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Can herbs be used for baking?


Speculatius is a spicy biscuit, usually found in Germany around Christmas time. Flavored with ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, mace and cardamom, it adds welcome warmth during the cold months without being too sweet. Traditionally, special rolling pins with imprints of pictures on them were used to make the biscuits. I haven't yet been able to find one of these, but can happily eat the biscuits all year round.

There are many recipes for Speculatius, with the variation usually in the spice mix. Experiment until you find a mixture that's right for you. Below is the basic one my grandmother gave me.

Sift 400 g plain flour with 50 g ground almonds. Add one teaspoon ground cinnamon, one teaspoon ground ginger, ¼ teaspoon cardamom, ¼ teaspoon ground cloves and ¼ teaspoon mace. (Alternatively, use one teaspoon each of cinnamon, ground ginger and Christmas spice or mixed spice). Cream 150g unsalted butter with 300g unrefined caster sugar. Beat in one whole egg and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Now mix in the flour and spices. Add milk, one tablespoon at a time, until you have a firm dough. Rest dough in the fridge for 30 minutes, then roll out thinly. Cut freehand shapes or use a cookie cutter. Place biscuits on baking sheet and bake in a hot oven for 10-12 minutes.



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