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Francijn of Koken in de Brouwerij was our January 2013 Daring Bakers’ Hostess and she challenged us to make the traditional Dutch pastry, Gevulde Speculaas from scratch! That includes making our own spice mix, almond paste and dough! Delicious!

Some people go on yo-yo diets while I seem to partake in yo-yo blogging.

It feels like a lot has happened in the past six weeks, but maybe not. Highlights include playing in a band, fracturing/healing a rib, acquiring a boyfriend, turning 31, and the realization that I have an obsession with donuts. D O N U T S .

In the meantime, I’ve been a bad blog mother, partially due to writer’s block, but mostly because of bad planning/time management/laziness.

It’s also been awhile since I last completed a Daring Bakers’ challenge, so the January challenge seemed like a good task for ending this slump. Let’s pretend that this wasn’t supposed to have been posted 8 days ago, shall we?

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I’m guessing a lot of you don’t know how to even pronounce Gevulde Speculaas either, but probably concluded that it was related to speculoos, right? If you’re into cookie butter (I’m not), you would love this treat (I do). It’s got all those gingerbready spices in it, yet I don’t really know how to describe it otherwise. Maybe it’s somewhere between a cookie and a bar?

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Contrary to the late posting date, I did actually plan ahead for this one and made the almond paste, speculaas spice mix, and dough on the days leading up to the actual baking. It turns out that making almond paste not only tastes better than the pre-made kind, it’s cheaper!

The most challenging part was assembling the thing. Maybe the dough wasn’t moist enough, but it kept crumbling. My solution was to press it into a tart pan, which I was planning to use anyway.

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Since I’d never had this dessert before, I really don’t know if it came out as it should have. What matters most is that it tasted good, right? I mean, it looks about how it should based on photos by others. It also made my car smell like Christmas!

If you’d like to make this Dutch treat (ha) yourself, check out the recipe in Francijn’s write-up.

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