Vegan gevulde speculaas - this delicious festive Dutch treat consists of spiced cookie dough filled with almond paste.
It is easy to make and addictively good! If you like almonds and spices then you will love these!
These vegan gevulde speculaas are rich, delicious and incredibly more-ish!
I'm a sucker for anything almondy, so these spicy cookies filled with sweet almond paste are right up my street.
What Is Gevulde Speculaas?:
You may have heard of speculaas cookies - crisp, gingerbread-like spiced biscuits often pressed into the shape of windmills or other pictures.
Gevulde speculaas translates as filled or stuffed speculaas. It is a Dutch treat made with a similar dough to regular speculaas, but it is soft rather than crunchy, somewhere between a cookie, a cake and a pie.
The dough is filled with almond paste before baking, then cut into squares or slices once baked. The combination of spicy cookie dough and sweet almond paste is heavenly!
Gevulde speculaas are baked for Sinterklaas in the Netherlands (December 5th) but they are also lovely for Christmas, and make a great treat any time over the festive period (or year round if you fancy!).
They are traditionally made using egg, at least in the almond paste, sometimes in the dough; as well as butter and milk. My vegan version obviously contains none of those things, and you don't need any kind of egg replacer, just fairly basic ingredients.
What Do I Need To Make Vegan Gevulde Speculaas?:
Vegan butter: Please, for the love of holy baking, use a block butter/margarine to make these cookies, not the spreadable kind in a tub.
Spreadable will likely make the dough too soft, and the biscuits may be more tough as it contains more water. I recommend Naturli Vegan Block or Flora Plant Butter.
Plain flour: Just regular plain (all-purpose) flour is best here. I haven't tried making these gluten-free.
Milk: Any kind of non dairy milk will work (except tinned coconut). I use soy.
Sugar: Light or dark brown sugar for the dough and caster or granulated sugar for the almond paste. I don't recommend swapping these for other types of sugar.
Spices: Gevulde speculaas is usually made with speculaas spice mix (speculaaskruiden). It is difficult to get hold of in the UK so I just use individual spices. You can also use 1 ½ Tablespoons of pumpkin spice or mixed spice instead of the individual spices.
Bicarbonate of soda: To help the dough rise a bit.
Ground almonds: I believe that in the US it would be called almond flour rather than ground almonds.
Lemon zest and juice: Adding some lemon to the almond paste helps to make the flavour pop.
Almond extract: I don't think that the almond paste tastes quite almondy enough on it's own so I add a bit of almond extract. You can omit it or use vanilla extract instead if you want.
How To Make Vegan Gevulde Speculaas:
(Full measurements and instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the page)
To make the dough, whisk together the butter, sugar and milk until well combined and fluffy. Whisk in the spices, bicarbonate of soda and a pinch of salt.
Add the flour and stir to form a soft dough.
Bring the dough together into a disc, wrap and refrigerate for a couple of hours until firm enough to roll out.
At the same time as making the dough make the almond paste - stir together the ground almonds, sugar, lemon zest and juice, milk and almond extract.
Divide the dough into two pieces - one ⅔ rds and one ⅓ rd. Roll the larger piece out on a lightly floured surface into a square big enough to line a 20cm square tin, coming most of the way up the sides.
Spread the almond paste evenly over the top of the dough and fold the edges over.
Brush the folded edges with milk the roll out the other piece of dough into a 20cm square.
Place the square of dough on top of the almond paste and press the edges together to seal.
Brush the top of the dough with milk and decorate as you like with blanched almonds.
Bake for 30-40 minutes until nicely golden.
As with all of my baking recipes I really do recommend using the metric measurements with a digital scale rather than the cup conversions. Cups are a wildly inaccurate measuring system and you will get far better, more consistent results using a scale, not to mention that it is also easier and less messy than cups!
Don't overwork the dough as that will make the cookies tough. Just knead it very briefly until it is smooth and then stop.
Both the dough and almond paste will keep in the fridge for a couple of days.
The dough is quite soft but it is forgiving, if it tears while transferring it to the tin you can just press it back together with your fingers.
If you don't have a 20cm square tin, the gevulde speculaas can be made free-form on a baking sheet instead.
The baked gevulde speculaas will keep for 4-5 days in an airtight container at room temperature. They can also be frozen.
More Vegan Christmas Cookie Recipes:
- Vegan lebkuchen
- Vegan vanillekipferl
- Vegan chocolate pistachio biscotti
- Vegan gingerbread biscotti
- Vegan biscotti with almonds and cranberries
- Vegan chocolate orange shortbread
- Vegan cranberry orange shortbread
- Vegan pecan snowball cookies
- Vegan nussecken
- Vegan linzer cookies
- Vegan shortbread fingers
- Vegan gingerbread cookies
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Vegan Gevulde Speculaas
- 150 g (⅔ cup) vegan block butter (NOT the spreadable kind. I use Naturli Vegan Block) softened
- 125 g (½ cup + 2 Tablespoons) light brown soft sugar
- 4 teaspoons non-dairy milk
- ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- ½ Tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ½ teaspoon ground star anise
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
- pinch salt
- 250 g (2 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 200 g (2 cups) ground almonds
- 150 g (¾ cup) caster or granulated sugar
- finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 4 Tablespoons unsweetened non-dairy milk
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- non dairy milk for brushing
- 16 blanched almonds
- To make the dough, whisk together the butter, sugar and milk with an electric mixer until well combined and fluffy.
- Whisk in the bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, anise, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, coriander and a pinch of salt.
- Add the flour and stir with a spatula to form a soft dough.
- Bring the dough together into a disc, wrap and refrigerate for a couple of hours until firm enough to roll out.
- At the same time as making the dough make the almond paste - stir together the ground almonds, sugar, lemon zest and juice, milk and almond extract. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
- When the dough is sufficiently chilled, preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/gas mark 4. Line a 20 cm/8 in square cake tin with baking parchment.
- Divide the dough into two pieces - one ⅔ rds and one ⅓ rd. Roll the larger piece out on a lightly floured surface into a square big enough to line a 20cm square tin, coming most of the way up the sides.
- Press the dough into the tin and up the sides, if it tears at all just press it back together with your fingers.
- Spread the almond paste evenly over the top of the dough and fold the edges over.
- Brush the folded edges with milk the roll out the other piece of dough into a 20cm square.
- Place the square of dough on top of the almond paste and press the edges together to seal.
- Brush the top of the dough with milk and decorate as you like with blanched almonds; I like to place one in the centre of each square.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes until nicely golden. Leave to cool in the tin for 20 minutes then carefully lift it out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
- Once cold, use a sharp knife to slice it into squares and store in an airtight container.
- See post above for tips, details and step-by-step photos.
- As with all of my baking recipes I really do recommend using the metric measurements with a digital scale rather than the cup conversions. Cups are a wildly inaccurate measuring system and you will get far better, more consistent results using a scale, not to mention that it is also easier and less messy than cups!
- Instead of the individual spices you can use 1 ½ Tablespoons of spice blend such as speculaaskruiden, mixed spice or pumpkin spice.