This is a new "idea" on an old traditional German Christmas cookie. Spekulatius have a long tradition in German Christmas Bakery. Spekulatius are spiced cookies. In most recipes a mixture of cinnamon, cloves, cardamon and nutmeg is used. And the typical Spekulatius recipe would also include (sliced) almonds. The dough does not contain any baking powder or soda. So the cookies will not rise during baking. Cold butter and sugar in the dough will make the cookies crisp and they develop a very unique flavour during baking.
This recipe takes up the idea of Spekulatius, but added something new. I reduced the amount of the typical spices and use always fresh spices, which I grounded prior usage. The use of candied ginger and vanilla bean is new too. The candied ginger and the fresh vanilla bean are a fantastic combination. Vanilla brings together the flavours of the ginger with the other spices so well.
Yes, the recipe is a bit decadent, because I use vanilla bean instead of vanilla extract. And I use fresh spices. But it is worthwhile to do so, but you can sub them by extract or already grounded spices.
Let the cookies develop their flavour in airtight container for a few days. They are getting better with time. Just after baking you will taste the vanilla with a hint of ginger in the back. On the next day(s) this will change and the ginger develops its full flavour with just a hint of pepperiness. And also the other spices are getting more dominant. But the vanilla hold them together. It may come as no surprise for you: I love these cookies.