In the Know about Cookie Butter

For decades, peanut butter was the only spread in town.  Then in 1983, Nutella came to the U.S., and America went nuts over the chocolate-hazelnut combo.  But now another spread has taken over:  cookie butter.  Also called speculoos spread (it’s made from finely ground Belgian speculoos spice cookies),  it looks like peanut butter but tastes like gingerbread–and I for one can’t seem to get enough of it.

Trader Joe’s has both a smooth and crunchy version and it was the grocery chain’s top-selling product last year, and some stores in big cities like San Francisco and Dallas had to limit the number of purchases per customer.  I thought it might interest you to learn how all this madness developed over the years.

Trader Joe's Crunchy Cookie Butter

Trader Joe’s Crunchy Cookie Butter

THE RISE OF COOKIE BUTTER

1986   DELTA Air Lines  started passing out packets of speculoos cookies called Biscoff (made by the Belgium company Lotus) to U.S. passengers, sparking a national obsession.

1990   After trying Biscoff in the air, Delta customers demanded the cookies on the ground, so Lotus partnered with the airline’s food provider to offer them through a mail-order catalog.

2007   On a Belgian TV competition contestant Els Scheppers turned speculoos into a spread.  She and Lotus worked together to market her recipe as Biscoff Spread.

Biscoff Cookie Butter

Biscoff Spread

2011   Biscoff Spread hit stores in the U.S.  The same year Trader Joe’s debuted its version,  Speculoos Cookie Butter.

2012   Both Lotus and Trader Joe’s introduced crunchy versions of the spread.  Trader Joe’s also released cookie butter-filled chocolate bars and its own speculoos cookies.   Häagen-Dazs came out with speculoos-inspired ice cream.

2013   Williams-Sonoma now offers cookie spreads in three new flavors:   cookies and cream,  graham cracker and vanilla wafer.  Meanwhile, Lucky Scent has now started selling Le Speculoos fragrance, suggesting that the trend has reached critical dimensions.   On a personal note, I don’t think that I would like going around smelling like a cookie.  I’d rather eat one than smell like one.  But, I guess, if you’re really into your diet, it’s one way of having your cookie.  😀

WAYS TO TRY IT

  • As a dip for fruit, celery and pretzels.   I love it spread on apple wedges.
  • On pancakes and waffles
  • Swirled into oatmeal
  • In a smoothie
  • As a sandwich-cookie filling
  • Melted and drizzled over ice cream
  • Or…. eat it straight from the jar.  The best way!

MAKE YOUR OWN!

Roughly crush 12 gingersnaps, 6 whole graham crackers and 5 shortbread cookies, then pulse in a food processor until finely ground.  Add 3 Tablespoons cold water and pulse until combined then let sit 10 minutes.  Ad 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and a pinch of cinnamon.  With the processor running, slowly drizzle in 1/2 cup coconut milk and blend until smooth.   Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Two of the ways that I have used Biscoff Cookie Butter is in this recipe and this one.

Soft Oatmeal Cookies with Biscoff Glaze

Soft Oatmeal Cookies with Biscoff Glaze

Biscoff Swirl Brownies

Biscoff Swirl Brownies

SOURCE:   Majorly adapted from Food Network Magazine, with my own personal additions.

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I Need to Eat a Skinny Person

If the saying  “you are what you eat”, is true,  then I need to eat a skinny person in order to become one.

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Since beginning to write this blog I have wanted to provide my readers with a broad variety of recipes and that has included baked goods and desserts.  Sweets are treats that I used to make only for special occasions and holidays.  I made scones now and then or a sweet bread like banana or zucchini bread. But over the past year I’ve used any reason to bake up bars, cookies, and desserts. Once I get turned on to sugar, and carbs in general, I become a carbohydrate addict wanting more and more. I have to get this under control  in order to lose a few pounds.  This will be difficult because I’m a petite person and not really overweight,  just a little curvy in the wrong places.

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The amount of dancing that I do no longer provides the extra calorie burn to keep off the weight like it used to.  The body adjusts to the exercise you do, and soon the exercise that once worked doesn’t do it anymore.  So what is the answer to this problem?   Eat less and exercise more!   Gee, haven’t I heard that somewhere before?  But that is the only thing that works.   So, folks, I plan to cut back on carbohydrates, particularly sugar, potatoes, pasta and breads.  Therefore you will be seeing less of those foods here for a while anyway.  The reason I am starting this effort to lose a few pounds is because I’ve made a commitment to compete in a regional dance competition in August.

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In the competition world often times the judges’ decisions comes down to how fast a dancer’s spins are, how clean and precise are her pivots, how fast does she move from here to there?  NOT how correctly does she know her steps/footwork.  Does this surprise you?  Its true,  and having a few extra pounds can slow you down and effect your overall performance.  Not to mention,  I want my gowns to fit properly!!!!

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It seems then, that the two things I love to do;  cooking and writing this blog, and dancing, are colliding with each other.   For a while at least the dancing side of me is going to be getting more attention as I try to get back in shape.  However, the cooking and blogging will continue with hopefully less  “calorific”  but still blog-worthy foods.   (I think that was a new word I just made up.)

I’ll keep you posted on how it’s going.  Wish me luck!  Included here for your interest are a few pictures of me at previous dance competitions.

Relaxing at the banquet after its all over.

Relaxing at the banquet after its all over.