How to Make Authentic Speculoos Cookies

How to Make Authentic Speculoos Cookies

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Seasonal Traditions Help Mark Time
My family has several recipes that help us celebrate the passage of seasons and holidays.  We feel bound by tradition to make theses dishes each year.  For instance, we prepare Speculoos cookies for Thanksgiving and St. Nicholas Day.  Below are other seasonal traditions in our home:

In the winter, we prepare French Onion Soup and Belgian Beef Carbonnade.  In Belgium and France, French Onion Soup often helps celebrate the New Year.  It’s perfect in the middle of winter after a night of celebration.  The soup is served in the wee hours…

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Heart-healthy Cinnamon-baked Pears

Heart-healthy Cinnamon-baked Pears

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Is there such a thing as a heart-healthy dessert?
Surprisingly there is. Sweets and treats need not always focus on large contents of sugar. If you choose the ingredients carefully, you can prepare healthy desserts for your entire family.

Ingredients with high fat content, such as heavy dollops of cream and butter, contain saturated fats, which can increase cholesterol levels in the body. High cholesterol can lead to heart diseases, kidney problems, and many other diseases caused generally by having a bad diet.

 
Popular media influence on our diet
While popul…

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Vegan Banana Oat Muffins

Vegan Banana Oat Muffins

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How to Turn Banana Muffins Vegan?
I have made banana muffins many times and many ways.  Often, the recipes included some kind of dairy products, such as butter, milk, buttermilk, yogurt or sour cream.

Several months ago I shared my recipe for Banana Muffin Bliss which included a single egg.  In my post I suggested how to make the muffins vegan by replacing the egg.

Yesterday I was in the mood for banana muffins and decided to make a vegan version.  Of course, it was easy and quick.  In less than an hour I had a dozen yummy Vegan Banana Oat Muffins.

Although the reci…

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Banana Muffin Bliss

Banana Muffin Bliss

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Why will each Banana Muffin bring you bliss?
We all have had bananas become overly ripe on our watch.  No one can blame us for letting their peel become covered in brown or even spots.  Having overly ripe bananas is, however, a test of character or resourcefulness.  It’s what we do with these golden brown gems that truly count.

In my household, we usually make banana bread, often with chocolate chips, because that is what my kids want.   We have several banana bread recipes that we follow.  There’s one with sour cream which has always been a family favorite and then ano…

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Pumpkin Bread Tried, Tested and Tasty!

Pumpkin Bread Tried, Tested and Tasty!

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What recipe makes my Pumpkin Bread a Fall Favorite?
 
My Faithful Pumpkin Bread Recipe
By now you know that I love pumpkin.  Making food with pumpkin is how I connect best with the season of autumn.   Every year tradition calls me to make pumpkin bread at least once.  My kids love it and are always asking me to make it.

I’ve been using the same faithful recipe for almost 30 years. Of course, I’ve tried other recipes, such as one calling for cream cheese to give the pumpkin bread more of a cheesecake finish. Another recipe suggested chopping up and dropping in som…

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Belgian Beef Carbonnade (Belgian Beef Stew)

Belgian Beef Carbonnade (Belgian Beef Stew)

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Belgian Beef Carbonnade Made Easy
Belgian Beef Carbonnade is known by many names:  Flemish Carbonnade, Belgian Beef Stew, Beef and Beer Stew, are among the most common.
How to Make Beef Carbonnade
Although recipes for Belgian Beef Carbonnade generally include beef and beer, there are many variations.  Some families spread mustard on bread and add it to the pot for thickness and to reduce the sweetness of this dish.
Many use dark abbey beer to give a deeper flavor.  Depending on the beer used it may also add sweetness.  I prefer a blond Abbey (light ale) beer instead since i…

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Pumpkin Latke Waffles

Pumpkin Latke Waffles

Why make Pumpkin Latke Waffles?
This Hanukkah season I wanted to create a new kind of latke (potato pancake) with some leftover boiled potatoes and a wedge of fresh pumpkin.  As many of you know, I love using pumpkin, especially in savory dishes.  For more pumpkin recipes follow this link or this other link.

Autumn is also my favorite season of the year.  I adore the various hues of yellow, red, orange and brown everywhere as well as the abundance of harvested vegetables and fruit.  All kinds of squash, nuts, apples, and pears are among my top choices during autumn.  

Adding pumpkin to …

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Speculoos Pie Crust

Speculoos Pie Crust

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What are Speculoos Cookies?
Origin of the Name
If you are wondering what the heck are Speculoos, they are a traditional Belgian and Dutch spice cookie eaten all year round yet primarily made for Saint Nicholas day (6 December in Belgium and 5 December in the Netherlands) and the winter holidays.

In some Anglo-Saxon countries, these traditional cookies are known as Biscoff.   Meanwhile, in the Netherlands, they refer to these cookies as Speculaas.   In Germany, where these cookies also have deep roots, they are known as Spekulatius.  Many countries in Europe and the Ame…

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Succulent Sweet Potato Casserole

Succulent Sweet Potato Casserole

Why is this Sweet Potato Casserole Chunky and Juicy?
Most sweet potato casseroles at Thanksgiving are overly sweet with marshmallows and candied pecans and blended into smooth puree.  My Succulent Sweet Potato Casserole leaves the sweet potato, carrots and fruit in chunks, allowing each ingredient’s true flavor to shine.  Very little sugar is added to this casserole, making it more healthy for you to eat.  A naturally light version of this traditional dish should be welcome at your Thanksgiving dinner table to help your guests enjoy their food without feeling guilty or overly stuffed.

The …

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Speculoos Pumpkin Pie To Die For

Speculoos Pumpkin Pie To Die For

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What Makes This Speculoos Pumpkin Pie Worth Waiting an Entire Year?
For more than 30 years I’ve been making pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving.  I have always considered pumpkin pie to be one of my specialties.    Truth be told, I’ve basically followed the same recipe for the filling all these years, initially inspired by the Joy of Cooking (6th edition).

However, from time to time I’ve tried different crusts.  This year I tried a new Speculoos Pie Crust and found it to be easy and delicious.  Follow the link above to discover the recipe for this amaz…

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Autumn Oatmeal Porridge

Autumn Oatmeal Porridge

How do you make Autumn Oatmeal Porridge?
Most mornings I make hot oatmeal porridge for breakfast.  I love how everyday you can make your oatmeal porridge differently through the fruit, nuts and spices that you add to it.  For some suggestions on how to make a tasty and healthy bowl of hot grains for breakfast read this post from last April.

A bowl of hot grains is an ideal way to start your day.  You’ll get a good dosage of fiber and anti-oxidants which will help reduce your cholesterol levels, enhance your immune response to infection, and stabilize blood sugar levels helping to lower you…

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Braised Belgian Endives

Braised Belgian Endives

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Why learning how to braise Belgian Endives is so important?

Everyone in Belgium needs to learn how to braise Belgian endives, commonly known as chicons or witlof in Belgium, at some point in their life.  It should almost be a requirement for citizenship. Many people are a bit intimidated by Belgian endives because they are easy to overcook or often fall apart while cooking.  Yet, braising Belgian endives is actually fairly simple.

How to braise Belgian endives

All it takes to braise Belgian endives is a pan, some olive oil or butter, garlic, a to…

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Belgian Endive Pie

Belgian Endive Pie

How can I use Belgian endive in a new way?
Belgian endive, known as chicory in the United Kingdom, chicons in the French-speaking part of Belgium and witlof  in the Dutch-speaking part of Beligum, is generally prepared only a couple different ways.  OK, this is a bit of an exaggeration, but not much.

The most common ways Belgian endives are prepared are raw mixed in a salad, braised in olive oil with a little garlic as a side dish, or chicons gratin  (braised Belgian endives wrapped in ham and covered with a Mornay sauce).  Belgian endives mix great with pork (any kind of bacon or ham), Ro…

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