It's here, my vegan speculoos recipe! These cookies come together with just a few easy steps and ingredients, most of which you probably already have in your pantry. And believe me, you are going to want to bake these on repeat.
What is a speculoos cookie?
You may be familiar with them as Belgian speculoos, Dutch speculaas cookies, German spekulatius, or simply "Biscoff". There can be quite a bit of confusion about the whole speculoos/speculaas/biscoff cookie situation. But to keep it short, they are a type of spiced shortcrust biscuit which is popular in Europe, especially around the holidays.
These speculoos cookies are pure nostalgia to me. Growing up with a German mom, we held many Christmas traditions similar to north-western Europe. One of those was, St Nicolas Day "Nikolaustag" where we would leave out an empty shoe outside of our bedroom doors overnight (it was actually a plastic red boot!), which in the morning "Nikolaus" had magically filled with chocolate and Dutch windmill cookies as we knew them.
What to expect from these cookies
- Easy to make
- Crunchy texture
- Caramelized flavor
- Spiced and aromatic
- Taste like Christmas
- Make the perfect homemade gift of festive cookie jars
- Plain flour
- Spices: These cookies rely on a combination of spices to get their distinctive speculoos spice flavor. The main flavor comes from cinnamon and nutmeg, along with ginger, cardamom, and allspice.
- Vegan butter: You'll need vegan block butter, not margarine or spread. I use flora unsalted plant butter.
- Demerara sugar: This is also known as turbinado sugar. This helps to give these speculoos cookies their amazing crunchy texture.
- Dark muscovado sugar: The slight molasses and caramel flavors of muscovado will lend these cookies that caramelized "biscoff" flavor.
- Baking soda: The leavening agent that will help these cookies. It works in tandem with the acidity of the brown sugar to leaven the cookie dough.
- Sea salt: A must for these cookies, the salt enhances the flavors as well as helps to balance the sweetness of your vegan speculoos cookies.
How to make this recipe (with step-by-step images)
(Full ingredient quantities and instructions can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post)
Firstly, add your vegan butter to a large bowl and whip it for a couple of minutes until creamy. You can do this with an electric whisk or stand mixer, depending on what you have at home.
Once the butter is nice and airy add in the sugars and spices (in this case demerara, dark muscovado, and ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom, and allspice). Whisk again for a couple of minutes to cream together the sugars and fat. This should already smell amazing by the way!
Next, sift in your dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, and salt), and rub the flour into the fats using your fingertips. As you rub the ingredients together, lift your hands to help incorporate air into the mixture. If you're unfamiliar with the rubbing in method, this video from BBC Food shows how it's done.
Once you have a rough "crumb" consistency, get your hands in there and knead the ingredients to form a dough.
Instead of leaving the dough in a ball, flatten it down into a disc shape before chilling as this will aid when rolling it out later! I recommend chilling this speculoos cookie dough for at least an hour before baking - longer if you have!
When rolling out the cookie dough, make sure you flour your surface and rolling pin well.
You can cut your vegan speculoos cookies into any shape you like really. You could even go for rectangular biscuits to hone in on the homemade lotus biscoff cookies vibe. I used a 2.5" cookie cutter for this recipe and found them to be a perfect size.
Because we want these homemade speculoos cookies to be crunchy, I recommend baking them for 10 minutes, but you can go a minute or two longer depending on your oven. The result is a crunchy biscoff texture will an ever so slight chew in the center.
Keep your speculoos cookies in an airtight container and store them at room temperature. They will easily keep for a couple of weeks but are tastiest when enjoyed fresh within the first three to four days.
Chill your cookie dough
Make the cookie dough ahead of time and allow time for it to rest and chill in the fridge. You want to refrigerate it for at least an hour but ideally, you can make the dough the day before baking and it will work perfectly.
Adjust the spices
If you prefer more or less spice in your cookies, you can adjust the measurements accordingly. I would describe this recipe as medium spiced, I have tested them with double the spices listed in the recipe which makes a very spicy cookie.
Frequently asked questions
According to Biscoff, speculoos is a generic name for the cookies which originally reign from Belgium. Biscoff is a particular brand that produces a variety of speculoos cookie.
Thankfully most store-bought speculoos cookies are accidentally vegan! I do always recommend checking the labels to be sure.
Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star ★★★★★ rating in the recipe card below and consider leaving a comment as well, thanks!
- 150 g (5.3 oz) vegan butter, (block butter- not margarine/spread), room temperature
- 120 g (⅔ cup) demerara sugar, (turbinado sugar)
- 50 g (¼ cup) dark muscovado sugar
- 200 g (1 ⅔ cup) plain flour
- ½ teaspoon (½ teaspoon) baking soda
- 2 teaspoons (2 teaspoons) ground cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon (¾ teaspoon) ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon (¼ teaspoon) ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon (¼ teaspoon) ground cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon (¼ teaspoon) allspice
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Cut the vegan butter into small chunks and place in a large bowl. Use an electric whisk or stand mixer to whisk the butter for 2 minutes. It will become light and airy.
- Add the demerara sugar, muscovado sugar, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom and, allspice and whisk for another 2 minutes to cream everything together.
- To the bowl, sift in the flour, baking soda, and sea salt. Use your fingertips to rub the flour into the butter mixture. Once the mixture resembles a crumb consistency, use your hands to knead the ingredients until they form a dough. Once you have a uniform dough ball, flatten it down into a disc shape and wrap it with cling film. Place in the fridge to chill for at least an hour (you can leave it overnight if preferred).
- Preheat your oven to 180°C (356°F). Lightly dust your work surface and rolling pin with flour and carefully roll out the dough to approximately ¼ inch in height. Use a 2.5" cookie cutter to cut out cookies and place them on the lined baking tray, leaving at least 2 inches between each cookie.
- Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and allow the cookies to sit on the baking tray to cool for about 5 minutes. Carefully slide the sheet of parchment paper with the cookies off of the tray and onto a cooling rack. Cool for another 15-20 minutes until they reach room temperature before serving.
- Keep them in an airtight container and store them at room temperature. They will easily keep for a couple of weeks but are tastiest when enjoyed fresh within the first 3-4 days.
- Make the cookie dough ahead of time and allow time for it to rest and chill in the fridge. You want to refrigerate it for at least an hour but ideally, you can make the dough the day before baking and it will work perfectly.
- If you prefer more or less spice in your cookies, you can adjust the measurements accordingly. I would describe this recipe as medium spiced, I have tested them with double the spices listed in the recipe which makes a very spicy cookie.
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