I’m not saying that this is better than Trader Joe’s, but it could be its more sophisticated cousin.
I have this impression that everybody likes loves cookie butter. My sister often comes to my house – “… just for a spoonful, Lor,” and I meet people who have very vocal opinions about why Trader Joe’s (TJ) is better than Biscoff or vice versa. (I love both equally, crunchy or smooth).
But it’s not until last week that I’m made to see just how polarizing a flavor cookie butter is. People who adore it will fight to the death for the last bottle, while others who don’t like it, really can’t see what all the fuss is about. I love cookie butter to pieces but my Bin can live without it. He watches unimpressed as I spoon cookie butter into my oatmeal, onto my pancakes, or hoover it up straight into my mouth in large spoonfuls.
Stimulated by my cookie butter addiction, I’m challenged to make my own. Speculoos (also speculaas/speculatius) are spice cookies reminiscent of and not as spicy as gingersnaps, and they’re super easy to make. So I make my own Speculoos and use it here. I’ve been making cookie butters for the past few days and I discover that cookie butter can be made with any kind of cookie – everything from Oreos to chocolate chip. But I’m trying to keep it real here, so Speculoos it is.
My cookie butter is only inspired by and is not a clone of TJ’s and Biscoff. It’s darker in color and is nowhere near as smooth as the commercial versions since manufacturers have access to ball mills. I dare say however that my cookie butter is a sophisticated cousin to its bottled counterpart, richer and spicier. Plus, it’s purer since it’s not loaded with additives and preservatives.
- While developing these recipes, I actually meet people who don’t like spice (!!!) I meet a girl who won’t eat cinnamon (and that includes cinnamon rolls), and even my Bin will hightail it out of my kitchen once he catches a whiff of cloves or ginger. I do my very best to be open-minded about everybody’s food preferences (er, quirks) but I won’t apologize for the spice quantities in the following recipes. It’s Speculoos, it has to be spicy.
- When it comes to things I’m passionate about, I’m either spontaneous or scientific – sometimes both – but when it comes to developing recipes, I’m very scientific because baking is all about precision. Thus, you’ll notice weight measurements below. I bake by weight but I understand that not everyone does so I give approximate equivalents below.
- If you decide not to make the Speculoos cookies, either my recipe or someone else’s, some good cookies to try would be: graham crackers, Teddy Grahams, Biscoff cookies or TJ’s Speculoos cookies naturally, and any other spicy cookie you may come across. Marks & Spencer has an especially riveting biscuit selection. If you do decide to use purchased cookies, use this equivalent as a guide for how many cookies to use in my cookie butter recipe and do the math accordingly to come up with 250 grams of cookies:
1 Biscoff cookie = 8 gramsYou’ll notice that I only call for half of my Speculoos cookie to be used here. Save the other half for snacking on or make a double batch of cookie butter. You can also freeze the remaining cookie half for future cookie butter cravings.
- You’ll wonder what white chocolate is doing in a cookie butter recipe. Ah, that’s where the sophistication comes in. Not thoroughly happy with the cookie butter I have, I feel that it needs something extra, and after considering and rejecting several suggestions, I decide that the white chocolate I’ve been nibbling on is what this needs. Maverick ingredient it is here, but its contribution can’t be denied.
Once I have my cookie butter recipe the way I want it, it lends itself to a mad myriad of possibilities, each one of them addicting and hazardous. Oh cookie butter, how you attract the eye and enlarge waistlines!
Pancakes with homemade cookie butter. As you can see, my cookie butter has a thick, paste-like consistency. Speculoos Milkshake. My daughter, Boo, and I make this together with her favorite Cookies & Cream (Extra Thick) ice cream. She chooses the straw herself and breathes down my neck while I scramble to take a decent shot. Clearly, this milkshake is hers. I’ve never taken pictures so quickly in my life!
So have a go at my homemade cookie butter and have fun with it! Let me know how you do, and I’d be glad to answer any questions.
Yield: Makes one large 9-inch cookie or approximately a dozen cookies measuring 3-inches in diameter.
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg (freshly grated, preferred)
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
6 tablespoons / 3 ozs / 84 grams unsalted butter, softened
½ cup brown sugar (either light or dark brown will do)
2 ½ tablespoons + ½ teaspoon whole milk
Get a baking sheet and set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Sift onto a sheet of waxed or parchment paper and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes or until fluffy and butter has lightened in color. Scrape down the bowl. Adjust mixer to low and add in half of the flour-spices mixture. Mix only until incorporated. Add milk and mix only until combined. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix only until no white streaks are visible.
Transfer cookie dough onto a large sheet of parchment paper and flatten to form an even disk. Wrap cookie disk in the parchment paper and chill in the refrigerator to allow flavors to mature. Alternatively, if you prefer to make small cookies instead of one large one, simply cover mixing bowl with plastic wrap and chill, no need to form dough into a disk.
Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 350°F.
When oven has reached desired temperature, take cookie disk out of the refrigerator and place it and the parchment paper it’s wrapped in onto the baking sheet. If making small cookies, use an ice cream scooper (I recommend the #20 scoop) and space each cookie about 2-3 inches apart on baking sheet, then flattening them slightly. This cookie will not spread much. Bake the cookie disk on the parchment paper for 20-25 minutes (12-14 minutes for smaller cookies) or until cookie is firm and its edges are a dark brown. Remove from oven and let cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes. Remove cookie from pan and parchment paper and allow to cool on a wire rack. Cookie will crisp up as it cools.
Yes, there really is such a thing as a “Pinch” measuring spoon. Best for measuring pungent spices like cloves, which has a fragrance that reminds me of love.
Yield: Approximately 10-12 ozs / 280 – 336 grams of cookie butter
4 ½ tablespoons/ 2.25 ozs / 74 grams unsalted butter, cold or softened
250 grams speculoos cookies, either homemade or store-bought (If you used my Speculoos recipe, use roughly half of the large cookie disk).
1½ tablespoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg (freshly grated, preferred)
A pinch each (see my “pinch” teaspoon in photo) of ground cloves and ground ginger. A “pinch” is equivalent to 1/8 teaspoon.
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon brown sugar (either light or dark brown will do)
4 tablespoons palm oil (or an equally flavorless oil like vegetable or canola)
4 tablespoons / 2 ounces / 56 grams white chocolate, melted (You must use real white chocolate – look at the ingredients list, cocoa butter should be there. Do NOT use white confectionery coating or anything that has “coating” or “compound” written on the package).
In a small saucepan set over high heat, melt the butter until it’s golden brown and smells intoxicating. The bottom of your pan may have some golden brown “burn” spots, that’s okay. The butter’s milk solids will also have settled to the bottom of the pan, leaving an almost watery, golden liquid on top. Remove pan from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
Toss the speculoos into a food processor and process on high power until cookies are finely crushed. Turn processor off and scrape cookies down with a fork if necessary. Add the spices, vanilla extract, and brown sugar and process just to combine. With the processor on high power, pour the butter in through the feed tube, and please include the separated white solids. Mixture will turn from a paste into a stubborn paste that almost refuses to be incorporated. Turn processor off and scrape bowl down with a fork or rubber spatula if necessary. Add the palm oil a tablespoon at a time through the feed tube with the processor on high power. This procedure is similar to making pesto or hollandaise sauce. As more liquid is added, the mixture begins to resemble a runny paste similar to old-fashioned peanut butter where the oil floats on top. You may or may not use all the palm oil specified, depending on how runny you want your cookie butter to be. If, after all 4 tablespoons of palm oil are used, and you decide that you’d like your cookie butter to be more liquidy, use more palm oil or brown more butter and process it into the cookie butter a tablespoon at a time through the feed tube.
When you’ve got your cookie butter to your desired consistency, lift off the cover of the food processor and pour in the melted white chocolate. Process on high power once again just to combine.
Transfer cookie butter to a sterilized glass jar with a screw-top, rust-proof lid. Cookie butter will firm up as it cools and some oils may surface. Stir before enjoying and store at room temperature away from direct heat for up to 5 days. Cookie butter may be refrigerated but it will harden and a white layer of fat solids will rise to the top. Not harmful, just unsightly. You might want to heat it up in the microwave just a bit to soften.