The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

My *attempt* at Levine's Divine Speculaas Rolls

dawkins's picture

My *attempt* at Levine's Divine Speculaas Rolls

After seeing these amazing looking rolls posted by Freerk ...

...I couldn't help but try making them. Unfortunately, I didn't do justice to the recipe - mine are more style than substance, thanks to some foolish tweaks.

First off, I love the shaping technique - absolutely beautiful. Mine are a bit more clover leaf/hearts looking, and irregular, but I still like it. Now - onto my less successful modifications! As I can't buy aniseed around here, I thought I'd swap the speculaas spices (which sound gorgeous) for some mixed spice, your traditional British Christmas spice mix. The spice taste was pretty mild in the finished rolls though, so I think for mixed spice you definitely need to add much more - Freerk did suggest upping the spice, but with a clove-phobe of a boyfriend, I was a bit wary (more fool me).

My next tweaks were solely based on using what I had/being too cold and lazy to go the shops. :o) I added a couple of drops of lemon oil instead of lemon zest, which came through nicely in the marzipan. Unfortunately, while the dough was rising I used up my last egg in some biscotti, so I only had about half a teaspoon left to mix in with the marzipan. I'm guessing this is why it sort of boiled out a bit rather than setting up more.

Finally, for some reason (probably my somewhat erratic oven) the rolls weren't browning after 15 minutes like the original ones in the photo, so I left them in for another 5-8 minutes. The result: nice and brown but sadly a little bit dry, of course - foolish me! I'm wondering if I can brush them with melted butter or something maybe to moisten them a little...

Anyhow, don't get me wrong: I'd say my efforts tasted about 6 or 7 out of 10, whereas those originals looked like a definite 10 out of 10 to me! What I'm loving about this site is all the inspiration and the chances to practice, experiment and learn from my mistakes, so set backs like this are just getting me thinking... I'm imagining a walnut and honey paste filling, or a pesto style filling, or some kind of hard cheese and spinach, or tapenade....


SylviaH's picture

 Oh, these are so inspirational.  I also loved the video and recipe.  

Your Speculaas look delicious!  Brushing them with butter would work great and if you like sweet...these remind me very much of the Gibassier, I posted a while back..just brush with butter and dip in sugar to coat.

I love the idea of the delicious almond paste filling and the shape of these pastries.  The wonderful shape is so adaptable to many types of doughs and fillings and like you they just set my imagination going.  I'm looking forward to baking some for the holidays...they are devine : )


dawkins's picture

I saw your post on those and was totally mesmerised! I'm going to have to get some more orange flower water so I can make some. They sound delcicious - like Summer fragrance in a sweet bite. Thanks for the kind words - I'm pretty much a beginner in many respects, so there may have been an element of beginner's luck in how they turned out, but what I'm loving is trying new recipes and learning - and all the helpful feedback on this site is really great.

breadsong's picture

I love the heart/four-leaf-clover shape of these rolls, so nice for this time of year, or Valentine's or St.Patrick's Day :^)
When I look at them, I also see flowers.
Your rolls are very pretty and I'd certainly rate them 10 out of 10!
:^) from breadsong

dawkins's picture

Thanks so much, Birdsong. I really love the look, which was great to do as it was demonstrated so well in Freerk's video, but mine are definitely underspiced so not so tasty as the originals sounded. Thinking about it, I just sent a box of goodies to my Dutch relatives, so I think I might drop a polite hint about getting some speculaas spices in return, cheeky like. ;o)

AnnaInMD's picture

put some red icing on and call them poinsettias :)



dawkins's picture

I really do like the method for making those shapes: simple but so effective. That's a great idea too - how Christmas-y can you get? :o)

freerk's picture

Well done! They look beautiful!

dawkins's picture

...without your great blog post and video, so thanks so much! It's a great technique for shaping which I'll definitely use again.