The holiday season is a magical time the world over, and one of the most interesting aspects of this holiday is that every country has its own particular traditions over the festive season. When you travel to Europe over the winter holidays, it’s always such a treat to immerse yourself in local customs and experience Christmastime from a brand new point of view.
Festive feasts are obbviously a part of holiday celebrations, and the Netherlands are certainly no exception. If you visit Holland at this time of year you can look forward a delicious selection of festive treats, including the ubiquitous speculaas, spiced gingerbread shortcrust cookies that are traditionally made and eaten on St. Nicholas Day and throughout the Christmas holiday season. And what better day to whip up a batch of these perfectly delicious, thin, crispy, crunchy, caramelized cookies than National Cookie Day!
Recipe courtesy General Mills
2 cups softened, unsalted butter
1 box Gold Medal White Cake Mix
¼ cup ground cinnamon
1 T ground nutmeg
2 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ground anise seeds
2 tsp white pepper
2 ½ T orange zest
Ingredients for Orange Sugar
1 cup course sugar
½ tsp orange zest
- Place butter, cake mix, spices and 2 ½ T orange zest into mixer bowl fitted with a paddle attachment.
- Mix on low speed 3-4 minutes or until dough comes together and pulls away from bowl.
- Turn out dough on a parchment-lined half sheet pan. Spread dough to edges.
- Chill dough approx. 20 minutes or until firm. Dough can be refrigerated overnight.
- Remove chilled dough from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for approx. 15 minutes.
- Place coarse sugar and ½ tsp orange zest into plastic bag; rub together.
- Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into 2-inch circles and place on parchment-lined full sheet pans using a 4 x 6 configuration.
- Sprinkle each cookie with 1/2 tsp of orange sugar.
- Bake as directed below and allow to cool completely before storing in airtight container. Cookies also freeze well.
Convection Oven: 8-10 minutes at 325 degrees. Rotate pans baked in convection oven one-half turn (180°) after 4 minutes of baking.
Standard Oven: 11-13 minutes at 375 degrees