Full of delightfully warm spices, these slice and bake windmill cookies are made the easy way, without a mold or stamp. And they’re nut-free!

Image of a stack of windmill cookies in front of a carafe of milk. Whole spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves) pictured in the foreground.

Boy, do these cookies remind me of Christmas at my parents’ house. Every Christmas, our family would bake dozens of cookies, using the same traditional recipes every year. One day of baking was always devoted to cut out cookies with LOTS of frosting and decorative add-ons. We had so much fun creating our masterpieces!

A day or two before Christmas, my dad, my sister, and I would load plates of cookies in our car and deliver these delicious (and expected!) treats to our neighbors and friends. (My mom usually stayed home. I guess after the baking frenzy she probably needed a break and was glad for a short time alone to put her feet up with a cup of tea, book in hand, and a couple of these windmill cookies to munch on.) 

We didn’t usually change our repertoire of cookies very much. Everyone we delivered to had their favorites and were disappointed if they didn’t see the cookie they were looking forward to. 

These windmill cookies were always included! Sweet and warmly spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice, they are perfect with a cup of tea or coffee. They have just the right amount of buttery crunchiness. 

Even though windmill cookies are traditionally made just before St. Nicholas Day (December 6) in the Netherlands, I enjoy them all year round! In fact, I served them at our annual Harvest Party this year. I think they’re perfect with spiced hot cider, don’t you?

Full of delightfully warm spices, these slice and bake windmill cookies are made the easy way, without a mold or stamp. And they're nut-free!

About these Windmill Cookies:

You may know these windmill cookies by a different name: Speculaas (Dutch), Speculoos (Flemish or Belgian), St. Nicholas cookies, or even the brand names Steenstra’s or Voortman’s. Windmill cookies are traditionally made with a mold or stamp that presses a fancy image of a windmill, or Dutch boy or girl, or St. Nicholas into the cookie dough. They also usually include sliced almonds. 

This recipe for windmill cookies is much easier because it’s a slice and bake recipe. Simply make the dough and form it into 2 logs the night before, refrigerate them, and when you’re ready to bake cookies, cut 1/4 inch slices off and bake! That’s it! Granted, they won’t be as fancy as traditional windmill cookies but I guarantee they are just as tasty and no one will miss the fancy designs as they’re helping themselves to seconds and thirds. 

I’ve also left out the almonds. Those of you who already are familiar with my family know that we have nut allergies here at the Gurk household. So….I leave the almonds out. I would encourage you to add them if you love almonds but really these cookies have so much flavor, the almonds aren’t missed.

Full of delightfully warm spices, these slice and bake windmill cookies are made the easy way, without a mold or stamp. And they're nut-free!

How to make this recipe your own:

  • As I mentioned above, add a 1/2 cup of sliced almonds. You could even press the almonds into the tops of the sliced cookies before they’re baked for a decorative effect.
  • Sprinkle sanding sugar on the tops of the cookies before baking, or roll the sides of the dough logs with sugar before you cut them.
  • Drizzle chocolate or icing on the tops of the cookies after they’ve been baked and cooled.
  • I love the spice blend in this recipe but if you want, experiment with other spices such as ginger, cardamon, white pepper, or mace.
  • I used 1 cup of whole wheat flour but you could also use all all-purpose white flour, or all whole wheat flour. 
  • Roll the chilled dough out and use a cookie cutter to make cut out shapes.  

Storage Tips

Windmill cookies can be frozen in an airtight container for a month or more. Or you could freeze the dough logs, wrapped well, for a month. Thaw the dough overnight in the refrigerator for best results. 

Other Christmas cookie recipes:

I’ve included a few that always made the cookie delivery list along with the windmill cookies. I’m sure you’ll love these too!

 

Windmill Cookies aka Speculoos Cookies (nut free option)

Windmill Cookies aka Speculoos Cookies (nut free option)

Yield: 4 dozen
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 12 hours
Total Time: 12 hours 30 minutes

Full of delightfully warm spices, these slice and bake windmill cookies are made the easy way, without a mold or stamp. And they're nut-free!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Optional: 1/2 cup sliced almonds

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream together shortening, butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat to combine.
  2. Add flour, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, baking soda and salt. Stir to combine. Divide dough in half.
  3. Place half of dough onto a sheet of parchment or waxed paper. Roll into a log about 2 inches in diameter. 
  4. Repeat with the other half of the dough. Wrap both rolls in the parchment paper and refrigerate overnight. Dough can also be frozen at this point for up to 1 month.
  5. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350ºF. Cut dough rolls into 1/4 inch slices and place 2 inches apart on parchment paper lined baking sheets.
  6. Bake for 10  minutes or until just golden brown.. 
  7. Cool for 2-3 minutes on baking sheet before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in airtight container.

Notes

  • To keep cookies round, put the dough logs into two glasses, on their sides, open end to open end, in the refrigerator. This will keep the dough from flattening on one side as it chills. Or if you happen to have a couple of empty paper towel tubes, they work great, too. 
  • If you want smaller cookies, make your logs longer and thinner.
  • Traditional windmill cookies have sliced almonds. I leave them out of my cookies because of nut allergies.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 24 Serving Size: 2 cookies
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 143 Total Fat: 6g Saturated Fat: 2g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 4g Cholesterol: 11mg Sodium: 104mg Carbohydrates: 21g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 12g Protein: 2g
RachelCooks.com sometimes provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietitian. Please consult a medical professional for any specific nutrition, diet, or allergy advice.
Verdict: I love the flavors of the warm spices in these cookies. I don’t even miss the almonds, and I certainly can’t say that about all the recipes I have to make nut-free. 
Husband’s take: Ben doesn’t really complain about any sort of cookies.
Changes I would make: None at all are necessary! 
Difficulty: Easy!