Dandoy, in Brussels.
Alternatively, the name of these thin, crunchy cookies could have been derived from specerij, the Dutch word for "spices". The cookies are flavored with holiday spices—cardamom, cinnamon, clove, ginger and nutmeg—plus white pepper. Less spicy and sweeter than gingerbread, speculoos cookies make a perfect accompaniment to a hot cup of coffee or cocoa.
By the way, did you know that St. Nicholas is also the patron saint of bakers?
The Baker's Dozen: A Saint Nicholas Tale, by Aaron Shepard, gorgeously illustrated by Wendy Edelson (Make your own St. Nicholas cookies! Aaron has included the recipe here, on his website).
Christmas Cookies: Bite-Size Holiday Lessons, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, with cute illustrations by Jane Dyer.
Similar to Rosenthal and Dyer’s previous book, Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons (2006), this adorable picture book offers a variety of terms defined in child-friendly ways, while relating to the theme of Christmas cookies: FRUSTRATED means, "I can’t believe we burned them again" / PERSEVERANCE means, "We tried and tried and tried, and finally we made the perfect non-burned batch,”/ and HOPE means, "I’m filled with good feelings about what will be.”
A variety of cutely dressed children and animals are depicted throughout the book with a little carryover of characters from one picture to the next. A sugar-cookie recipe is included in this "sweet" and wholesome Christmas story. Ages 3-6.
Happy St. Nicholas Day tomorrow, and Happy Reading!