Sweetly spiced, crispy keto speculoos cookies are a must-bake low carb treat. Made famous by the Biscoff brand, these Dutch spice cookies get a sugar-free, gluten-free makeover.
You may never have heard of speculoos, but chances are good you’ve heard of Biscoff brand. Well, consider these crispy spice cookies the keto version of Biscoff. But so much better.
How do I describe these delicious keto cookies? They are like thin shortbread with plenty of cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves. And they are not to be missed!
They look rather unassuming, as cookies go. But one bite of these buttery crisp shortbread, and you understand instantly why they’re so popular in Europe.
All that warm spice exploding in your mouth transports you straight to the famed Christmas markets.
(This post was originally published in June, 2012.)
What are speculoos cookies?
Speculoos are spiced shortcrust cookies traditionally baked around St. Nicholas’ Day (December 6th) in Belgium and the Netherlands. Speculoos is the Belgian term and Speculaas is the Dutch term for these cookies.
They are usually quite thin and crispy, and perfectly seasoned with a combination of spices. And they often come stamped or in pretty shapes like the traditional Dutch Windmill Cookies.
Lotus Bakeries created the brand name Biscoff for the American market. And they gained huge popularity through their partnership with Delta Airlines.
These keto speculoos are just as tasty, with all the same delicious spiciness. And they’re easy to make too. They may just become your new favorite keto Christmas cookies!
Ingredients for keto speculoos
Similar to shortbread, these cookies are totally egg-free. You will need:
- Sweetener (must be erythritol based!)
- Spices including cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and nutmeg or mace
- Almond flour (see FAQ for nut-free suggestions)
- Baking soda
Using the right sweetener
The outcome of your keto speculoos depends heavily on the sweetener you use. I featured these cookies in a recent YouTube video, showing the difference sweeteners make.
People often assume that all keto sweeteners work the same way, and make substitutions based on what they prefer. And when their cookies come out soft and not crisp, they think the recipe is to blame.
The ONLY sweeteners that will produce a crisp cookie are erythritol based, like Swerve or Lakanto. Any amount of allulose and/or BochaSweet, and your cookies will be soft and cake-y.
Traditional speculoos cookies take brown sugar, but I found that Swerve Brown made them a little less crisp than Swerve Granular. And allulose made them totally soft and floppy!
Watch my video to see how the different sweeteners change the keto speculaas cookies.
The Ultimate Guide to Keto Sweeteners breaks down the properties of various sweeteners in great detail. I recommend reading it!
More tips for making keto speculoos cookies
- Use properly softened butter. Make sure it’s soft but not melted and beat the sweetener in until it’s nicely creamed. Then beat in the vanilla and the spices.
- Use finely ground almond flour. Speculoos cookies should be thin and crisp, and the dough needs to be quite cohesive to roll out properly. Coarsely-ground nut meal makes cookies more gritty and crumbly.
- Baking soda vs. baking powder. These cookies aren’t meant to rise so don’t add any baking powder. But a bit of baking soda helps them brown nicely in the oven without making them rise.
- Cut them as desired. There are so many possible ways to cut speculoos cookies, from circles and hearts to stars and rectangles. I cut some of mine free-hand with a fluted pastry wheel, but this rectangular cookie cutter would work well too.
- Let them cool completely. As always with keto cookies, they won’t be truly crisp until they are completely cool.
Frequently Asked Questions
Coconut flour is not a good substitute for these cookies. But you can try using sunflower seed flour. You will need to add a tablespoon of acid, like lemon juice or vinegar, to offset the green reaction that occurs between sunflower seeds and baking soda.
I haven’t tried but I imagine that softened coconut oil or palm shortening would work well. If you can tolerate ghee, that’s another great option.
Please refer to the section “Using the right sweetener” to understand how sweetener substitutions will affect your keto speculoos cookies.
It is important to understand that most “monk fruit sweeteners” are really erythritol with a little monk fruit to make them sweeter. True monk fruit is a highly concentrated extract that is hundreds of times sweeter than sugar. It’s a bit of a marketing gimmick, to be honest.
Read the ingredient list on your sweetener package. If the only ingredients are erythritol and monk fruit, then yes, you can use this. If it has even a little allulose in it, your cookies won’t crisp up properly.
- Silicone liners are the best way to protect the bottom of you cookies from getting too dark
- This small Ateco offset spatula is my favorite kitchen tool! Perfect for spreading frosting and wiggling under cut-out cookies.
- Don’t skip the cardamom! It helps give speculoos cookies their classic flavor.
Keto Speculoos Cookies Recipe
- ½ cup butter softened
- ⅔ cup Swerve Sweetener
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 ½ cups almond flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 325F and line two baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter and sweetener together until creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and the spices.
- Add the almond flour, baking soda, and salt and beat until the dough comes together. Divide the dough into to even discs.
- Dust a work surface lightly with almond flour. Place one disc on the work surface and cover with parchment paper. Roll out to ⅛ to ¼ inch thick as evenly as possible.
- Cut the cookies into desired shapes with cookie cutters or a pastry wheel. Wiggle an offset spatula carefully under the cookies to loosen them from the work surface. Place on the prepared baking sheets. Gather the scraps and re-roll to get as many cookies as possible. Repeat with the second disc of dough.
- Bake 10 to 15 minutes, or until they are golden brown (how long depends on how thinly you rolled the dough). Remove from the oven and let cool completely on the pans. They will still be soft to the touch but will crisp up as they cool.
- If they don't crisp up completely, place back in a warm (200°F) oven for another 10 to 15 minutes.
Linda Howell says
Your recipes never disappoint! This one is no exception. Last month my hubby and our 2 daughters spent 8 days in Ireland. Every hotel had this kind of cookie on the coffee/tea tray in the room – only those were not Keto.
I just made this recipe and they are delicious. Just like the real thing!
Your baking tools hint about the use of the off set spatula worked perfectly in preparing these! Thanks again
Can I use these cookies as a base to lime cheesecake deserts?
This recipe looks wonderful. I am not keto, but I’d like to make speculoos with almond flour instead of regular all purpose flour. What amount of granulated white sugar and brown sugar would I use instead of swerve? You mentioned that you tested other sweeteners, so maybe you tried with regular and brown sugar also. Thank you.
I am sorry, I don’t use sugar so I can’t really guide you except to say that my sweeteners measure like sugar.
My colitis greatly interferes with my love of baked goods, and I’m always on the hunt for tummy friendly versions of my favorite treats! This is one of the best recipes I’ve ever come across and I’ve made it half a dozen times already! Thank you!
I cut mine into circles and then make Ice cream sandwiches with sugar/dairy free ice cream!
These are amazing!!! Love the taste and texture. My mom tried this recipe first and she couldn’t stop talking about it. I had to try it and so glad I did! Thanks for the great recipes!
I’ve sifted through comments and can’t find any freezing instructions/experiences. I have made these already -twice this year for Xmas (and loved them!) but was thinking of rolling & cutting them into shapes & freezing by placing a few between baking paper sheets to prevent sticking so I can remove just a few at a time for baking. Would that work?
Sounds like you will need to experiment. I have not tried it wth this dough.
I followed this recipe to the letter and the dough isn’t coming together Willy. I added 1/8th cup of softened butter in hopes it might help it come together but it didn’t help. I’ll try baking them and see what happens.
Th turned out great 👍🏽
Another amazing dessert from ADIDAF. I am obsessed with the texture! Since going low carb, I miss crunchy and crispy! Thank you for your amazing recipes. Great taste, too. I used to be a biscoff addict before learning I was prediabetic.
My tastebuds are still adjusting to monkfruit/erythritol (I am one of those people who hate the aftertaste of stevia for example, same with cilantro…) so I may add more of the spices next time until I eventually get over the bit of coolness which is normal with these sweeteners.
Do you think I could use less sweetener without impacting the cookie’s texture?
I can’t wait to try your thin mints next!
All the best to you.
Yes you should be able to reduce it a little.
Could you use a springerle rolling pin on these cookies?
I tried once and it sticks too much!
Can these be made with coconut oil instead of butter?
Probably but they may bake different and not crisp up as well.
Ellen Harris says
could you make a thin glaze to adhere flaked almonds then bake again to keep crisp?
Sure. Or just press the almonds into the top prior to baking, no glaze necessary.
Ooooo! I can’t wait to make these. I saw some full of sugar cookies with cardamon and was hoping to find a keto version.
Geri Wheelock says
Would these cookies hold a stamped pattern well?
Kathi S. says
I think there may be a discrepancy between the volume and weight (US vs metric) amounts of almond flour listed. In Metric Equivalency Chart in your Ultimate Guide to Keto Baking, 1 cup of almond flour is listed as weighing 100 grams. In this recipe, the US volume measure is shown as 2 1/2 cups, but the Metric amount is listed as 280 grams. Should it be 250 grams?
The only discrepancy is that most companies list 1 cup of almond flour at 110g. However, when I measure it myself, I find it to be closer to 100 or 105g. For the book, I weighed it myself many times over.
Kathi S. says
I used the 280 grams and they came out beautifully. They’re delicious! I so appreciate the work you do in developing and sharing your recipes.
I have made these a couple times and loved them.Carolyn, I am wondering if you have ever frozen them and how they do?