Gevulde Speculaas: Dutch Cherry Almond Filled Spiced Cookies

Gevulde Speculaas is an authentic Dutch dessert typically served during the festive Christmas holiday season.

Traditional Gevulde Speculaas recipes from Holland typically feature a spiced cookie dough stuffed or filled with a sweet ground nut filling mixed with candied fruit.

Looking for the best recipe for Gevulde Speculaas? Our yummy Dutch stuffed cookie cake features festive spiced dough and a filling featuring ground almonds and candied glace cherries.

Gevulde Speculaas is a perfect dessert idea for your next holiday cookie swap or Christmas party. Once cooled, the Dutch cookie log is sliced like biscotti and topped with festive decorations like whole almonds and red and green glace candied cherries.

The ingredients in this easy Christmas cookie recipe include standard pantry items and are out of the oven and ready to eat in less than an hour!

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What Is Speculaas?

Speculaas, also known as speculoos, is a type of spiced shortcrust cookie, traditionally baked on or just before St Nicholas’ day in the Netherlands (5 December), Belgium (6 December), Luxembourg (6 December), and around Christmas in Germany and Austria.

Speculaas cookies are thin, very crunchy, caramelized, slightly browned and, most importantly, have some image or figure (often from the traditional stories about St. Nicholas) stamped on the front side before baking.

Speculaas are also found in Indonesia and locally known as spekulaas or spekulaaskoekjes. In Indonesia, this dish usually served during Christmas.

Speculaas dough does not rise much. Dutch and Belgian versions are baked with light brown (sometimes beet) sugar and baking powder. Commonly used spices in speculaas dough are cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cardamom, and pepper; which were common throughout the 1600–1700s due to the Dutch East Indies spice trade.

Traditionally, speculaas were made from Frisian flour and spices. The name speculoos was coined for Belgian wheat flour cookies with hardly any spices. Today most speculaas versions are made from wheat flour, brown sugar, butter and spices. Some varieties use some almond flour and have slivered almonds embedded in the bottom.

The dough is prepared by beating butter, sugar and spices and combining them. The flour and leavening agent are mixed separately and then added. Bakers are careful not to overwork the dough, so it will only rise slightly. The dough is sometimes stored in the fridge overnight to give the spices time to flavour the dough.

Gevulde speculaas takes the spiced Dutch cooking concept to another level of enlightenment. It’s a speculaas cookie filled with almond paste. It’s sometimes referenced as Holland’s cookie cake as it is removed from the oven as one large baked log. After it cools it is sliced into the shape of biscotti and enjoyed with tea or coffee.

Ingredients you'll need to make our Gevulde Speculaas recipe.
Ingredients you’ll need to make our Gevulde Speculaas recipe.

Travel To Holland by Baking Gevulde Speculaas at Home

I love traveling to Europe!

During my first visit to the continent I traveled for 5 months by train and plane. I had the opportunity to eat my way through IrelandScotlandEnglandWalesPortugalSpainFranceBelgiumHollandRussiaEstoniaPolandCzech RepublicGermanyAustriaCroatiaBosniaHungarySlovakiaGreeceTurkey and Italy.

My fondest food memory of The Netherlands is the country’s curiosity for cookies! I was in Amsterdam wandering through the city’s famous historic square when I found a local bakery selling thousands of speculaas cookies in the shape of Holland’s iconic windmills.

In nearby Brussels and Bruges, many vendors sold Gevulde Speculaas at Christmas Markets alongside trays of steaming Belgium frites and dark chocolate drizzled waffles.

Once back home from a holiday to Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg you’ll have a newfound appreciation for the unique flavours of the Benelux and can impress friends and family by making your very own homemade Gevulde Speculaas!

Prepare Gevulde Speculaas dough in a stand mixer.
Prepare Gevulde Speculaas dough in a stand mixer.

My Family Loves Dutch Christmas Cookies

My family loves crunchy and chewy Gevulde Speculaas.

This quick and easy Gevulde Speculaas recipe can be made in under an hour, perfect for enjoying around the holidays at Christmas parties and family get togethers.

Many of my family and friends rank this recipe as the best speculaas cookie they’ve ever tasted. The combination of crunchy spiced cookie dough filled with chewy almond and candied cherry filling offers a desirable texture. The additional decoration of whole blanched almonds and red and green glace cherries make this cookie recipe as festive as can be! Be sure to make your own to add to the Christmas dessert table.

We suggest doubling the recipe and storing leftover Gevulde Speculaas in a Ziplock bag in your freezer to enjoy later.

You can also portion out the raw speculaas dough and almond cherry filling and store in the freezer to bake later. Whenever you have an impromptu cookie craving simply thaw the frozen cookie dough and filling and prepare the recipe according to the instructions below. The almond, cherry and spice perfume that will waft through your kitchen is divine!

Gevulde Speculaas filling is prepared with ground almonds and glace candied cherries.
Gevulde Speculaas filling is prepared with ground almonds and glace candied cherries.

How To Make Gevulde Speculaas

We love baking cookies at home.

We’ve shared our favourite cookie recipes in the past including Dark Chocolate Lindt Lindor CookiesOatmeal Chocolate Toffee Walnut Cookies, Oat Flour Cookies with Chocolate Chips and Healthy Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies.

After doing a lot of recipe testing, we’re confident this is the easiest and tastiest Gevulde Speculaas to bake at home. The recipe features simple ingredients commonly found in a kitchen pantry so it’s unlikely you have to run to the grocery store if you want to make these last minute.

If you’re looking for a fun Christmas cookie recipe to serve your family, our Cherry and Almond Spiced Gevulde Speculaas are a big hit with both kids and adults. We serve them every year at holiday parties or as a present in a festive cookie tin. Almonds, festive spices and candied cherries always remind us of the happy holiday season!

Roll chilled Gevulde Speculaas dough onto a lightly floured surface with a rolling pin.
Roll chilled Gevulde Speculaas dough onto a lightly floured surface with a rolling pin.
Wash Gevulde Speculaas dough with egg and create a log with almond cherry filling.
Wash Gevulde Speculaas dough with egg and create a log with almond cherry filling.

Gevulde Speculaas Health Benefits

Our Gevulde Speculaas recipe is packed full of healthy ingredients!

Containing more protein, fibre, vitamin E and calcium that other nuts, almonds may reduce the risk of heart disease, keep your bones healthy,  and help your body absorb essential nutrients. 

Whole wheat flour is rich in vitamins B-1, B-3, and B-5, along with riboflavin and folate. It also has more iron, calcium, protein, and other nutrients than white flour. 

Many people consider cherries to be a superfood due to their high nutrient and antioxidant content. In fact, research has linked the nutrients in cranberries to a lower risk of urinary tract infection, the prevention of certain types of cancer, improved immune function, and decreased blood pressure.

A rich source of phytochemicals and vitamin C, lemons help boost your immune system and neutralize free radicals that cause disease and skin aging. Lemons also protect against heart disease and help improve blood flow to the brain.

Eggs contain two vital nutrients that are not present in many foods: iodine and vitamin D. Eggs are also rich in tissue-building protein and vitamin B12, which helps your body manufacture blood cells.

Consuming dairy products (such as milk and cheese) provides health benefits — especially improved bone health. Dairy foods provide nutrients that are vital for health and maintenance of your body. These nutrients include calcium, potassium, vitamin D, and protein.

Rich in energy-boosting manganese, cinnamon is also antibacterial and may protect your brain against Alzheimer’s disease.  

Nutmeg is said to relieve pain, soothe indigestion, strengthen cognitive function, detoxify the body, boost skin health, reduce insomnia, increase immune system function and improve blood circulation.

Ginger contains at least 14 phytochemicals, many of which have impressive antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It also has a good source of copper, which supports your bones, blood and nervous system. 

Wash Gevulde Speculaas exterior with egg wash and top with blanched almonds and glace cherries.
Wash Gevulde Speculaas exterior with egg wash and top with blanched almonds and glace cherries.
Let Gevulde Speculaas rest on a cooling rack after baking in the oven.
Let Gevulde Speculaas rest on a cooling rack after baking in the oven.

Tips For Baking Gevulde Speculaas

This Dutch stuffed cookie recipe is so quick and easy to make, even a novice baker or cook should have no problems perfecting them at home.

Baking is a science so be sure to measure all of your ingredients accurately and sift the dry ingredients so you don’t find yourself munching on any balls of bitter baking soda.

The secret to making the best Gevulde Speculaas recipe is the ratios of butter, sugar and flour. The recipe can’t have too much flour or the result will be a cakey and dry cookie. It needs to be buttery with the perfect balance of sweetness.

It’s also important that the ratio of spiced cookie dough to almond cherry filling is just right. When forming the almond paste log in the centre of the cookie dough make sure it is uniform in size, from the centre to each of the ends. This will ensure each sliced cooked has the same amount of almond cherry filling.

We love using ground almonds in this recipe but you could also substitute for walnuts, pecans or hazelnuts if you want to get creative in the kitchen.

We’ve used a stand mixer to prepare the dough but you can also use the old school method using a large mixing bowl, sturdy wooden spoon and muscle power.

We’ve used festie red and green glace candied cherries in this recipe but you could also substitute for candied citrus peel.

 Slice Gevulde Speculaas the thickness of biscotti. You'll see a soft cherry almond filling inside.
Slice Gevulde Speculaas the thickness of biscotti. You’ll see a soft cherry almond filling inside.
Sliced Gevulde Speculaas Dutch Christmas cookies.
Sliced Gevulde Speculaas Dutch Christmas cookies.

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Gevulde Speculaas are our favourite Dutch Christmas cookies to enjoy at a holiday party or dessert swap.
Gevulde Speculaas are our favourite Dutch Christmas cookies to enjoy at a holiday party or dessert swap.
Store Gevulde Speculaas in a cookie tin affixed with a tight lid.
Store Gevulde Speculaas in a cookie tin affixed with a tight lid.

Best Gevulde Speculaas Recipe

Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Gevulde Speculaas Cherry Almond Dutch Holiday Cookies

Learn how to make Gevulde Speculaas. Our Dutch holiday Christmas recipe features spiced cookie dough stuffed with almond cherry filling.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Dutch
Keyword: Gevulde Speculaas
Servings: 12
Calories: 262kcal

Equipment

  • oven
  • baking sheet
  • measuring cups
  • measuring spoons
  • Stand Mixer
  • Rolling pin
  • Mixing bowls
  • spatula
  • Pastry brush

Ingredients

Spice Mixture

  • 1 tbsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Ground Aniseed
  • 3/4 tsp Ground Pepper
  • 3/4 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Coriander
  • 1 tsp Ground Cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Cloves

Speculaas Dough

  • 7 tbsp Unsalted butter room temperature, plus 1 tbsp for brushing
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar packed
  • 1 tbsp Milk
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 1/3 cup All Purpose Flour plus 1 tbsp and extra for dusting
  • 1/3 tsp Salt

Almond Paste

  • 1 1/2 cups Whole Blanched Almonds
  • 3/4 cup White Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 2 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 3/4 tsp Lemon Zest
  • 2 oz Candied Cherries

Decorations

  • 1 Large Egg beaten
  • 1/4 cup Whole Blanched Almonds

Instructions

  • SPICE MIX: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
  • DOUGH: Place room temperature butter in bowl of an electric mixer with paddle attachement. Add brown sugar and milk and beat on medium speed until smooth. Sift the baking soda, 4 tsp spice mix, the flour and salt into a bowl, then add to the dough. Continue to beat until the dough is soft and pliable. Transfer the dough to your work surface and lightly knead. Cover in plastic wrap and keep cold in the fridge until ready to use.
  • ALMOND PASTE: Place almonds in a food processor and process for 30 seconds. Add white sugar, egg and lemon juice and process again, until slightly smooth but still grainy. Add lemon zest and candied cherry and pulse once or twice until mixed. The paste should be sticky but still hold its shape. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 375 F.
  • Roll the dough onto a lightly floured 16 x 12 inch sheet of parchment paper to form a 13 x 7 inch rectangle, just over 1/4 inch thick. Dust with more flour if needed to prevent sticking.
  • Transfer the dough and parchment sheet to a large baking sheet and brush two thirds of the melted butter evenly over the dough. Spoon the almond paste lengthwise down the centre of the dough. Brush the almond paste with the remainder of the butter and then fold the left side of the dough inwards, so its on top of the paste. Fold the right side on top of this so the two sides are overlapping. Press gently to secure and carefully turn over so the seal is at the bottom and paste is secured.
  • DECORATE: Brush the dough evenly and lightly with beaten egg and arrange whole almonds on top. Brush again with egg.
  • Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, until the dough begins to colour and almonds are golden brown. Set aside until completed cooled then cut into 12 slices, each about 1 inch wide.

Nutrition

Calories: 262kcal | Carbohydrates: 33.6g | Protein: 4.6g | Fat: 13.3g | Saturated Fat: 4.9g | Cholesterol: 32mg | Sodium: 174mg | Potassium: 137mg | Fiber: 2.4g | Sugar: 20g | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 1mg

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