Some things in life are hard to describe to someone who has not experienced them first hand: Being in love. Exactly where your stomach hurts. The weird sound your car has been making.
Soon, Austinites will be able to experience one of the best indescribable things this life can offer: Speculoos Cookie Butter from Trader Joe’s, which opens Friday in Rollingwood.
Speculoos are spiced shortbread biscuits, or cookies, popular around the holidays in many parts of Europe, and to make them into a spread, they are pureed with palm and canola oils.
The original speculoos cookie butter, Biscoff Spread, became available in Europe in 2007 and is for sale at Central Market and World Market.
In 2011, Trader Joe’s introduced its own version of the decadent treat. Its popularity led to shortages in 2012 that required a “two per customer” policy at some locations.
Cookie butter comes in a jar like peanut butter and is a butter in the “spreadable topping” sense of the word. Don’t be fooled by the similarity, though; the spread contains more sugar and none of the protein of peanut butter.
What it does contain is an addictive sweet and slightly spicy flavor reminiscent of gingerbread that can be spread on anything from toast and bagels to celery and carrots, or enjoyed straight from the spoon.
Grab an 11-ounce jar (crunchy or creamy) for $3.69 at Trader Joe’s at your own risk. You won’t be able to stop eating the stuff. You may even love it so much you get creative and start incorporating it into other recipes. Cookie butter fudge. Cookie butter and jelly sandwiches. Cookie butter pancakes.
To get started on adding more sugar and fat to an already decadent treat, try our recipe for chocolate cupcakes with cookie butter cream cheese icing.
Just make sure to share, and pace yourself.
Chocolate Cookie Butter Cupcakes
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups water
2 Tbsp. distilled white vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
10 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2/3 cup smooth cookie butter
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a cupcake tin with cupcake wrappers.
Sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl and whisk to combine. Whisk in oil and sour cream, then water. Whisk in the vinegar and vanilla. Beat in the eggs, one at at a time, until well blended, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
Pour into cupcake wrappers, filling each cup about 2/3 of the way. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out almost clean. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes. Remove from pan to cool on wire rack. Allow to cool completely before icing.
To make the frosting: In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, scraping down sides of bowl and mixing thoroughly. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes.
Add cookie butter and beat on medium speed until well blended. When cupcakes are completely cool, ice and enjoy. Makes 2 dozen cupcakes.
— Adapted from a SmittenKitchen.com recipe by Melissa Martinez