Dutch Speculaas filled with marzipan


I remember as a young girl the delicious smells of baking wafting through our house. My mom baking. Just so enticing. Even a stranger – probably a sales person – once came to the door and walked straight to the kitchen commenting on the delicious smell. I think we always had home-baked treats in the house, although it probably didn’t last long as we were a big family. My mom had a wide range of wonderful recipes for sweet treats she used, from Dutch speculaas – a spiced biscuit – to typical South African rusks.

I have written previous blogs on how we were exposed to an assortment of Dutch and South African foods because we grew up in South Africa with Dutch parents.

What is it?

Speculaas is a spiced shortcrust biscuit which originated in the Netherlands. To get the spiced taste you need ‘speculaaskruiden’ (speculaas spices or mix). Speculaas spices contain at least cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg, and sometimes pepper, cardamom, coriander, and anise seed. My mom just made up her own combination of spices to make it taste like speculaas, because in those days you wouldn’t have been able to find speculaas spices in a grocery shop in South Africa.

Speculaas biscuits are well-known in Europe and probably in many parts of the world. And with Christmas season around the corner, different kinds of speculaas biscuits will soon appear on the shelves of some shops over here.

One of my mom’s specialities was speculaas made with a marzipan filling or ‘Gevulde Speculaas‘. Marzipan is a mixture of finely ground almonds mixed with sugar, corn syrup and egg whites. It is used in baking and also when decorating cakes or mold certain items like flowers, figurines or other decorations to add to cakes. When you layer the speculaas mixture with marzipan it just adds another dimension of flavour. If you however do not like the taste of almonds, then I am afraid stick to the speculaas biscuit without adding any flaked almonds or marzipan.

Here is my mom’s recipe:


450 g flour

10 ml baking powder

5 ml bicarbonate of soda

10 ml mixed spice

10 ml ground ginger

pinch of salt

250 g butter (at room temperature)

200 g sugar (I use brown sugar or a mixture)

50 ml golden syrup

50 ml milk

1 egg

1 packet of marzipan (500g or whatever you want to use)



  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 F, Gas mark 4). Line a baking tin with baking parchment.
  • Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, spices, ginger and salt together.
  • Mix together the butter, syrup and sugar.
  • Mix the milk and egg.
  • Add the sifted ingredients and half of the milk-and-egg mixture to the butter-mixture and mix very well. Put into the fridge to firm it up a bit.
  • Press half of the mixture in the baking tin.
  • Grate the marzipan on top and cover with the other half of the dough.
  • Brush the rest of the milk-and-egg mixture on top and if you want you can scatter flaked almonds on top as well.
  • Bake for around 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Let it cool a little bit before you cut the dough into squares.
  • Enjoy.
Sepculaas with marzipan filling

PS: You can add as much or as little marzipan as you want. If you really like the taste then add a thick layer of it. Otherwise just grate a thin layer in between. Also, if you do have the speculaas spice mix just substitute the amount of spices with the same amount of spice mixture.

Until the next time.

my name, Ieteke, signed under the blog post withyourcoffee



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