Speculaas Spices

Spices have played a major role in Dutch history. The Dutch East India Company (VOC), arguably the worlds first multinational, had a spice monopoly during much of the 17th century. This colonial history has its ugly parts; wars were waged over nutmeg for instance. But it has left a lasting impression on Dutch culinary tradition. The spices traded by the VOC are an essential part of traditional Dutch baking, especially the seasonal treats eaten during the period around 'Sinterklaas'. This is a recipe for a spice mix used primarily in baking things such as 'speculaas' and 'pepernoten'. You could also use it as an alternative for pumpkin spice.


  • 15 grams  cinnamon
  • 5 grams  cloves
  • 5 grams nutmeg
  • 2 grams white pepper
  • 2 grams coriander seed
  • 2 grams aniseed
You can use ground spices or grind them yourself. I used a food processor for the cloves and pepper, just make sure to put the ground spices through a fine sieve. Nutmeg can simply be grated. If you are using a combination of freshly ground and pre ground spice the smell alone won't tell you if it is nicely balanced. My mix smelled only of the freshly grated nutmeg. But if you dip a wet finger in some sugar and then the spice mix and taste it you can get a better idea of the final balance. Add an extra teaspoon or so of cinnamon if the clove or nutmeg are too overwhelming. 

In the coming months I'll be posting several recipes using this spice mix. Starting with the traditional Dutch spice nuts (kruidnoten) . The links will be added to this page, or you could keep an eye on the homepage.

Amazon does sell some original Dutch speculaas spices for if you don't feel like going through the trouble.

PS I've finally made a dedicated Facebook page which you will find in the sidebar on the left. Please help me get rid of that pesky 0 fans ; )

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