Gluten Free & Keto Speculoos
i.e. Biscoff Cookies! 🎅🏿
These are rather special cookies. You see, not much is lost (if at all) in these gluten free and keto speculoos. They’re deeply aromatic, beautifully spiced, and have that nice crunch; which makes them ideal to dunk in milk. 🥛
Speculoos (also known as speculaas in the Netherlands, where they’re originally from) are traditionally made for the Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas) holiday on the 5th of December in the Netherlands. But more and more are enjoyed year-round.
Over here, these keto speculoos bring back some pretty fantastic memories from my (half-Dutch) childhood (Paola here 🙋🏿!!). I simply know Christmas is just around the corner once these babies hit the oven.
Plus: 1g net carbs a pop. Doesn’t get much better than that.
The Speculoos Spices 🍂
These keto speculoos cookies are dominantly cinnamon, with highlights of ginger and nutmeg (freshly ground preferably) and a touch of cardamom, white pepper and cloves.
Though actual spice blends vary from recipe to recipe, with some family recipes also adding touches of anise and allspice. After all, there’s a lot of tradition behind these rustic European cookies.
The Deets 🔍
The one indispensable thing, is that the dough be thoroughly chilled before baking. Why? The butter in the dough has to have solidified once again before you can press it into the molds (or roll it into balls), that way it won’t stick and the shapes will come just right. Plus, you want to give the spices time to permeate through the dough in order to get super nice and fragrant cookies.
So, if possible, allow the dough to rest in the fridge overnight. Though 3 hours would do as well if in a pickle.
If no traditional speculaas mold is on hand, just break off a chunk of dough, roll it up and flatten it. Or roll out the dough and use any cookie mold out there.
But if you are (ultra) keen, you can find some beautiful hand-carved speculaas molds over here. Ours is family vintage.
Speculoos cookies are traditionally a wheat cookie, though with many versions incorporating almond flour (and slivered almonds) into the mix. To make them gluten free and keto, we like a mixture of super fine almond flour and (a very small touch) of arrowroot powder best (optional). Add a touch of xanthan gum, and we’re golden.
What is arrowroot? Short answer, it’s a great substitute to cornstarch for both thickening up sauces and gravy. And it also lends a nice crunch and chew to keto cookies, which you simply don’t get from either almond or coconut flour. It is, however, higher in carbs than the other two flours (think 1 tablespoon = 6.5g net carbs), but divided between the whole batch it’s minimal impact per cookie.
Can I sub out the arrowroot? Yes, but know that the texture will not be exactly the same (slightly less crunch around the edges). Sub the tablespoon of arrowroot starch with two tablespoons of almond flour. We didn’t quite get the same airy crunch, but the taste was just as good.
Note also that we add a bit more baking soda than is customary (1/2 teaspoon rather than 1/4 or even nil). Reason being, that the slight bigger rise helps aerate the almond flour and get the cookies crispier. This, however, means that if using molds some of the impressions will be lost. Don’t know about you, but we always prefer to sacrifice looks for the sake of taste.
The Sweetener 🍯
This recipe works best with Swerve, without a doubt. Not only is it roughly 1-to-1 in sweetness to sugar (and the volume is important here), but it lends a very similar crunch and chew. No other sweetener did that.
Swerve aside, we like to add a teaspoon of blackstrap molasses for that brown sugar kick. 1 teaspoon (7g) adds 5g net carbs (depending on your macros, very little effect on carbs/serving). But carbs aside, blackstrap molasses is a nutritional powerhouse rich in vital vitamins and minerals, such as iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6, and selenium. But feel free to leave it out.
Your second-best option here is Pyure. Taste and texture were roughly the same, though you’ll have less volume as you use half as much. Right after baking we did notice a slight stevia trace, but once the cookies rested overnight (and the spices intensified a bunch), there really wasn’t much difference in taste. Oh, and don’t use xylitol here or you’ll get chewy cookies.
Gluten Free & Keto Speculoos (i.e. Biscoff Cookies!)
These are rather special cookies. You see, not much is lost (if at all) in these gluten free and keto speculoos. They're deeply aromatic, beautifully spiced, and have that nice crunch which makes them ideal to dunk in milk.
- 160 g almond flour
- 8 g arrowroot powder or more almond flour*
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 1 3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 80 g grass-fed butter
- 96 g Swerve **
- 9 g blackstrap molasses optional
- 1 egg
- 1 egg white very lightly beaten for egg wash
- slivered almonds optional
Add almond flour, arrowroot powder, salt, baking soda, xanthan gum, and spices to a medium bowl. Whisk until thoroughly combined and set aside.
Cream butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer, 2-3 minutes. Add in sweetener and molasses (optional), and continue to beat until thoroughly mixed and much of the sweetener has dissolved.
Add in egg, mixing until just incorporated. The mixture will appear slightly 'broken' (i.e. not thoroughly smooth).
With your mixer on low, add in half of your flour mixture- mixing until just incorporated. Mix in the rest.
Wrap cookie dough with cling film (saran wrap) and refrigerate overnight (much preferred). But if in a pickle, 3 hours will do.
Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
You have two options here. Either roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment paper and do cutout cookies. Or divide cookie dough into 24 and press onto wooden cookie mold to shape. Just be sure to get them nice and thin, as they'll thicken more when baked.
Place shaped cookies on the prepared baking tray and place in the freezer for 10 minutes prior to baking.
Brush with a very lightly beaten egg white (don't get it frothy!) to get that nice shiny finish. And decorate with slivered almonds (optional). Otherwise, leave them as they are for a matte finish (similar to gingerbread cookies). And bake for 9-14 minutes (depending on size), until deep golden.
Allow to cool for ten minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely, as they'll continue to crunch up (keto cookies take a few hours for the sweetener to Harden up completely!). Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
*If subbing out arrowroot, add 20g more almond flour (roughly 2 tablespoons).
**If you prefer your cookies on the sweeter side, feel free to up the sweetener to 8-10 tablespoons. Though keep in mind that the sweetness and spices do intensify somewhat a day after. And Please see section on Sweeteners for deets and possible substitution.
The shaped dough can be frozen for up to 3 months, and they can be baked straight from the freezer (adding 2-3 minutes more to the baking time).