer it to a freezer proof container. Freeze for four hours or overnight.