It's almost December. In my household, this means the holiday baking commences and I've started to look for a few new favorites to add to the usual round-up of gingerbread men, jam thumbprints, and chocolate crinkles.
This year, the new cookies on the block are the speculaas. They're a rather flat, lightly spiced cookie (think cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and cardamom) with a traditional imprint marking one side. Usually a springerle mold is used and the soft, buttery dough is pressed into the mold and lightly lifted out to leave behind the often intricate detail. History has it that men would actually carve their own wooden molds using an image of their profession and then give the cookies to the father of the girl he was interested in marrying. There's nothing like a cookie with a nice historical tradition, and even better: a cookie that's easy to whip up that will make the house smell heavenly. I'm sold already.