Whenever autumn rolls around, I get the urge to bake delicious things with speculaas spices. Speculaas is a big favourite here in the Netherlands, and the speculaas and chocolate muffins I made last year became a huge success with my friends and family, and it’s still one of my favourite recipes.
This year, I decided to go for the classic Dutch combination of speculaas and almond: a muffin flavoured with some lovely spices, and a heart of almond paste. I added a splash of liqueur to liven things up a little, and some almond sprinkles on top and voilà, another mouthwateringly good muffin!
These really are delicious, and I think I will be making them a lot throughout the winter. If you want to make them too but are thinking “but Anne, I don’t know where to get speculaas spices!”, worry no more! These spices are simply a combination of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger, and I’ve provided the measurements below.
You’ll need… (for 10 to 12 muffins)
- 250 g plain flour
- 1½ teaspoon baking powder
- 200 g sugar
- 6 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- pinch of salt
- 120 ml sunflower oil
- 2 eggs (medium)
- 90 g almond paste
- 1½ tablespoon speculaas liqueur or almond liqueur
- some almond flakes (to sprinkle over the top)
- muffin tin (for 12 muffins) and, optionally, paper cases
- and an oven, of course! These muffins need to be baked at 180 °C (don’t forget to preheat your oven!)
Tip! If you live in the Netherlands you can make things a little easier for yourself by using “Speculaas en Koekkruiden” (available at the supermarket) instead of the cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. If you choose to do this you’ll need 1 tablespoon of the “Speculaas en Koekkruiden” to replace the other spices. That’s what I did as well, so if you have the option of using the speculaas spices, I recommend doing so.
So, let’s get baking!
1. Mix the dry ingredients together Firstly, you need to take a large bowl and mix together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger (or the speculaas spices as stated above). Baking powder tends to be a bit lumpy, so I always sieve it above the bowl so it gets distributed evenly throughout the mixture.
2. Mix the wet ingredients together Take a smaller bowl and mix together the sunflower oil and the eggs until they’re combined. Then you have to add the liqueur to the mixture. I used a speculaas liqueur, but I’m fairly certain you won’t be able to find that in many places outside of the Netherlands, so I recommend using almond liqueur to all of you non-Dutchies out there. It will taste differently, but I’m sure it’s still delicious.
3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients Create a little well in the middle of the dry ingredients, and pour in the wet mixture. Use a (wooden) spoon to gently fold everything together. Do not overmix — it is okay to still see little bits of flour. If you overmix the batter, your muffins will turn out too tough.
4. Divide half of your batter over the paper cases The batter is not really very liquid, so you might have to use a spoon or your hand to push into place. Make sure the bottoms of each of your paper cases is covered with batter.
5. Add almond paste to the cases Divide your almond paste into 12 little chunks (or however many muffins your are making), and place a chunk in the middle of each of the paper cases, on top of the batter. Lightly press it into the batter.
6. Divide the rest of the batter over the paper cases Cover all of the chunks of almond paste with some more batter. Again, you will probably need your hands to make sure the almond paste is fully covered with batter.
7. Sprinkle almond flakes over the top Generously sprinkle almond flakes over the tops of the muffins.
8. Bake! Place the muffin tray into your preheated oven (180 °C) and bake the muffins for about 25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. When they’re done, take the tin out of the oven and let the muffins cool inside their tin for 5-10 minutes. Then take them out and let them cool completely on a cooling rack.
And that’s it! These muffins are really good when they’re still a little bit warm, but they’re scrumptious when they’re completely cooled down as well. Enjoy!