Friday, July 9, 2010

Waka Waka

The World Cup finals are on Sunday--Spain vs. Netherlands.  We've all gotten caught up in the excitement, even my grandson, Ari has been practicing his penalty kicks!  Waka Waka!

I decided to bake cookies, representing these countries, in their honor.  It didn't take me long to choose the cookie from the Netherlands because I have baked these several times, especially at Christmas.  Speculaas is a spice cookie that good children get in a bowl or shoe on December 6th~St. Nicholas Day.  I have two speculatius molds that were given to me by a friend I worked with in Connecticut.  Rie was from the Netherlands and because I loved to bake, she wanted me to know how to make these cookies, properly.

Coming up with a cookie from Spain was a little more difficult, but hopefully my choice of Polvorones represents the sweetness of the country and people.  Surprisingly, both recipes share ground almonds as an ingredient. So, choose your cookie and enjoy the game; we will!


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup finely ground almonds*
1 T plus 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. baking soda

Vegetable oil and cornstarch (or flour) for molds

In the KitchenAid, using the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.  Add lemon zest and spices and beat until combined.  Mix flour and ground almonds together.  Add half of the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated.  Stir in the remaining flour/almond mixture  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 3 hours or up to 2 days, if needed. 
*Grind blanched almonds in the food processor, being careful not to turn it into butter.

Preheat oven 350F-degrees.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.  Prepare wooden molds by lightly brushing with vegetable oil then, lightly sprinkle with cornstarch or flour.  Tap out the excess.  Pull off a piece of dough, large enough to fill the mold, and press the dough into the shape. Fill in completely all the areas and press down to remove any air spaces.  To remove the cookie, hold it upside down and tap it repeatedly and sharply against a hard surface until the cookie loosens.  Space the cookies about 2 inches apart.
Bake 10-15 minutes, or until they are brown around the edges.  You may have to turn the cookie pan, half way through baking to get even browning.  Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks or freeze for longer.


2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup ground almonds
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Additional Confectioners' Sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350F-degrees.  On a baking sheet, measure out the flour and ground almonds and fold together.  Bake in the oven 6-8 minutes, stirring mixture half way through for even toasting.  Let cool.
Meanwhile, in the KitchenAid, using the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add the cinnamon and mix to combine.  Use a spatula or wooden spoon to stir flour/almond mixture into the butter/sugar.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 325F-degrees.  I place the dough on a Silpat-lined baking sheet and used a piece of wax paper on top to roll the dough to 1/2-inch thick.
Use a 3-inch cutter to cut shapes, then, remove the excess dough.  I used a flat, metal spatula to arrange cookies on the sheet.  This recipe made 12 - 3-inch cookies.  Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden.
Dust tops with additional confectioners' sugar.  Enjoy!

  Ari's contemplating playing in the World Cup in 2026!  Waka, Waka!!



  1. Yay Ari! Start practicing now sweet boy, we will see you in 2026! : )
    It is so sweet to see Ari Susan, thank you!
    I appreciate seeing the recipes from the Netherlands, I have many blog friends from there! They are incredibly creative people! My family celebrates St. Nicholas day, it is one of my favorite holidays I am happy to know this special cookie and am sure the kids will be thankful too! : ) Love you xoxo

  2. By the way... I did not realize Kelly held blue hydrangeas at her wedding! I saw Kandyce's beautiful photos! Your card holds even more significance : ) xoxo

  3. Nicole~It was one of her favorite flowers and I wanted to share that with you. xoxo

  4. Readers with an attention to detail will notice the authentic Jabalani (World Cup Ball) in the photo. Ari doesn't messs around .. . neither does Mimimes. Our homemade Pop Tarts were great this morning! The recipes look great Susan.

  5. The World Cup Ball? This is serious business Matt!
    Ari clearly is not messing around here lol ; )
    Too cute!

  6. That's Right!! Ari and I make sure we have the right equipment before we do the task! Hence, the hundreds of gadgets Mimimes has in her kitchen. LOL!

  7. you're tellin' me! They're in my kitchen, too :)

  8. Matt~How else are you going to impress dinner guests if you can't play..."What Is It!":)