• Speculaas (China Squirrel)Source: China Squirrel

Like little pieces of art, these deliciously buttery Dutch spice biscuits are made using a traditional springerle mould, or you can improvise with our clever cheat's tip.






Skill level

Average: 3.5 (226 votes)


  • 225 g (1½ cups) plain flour, plus extra to dust
  • ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp ground white pepper
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  • 125 g butter, softened
  • 125 g brown or muscovado sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • rice flour, for dusting moulds

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Cooling time 15 minutes

Freezing time 30 minutes

Line two large oven trays with non-stick baking paper.

Sift together the plain flour, bicarbonate of soda and spices. Set aside.

Use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugar until just combined. Beat in the milk. Add the flour mixture and beat on lowest possible speed until just combined and a soft dough forms. Divide the dough into two portions and shape each into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour (see Baker’s tip) or until firm enough to roll.

Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out one portion of dough on a lightly floured benchtop until 4 mm thick. Lightly dust the surface of a springerle mould with rice flour. Cut a piece of the dough slightly larger than the mould. Place the piece of dough over the dusted mould to cover and use the rolling pin to roll over the dough lightly twice to imprint the dough. Flip the dough over onto a lined baking tray, using a palette knife or the tip of a sharp knife to gently ease the dough out of the mould onto the tray if it doesn’t come out on its own. Use a dry pastry brush to dust off any flour on the top of the biscuits and then use a sharp knife to trim the edges of the biscuits, reserving the off-cuts.

Repeat with the remaining dough, re-rolling any off-cuts, placing the biscuits about 2 cm apart on the trays. Place the trays in the freezer for 30 minutes or until the biscuits are frozen.

Preheat the oven to 170°C (150°C fan-forced).

Place the biscuits in the preheated oven, reduce the temperature to 130°C (110°C fan-forced), and bake for 40 minutes, swapping the trays halfway through baking, or until cooked through. Cool on the trays.


Baker’s tips

• You can buy springerle moulds online at The Clock Shop and Cookie Cutter Shop

• You can make these cookies using a springerle rolling pin, which makes multiple cookies at a time. Roll out the dough until 4 mm thick. Use a lightly floured springerle rolling pin to roll firmly over the dough to mark. Use a dry pastry brush to dust off any flour, then use a sharp knife to cut them into portions. Transfer to the lined trays and bake as above.

• To make these biscuits without a springerle mould or springerle rolling pin, roll out the dough until 4 mm thick. Use a 6 cm fluted or plain round cutter to cut out the biscuits. Transfer to the lined trays leaving about 2 cm between the biscuits. Gently press small sprigs of rosemary into the dough rounds to imprint and then bake as above.

• The dough can be made and kept in the fridge for up to 3 days. Stand at room temperature for 1 hour or until pliable enough to roll easily.

• These biscuits will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.


Photography, styling and food preparation by China Squirrel.


This recipe is part of our Bakeproof: Festive cookies column. 

View previous Bakeproof columns and recipes here.


Anneka's mission is to connect home cooks with the magic of baking, and through this, with those they love. For hands-on baking classes and baking tips, visit her at BakeClub. Don't miss what's coming out of her oven via FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest.