Europe’s favorite cookie, with reason! Deeply aromatic, beautifully spiced, and nice and crisp to dunk in milk. Not much is lost (if at all) in these gluten free and keto speculoos!
Gluten Free & Keto Speculoos
i.e. Biscoff Cookies!
Speculoos (also known as speculaas in the Netherlands, where they’re originally from) are traditionally made for the Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas) holiday on the 6th 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: 1/2g net carb 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 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 duper 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 (not sponsored, just a fan of beautiful handcraft).
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, I found that super fine almond flour did a killer job (solo!). Add a touch of xanthan gum, and we’re golden.
Note also that I 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 a better texture.
This recipe works best with erythritol, 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 does that.
Also note that adding a teaspoon or two of blackstrap molasses adds a tonne of umami and improves browning.
Keep in mind that blackstrap molasses is considered a low glycemic sugar. One teaspoon (7g) adds 5g net carbs, so just 0.2g net carbs a cookie (i.e. 1/4th the sugar of a strawberry!). But carbs aside, it’s also known to be a nutritional powerhouse rich in vital vitamins and minerals; such as iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6, and selenium.
Fun fact: Molasses contain high amounts of chromium, which has been studied to increase glucose tolerance levels.
But if it’s still not your thing, just do a brown sugar sub (such as Lakanto Golden!)!
Gluten Free & Keto Speculoos (i.e. Biscoff Cookies!)
- 192 g almond flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg freshly ground
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 80 g grass-fed unsalted butter
- 1/3-2/3 cup golden erythritol *
- 1-2 teaspoons blackstrap molasses optional
- 1 egg
- 1 egg white very lightly beaten for egg wash
- slivered almonds optional
- Add almond flour, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt and spices to a medium bowl. Whisk until thoroughly combined and set aside.
- Cream butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer, 1 minute. Add in sweetener and molasses (optional), and continue to cream until light and fluffy (8-10 minutes).
- 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, 2 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.
- Note that these cookies are even better the next day, after the spices have had some time to mingle. And also (for some inexplicable reason), the sweetness also intensifies the day after.