2013/01/27

Just Stuff It (Daring Bakers Jan '13: Gevulde Speculaas)

"Just stuff it."

How many times does that phrase cross your mind in a single day?

Customer Service of "insert retail company here" makes yet another lame excuse as to why they have not yet lived up to their promises - making you want to say "just stuff it".

The mechanic tells you that they can't just replace your brakes - the car needs new brakes and new rotors - front and back. A ridiculous amount of money later, you want to tell him to "just stuff it".

You finally get the salt washed off your car on what appears to be a clear day. If course, that means that it will snow or rain within hours of said car washing. (Raises fist to clouds) "Just stuff it" Mother Nature, "Just stuff it".

The waitress at a restaurant makes a totally bogus excuse as to why she hasn't been to your table in 20 minutes (not realizing that you saw her out back taking a break...). Another "just stuff it" moment.

Fortunately, I have the self-restraint to control these thoughts as they travel across my neural pathways. As satisfying as it might be to express them, I remember that I am an adult and don't have that luxury. Sigh.


I try to confine my "stuffing" to the kitchen.

Stuffed shells.

Stuffed pork tenderloin.

Stuffed cream puffs.

Stuffed cookies.

Yep, I can "just stuf it" to my heart's delight in the kitchen.

This month's Daring Bakers challenge gave us permission to "stuff it" - in a good way. Speculaas cookie bars stuffed with almond paste. Now that is a stuffing that I can get behind.

Seriously.

 
Speculaas Spice Mixture (how I blended it)
Adapted from Francijn of Koken in de Brouwerij

5 Tsp cinnamon (I used a combination of Ceylon, Vietnamese & Indonesian)
1 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground mace
1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground galangal
1/2 tsp finely ground white pepper
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground nutmeg


Combine all ingredients in small bowl or 4-ounce glass canning jar. Mix together well (if you use a jar, just place the cover on and give it a good shake).

 
Gevulde Speculaas
Adapted from Homemade Winter by Yvette van Boven

2 cups white-unbleached flour
1 Tbs aluminum free baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
2 Tbs speculaas spices (or 1 Tbs ground allspice)
3/4 cup light brown sugar
10 Tbs (1/2 cup + 2 Tbs) cold butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 Tbs cold milk
10 1/2 ounces almond paste
1/3 cup blanched almonds
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten

Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and spices together in a medium sized bowl. Set aside. Add the brown sugar, butter and milk and quickly knead the mixture into a smooth dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or over night.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325F. Lightly grease an 8" square baking pan. Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator and divide into two equal pieces.

Roll out the first half of the dough on a lightly floured surface into an 8" square. Transfer the square into the prepared pan, making sure it comes to the ends of the pan. Spread the almond paste over the bottom layer - leaving a 1/4"- 1/2" border around the edges of the pan. Roll out the second half of the dough into an 8" square and place over the layer with the paste - pressing down on the edges to seal.

Decoratively arrange the blanched almonds on top of the dough and lightly brush with the beaten yolk.

Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for ~40-50 minutes - until golden brown on top. Let the bars cool in their pan. When cool, transfer to a cutting board and cut into pieces (~2" square).

Well wrapped, cookies will keep for several days at room temperature.

This post participates in The Daring Bakers. Francijn of Koken in de Brouwerij was our January 2013 Daring Bakers’ Hostess and she challenged us to make the traditional Dutch pastry, Gevulde Speculaas from scratch! That includes making our own spice mix, almond paste and dough! Delicious! The full posting, including recipes and detailed instructions can be found here.

21 comments:

  1. I would be more than delighted to take these and stuff stuff them away. I think we like "stuffed" things because it's like finding a hidden surprise.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Okay, first of all, I love this post. LOL - sometimes it stinks being an adult and not being able to tell people (who really need to be told...) to just stuff it, but awesome to be able to get that out in the kitchen. And that was a great way to mix your spices! AND, last but absolutely, certainly not least, your gevulde speculaas looks AMAZING! Great job!

    ReplyDelete
  3. ... and now i'm craving cream puffs! your pastry looks delicious :) great post!

    ReplyDelete
  4. If I could have a square of gevulde speculaas every time a "just stuff it" moment occurred, well, that would make everything OK...

    ReplyDelete
  5. LOL - I would just tell them to get stuffed. Great job on the speculaas.

    ReplyDelete
  6. The tax guy who didn't return our phone calls all year long yet sends us a "tax worksheet" in the mail this year.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I can´t tell you how much I love the flavors here Cher! Maybe it will make up for having to shut up so many times; I hope you finally got your kindle from amazon!

    ReplyDelete
  8. How did these compare to Dorie's speculoos?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I like them both for different reasons. Dories were more of a tea cookie - these cookies were more like a cakey bar and a little milder (great for a glass of milk)

      Delete
  9. Wow - 3 different types of cinnamon! At the other end of the spectrum form my spice mix with half of the ingredients missing ;o) Looks beautiful and I'm sure it tasted delicious too!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Such a cool recipe- love the blending of the spices and, of course, the stuffing of the bar cookies- I'm curious too-how do these compare to Dorie's speculoos? (I love those cookies)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I loved the spice blend and I am using it all over the place now.
      This is very different than Dorie's speculoos.

      Delete
  11. Ha, ha, great post Cher and sooo true!! I think these stuffed Speculaas are a nice reward to putting up with the many aggravations out there. These look so good- I bet they taste delicious with the almond paste filling. Yummy!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Cher, you prpepared "Gevulde Speculaas" - this is really wonderful because I have seen these in the Netherlands but I have never seen them on a blog post before. They do look like a real treat and I really like the fact that you blended the spice mix yourself, I love to do that too and it does make a lot of difference in taste. One delicious post, Cher!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Great post and your speculaas turned out so beautifully! Great to make your own spice mixture too. Here in the Netherlands, just before Christmas all shops suddenly fill with speculaas spice mix, while somehow absent for most of the year,

    ReplyDelete
  14. Cher…this sounds like something that I would love! Anything with almond paste is a winner with me. I will be trying this one! Beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  15. This looks so beautiful and exotic as a treat my friend :D

    Cheers
    CCU

    ReplyDelete
  16. I just bought almond paste for the first time in order to make an almond cake. It was really delicious and moist. I kept taking little bits of the paste and eating it...loved it. Thanks for the "stuff it" chuckle this morning. I spent my free time yesterday morning on the phone with the bank...could have used that line for sure.

    ReplyDelete
  17. That is one delicious stuffing!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I know what mean about those "just stuff it moments" and they do indeed make you regret being an adult or at least a well mannered one!
    But at least making these beautiful stuffed cookies is a way to stuff it in a good way lol
    Beautifully done Cher

    ReplyDelete
  19. I laughed out loud picturing you with fists raised telling Mother Nature to "just stuff it"!

    ReplyDelete

Hi - Thanks for stopping by. I'd love to hear from you!

Due to the high number of weirdo SPAM comments I have been receiving, I have turned comment moderation back on for the time being... Comments may show a slight delay.