It’s that time again. It comes around every three months or so, for about three weeks at a time. It drags you down from anything productive, makes you sit around and watch tv all day long, and whispers in your ear that a once-a-week workout is more than enough. It’s the mid-quarter drag. I don’t know about other people, but I always get it. And it’s worst in Winter Quarter, which, lo and behold, is this quarter.

So yeah. I’ve been sitting around, watching seasons of Grey’s Anatomy, and putting off going to the gym as much as I can. I’ve stopped reading my textbooks, started watching lectures online instead of going in person, and ceased to be the goodie ambitious on-top-of-everything student. On the bright side of everything, though, doing everything to put off schoolwork means that I’ve been baking. Enough to make me realize that I cannot continue to bake and eat without doing some form of physical activity that doesn’t end at stooping to put trays in the oven.

Last weekend I had the lovely privilege of having the home all to myself for the weekend. My parents had left me to house-sit while they went off on a cruise to the Bahamas. In retrospect I definitely got the short end of the stick, but it felt great at the time! I turned the music up loud, danced around crazy, and baked my little heart out.

Speaking of which, it was also the weekend leading up to Valentine’s Day, as well as the Lunar New Year. But apparently I chose to ignore all these major holidays and bake things totally unrelated to either.

Honestly, though? No regrets. As much as I love the chocolates and cookies and sweets that go along with these holidays, these speculaas almond pastries were totally worth the off-holiday baking. Slightly crisp on the outside, spiced and not-too-sweet, with a roasted almond paste reminiscent of almond butter, I’m glad I only had the one weekend at home to myself, or else they’d stay in my baking rotation forever. Not that they couldn’t otherwise, but I just don’t have all the spices I’d need at school, too.

This was also my first attempt at a Daring Baker recipe. I’d been meaning to do one for almost a year, but things just somehow kept getting in the way. As soon as I saw the speculaas challenge, though, I knew I’d be making it. Speculoos is one of my new loves because it reminds me of my study abroad friends every single time.

Gevulde Speculaas


^there are a lot of steps, so I think it’s better if you just look at the original site.

It wasn’t a totally holiday-neutral weekend! I ate black sesame rice balls, and made little heart-shaped cookies with the leftover dough! That counts, right?


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