Food & Drink

The Thomas Keller Library: Speculoos Cookies

The Thomas Keller Library—comprising The French Laundry CookbookBouchonUnder PressureAd Hoc at Home, and Bouchon Bakery—is available in all ebook formats for the very first time. To celebrate the digital publication of these cookbooks, we’re highlighting a different recipe and excerpt from each of the five books. We’ve already shared The French Laundry Cookbook‘s Oysters and Pearls, Bouchon‘s Simple Roast ChickenUnder Pressure‘s Principles of Sous Vide, and Ad Hoc at Home‘s Split Pea Soup. This week, it’s Bouchon Bakery‘s turn.


The tastes of childhood have always been a touchstone for Thomas Keller and his famed Bouchon Bakery, and in this dazzling amalgam of American and French baked goods, you’ll find recipes for the beloved TKOs and Oh Ohs (Keller’s takes on Oreos and Hostess’s Ho Hos) and all the French classics he fell in love with as a young chef apprenticing in Paris: the baguettes, the macarons, the mille-feuilles, the tartes aux fruits.

Co-author Sebastien Rouxel, executive pastry chef for the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, has spent years refining techniques through trial and error, and every page offers a new lesson: a trick that assures uniformity, a subtlety that makes for a professional finish, a flash of brilliance that heightens flavor and enhances texture. The deft twists, perfectly written recipes, and dazzling photographs make perfection inevitable.

Below, you’ll find a special seasonal recipe, excerpted from the cookbook.

Speculoos Cookies

This delicious, simple spice cookie is a specialty of the Netherlands and Belgium. Because of its high butter content, the dough needs to be well chilled before you roll it out and then, if necessary, chilled again before you cut out the cookies. We sprinkle the baked cookies with powdered sugar, but feel free to dust them with crystal or turbinado sugar before baking, for a sugary topping, or ice and decorate them if you like.


You’ll need a 4- to 5-inch decorative cookie cutter.


  • All-purpose flour, 104 grams (¾ cup)
  • Cake flour, 74 grams (½ cup + 1½ tablespoons)
  • Whole wheat flour, 74 grams (½ cup + 2 tablespoons)
  • Baking soda, 1.3 grams (¼ teaspoon)
  • Ground cinnamon, 1.3 grams (½ teaspoon)
  • Kosher salt, 1.3 grams (⅜ teaspoon)
  • Dark brown sugar, 74 grams (⅓ cup [lightly packed])
  • Granulated sugar, 59 grams (¼ cup + 2¼ teaspoons)
  • Clover honey, 8 grams (1⅛ teaspoons)
  • Unsalted butter, at room temperature, 177 grams (6.2 ounces)
  • Powdered sugar for dusting


Place the all-purpose flour in a medium bowl and sift in the cake and whole wheat flours. Break up any lumps of flour remaining in the sieve and add them to the bowl. Sift in the baking soda and cinnamon. Add the salt and whisk together.
Combine both sugars in a small bowl and whisk to break up any lumps. Using a fork, stir in the honey.

Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Turn to medium-low speed and cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar mixture and mix for about 2 minutes, until fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the dry ingredients in 2 additions, mixing on low speed for 15 to 30 seconds after each, or until just combined. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to incorporate any dry ingredients that have settled there.

Mound the dough on the work surface and, using the heel of your hand or a pastry scraper, push it together into a 4-by-6-inch block. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or, preferably, overnight.

Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F (standard). Line two sheet pans with Silpats or parchment paper.

Unwrap the dough and place it between two pieces of parchment paper or plastic wrap. With a rolling pin, pound the top of the dough, working from left to right, to begin to flatten it, then turn the dough 90 degrees and repeat. (This will help prevent the dough from cracking as it is rolled.) Roll out to just under ¼ inch thick. If the dough has softened, slide it (in the parchment) onto the back of a sheet pan and refrigerate until firm enough to cut into cookies.

Using the decorative cutter, cut out the cookies and arrange them on the prepared sheet pans, leaving about ¾ inch between them. If necessary, push the trimmings together, refrigerate until firm, and reroll for a total of 8 cookies. If the dough softens, return it to the refrigerator until the cookies are firm enough to transfer to the sheet pans.

Bake the cookies until golden brown, 13 to 15 minutes, reversing the positions of the pans halfway through baking. Set the pans on a cooling rack and cool for 5 to 10 minutes, then transfer the cookies to the rack to cool completely.
The cookies can be stored in a covered container for up to 3 days.

Just before serving, sift powdered sugar over the cookies.


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