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.
Keto Speculoos Cookies Recipe
- 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.