I realise that there is a bit of a language barrier in the title of this post.
For us Brits, a cookie is something that usually includes chunks of chocolate, is large-ish and has a lumpy appearance (I’m using lumpy as a term of endearment in this instance) e.g. chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal and raisin cookies. Everything else, such as custard creams, digestives, jammy dodgers etc. is a biscuit.
But for those of you Stateside, all of the things I have mentioned above are cookies and a biscuit is something that looks like a scone to our British eyes. Yet you also have scones, so could someone please tell me the difference between an American biscuit and an American scone, because I am a little bit confused.
To little British me, these tasty morsels are most definitely a biscuit, so that is what I am calling them. However if you have opened up this post expecting to see something that looks like a scone . . . SURPRISE! They are cookies.
Do we all understand? Biscuits or cookies. Cookies or biscuits. Right now they are the same thing.
Let’s move on.
Way back at this humble blog’s beginnings, I wrote a post about my relationship with The Netherlands. However, a lot of you weren’t with me then. If you were, then I apologise if you have heard some of what I am about to say before.
I spent a lot of my childhood in The Netherlands (every school holiday between the age of 8 and 18, to be exact) and have been back several times since. I consider the country my second home. It is the only country that, right now, I would seriously consider emigrating to (as opposed to the fanciful “wouldn’t it be nice to live in X, Y or Z” daydreaming that we can all participate in). Needless to say, I have a fondness for it.
There are many, many Dutch foods that I consider ‘favourites’ (I use that term loosely, as I am generally rubbish at picking favourites. They change depending on what mood I am in), but one of the things I must have come close to, if not exceeded, eating my own body weight in, is Speculaas biscuits. Those lovely spiced, slightly caramel flavoured biscuits, usually served with coffee and more often than not (in my case) shaped like a windmill. We bought them by the boxful from the supermarket.
Sadly, since having to avoid gluten, they disappeared from my life.
But not any more. Because I have made a gluten-free version!
The recipe is based on my flax-meal biscuits and produces a light, delicate biscuit, subtlety spiced with the speculaas kriden I shared with you earlier in the week (see, there was method in my madness). I added 2 teaspoons of the spice mix to the biscuit dough, but it could easily take 3. It just depends on how strong you want it.
And don’t be fooled into thinking that these biscuits are just for eating on their own, albeit with a cup of coffee or tea. Crumble them over ice-cream that has been doused in chocolate sauce. Crumble them over your breakfast yoghurt and strawberries. Dunk them in your chocolate vla. Or stash them away for secret squirrel eating.
- 63g tapioca flour, plus extra for dusting
- 30g buckwheat flour
- 15g gram flour, aka chickpea / garbanzo bean flour
- 17g rice flour
- 25g flax meal (ground flax seeds)
- 25g ground almonds
- 50g coconut sugar, or soft light brown sugar
- 2 -3 tsp speculaas kruiden
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 100g unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp double cream
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 Celsius / 160 Fan / 350 Fahrenheit. Line two large baking sheets with non-stick paper.
- Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and blitz until it comes together to form a ball of dough.
- Flour your work-top with a liberal coating of tapioca flour and roll the dough out to a thickness of approximately 5mm. The dough is quite sticky so you will need to dust the dough and the rolling-pin with a little flour also.
- Cut out using a cookie cutter of your choice, but keep the shape simple as the dough is soft and liable to distort any intricate shapes, and place on the prepared baking sheets. The biscuits can be placed relatively close together as they do not spread very much.
- Bake for 10 – 15 minutes, until firm to the touch and slightly golden around the edges.
- Leave to cool on the tray for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Store in an air-tight container.