Yield: Makes about 18 to 24 medium cutout cookies.
Press the dough for these cookies into a carved wooden mold, or roll out the dough and cut with cookie cutters.
1/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon each powdered cloves and cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon each nutmeg and powdered ginger
1 pinch salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon chopped blanched almonds
1 tablespoon minced candied fruit
5 tablespoons butter
large slivers of blanched almonds, for decoration
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar and milk, and stir until smooth. Add the flour, spices, salt, baking powder, almonds, and fruit. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender. Chill. Preheat oven to 350° F. If using a wooden speculaas mold, dust it with cornstarch, covering every bit of carving. Firmly press the dough into the mold, then run a sharp knife along the edges of the design. Gently lift the dough or tap it onto a greased cookie sheet. Press almond slivers onto the cookies wherever they fit into the design. To make cutout cookies, roll the dough about 1/4 inch thick and cut with cookie cutters. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Let them cool and crisp on a rack.