It’s been a little over a month since we introduced our feature ice cream flavour for fall 2018, and our love affair with cookie butter is still going strong. Made predominantly from crushed up speculaas, a Dutch spiced cookie whose flavour is comparable to its better-known gingerbread cousin, cookie butter can be used as a spread for toast, a filling for brownie bars, or a dip for apple slices amongst other things.
Itching to learn more about the spiced cookie that gave rise to this versatile spread, we tried our hands at making a batch of speculaas – and boy, was it a journey. Read on to see what we learned from this process!
How it all began…
Hailing originally from the Netherlands, speculaas were traditionally baked in anticipation of St. Nicholas’ Day (December 6th). Now they are enjoyed across the world, but are most popular in Europe – specifically in Belgium, Germany, and of course the Netherlands.
The making of:
The molds used to make speculaas are not your everyday cookie cutters – and that’s what makes it a tad bit difficult. Made from carved wood blocks (hand-carved back in the day), molds nowadays usually depict St. Nicholas himself, other characters from his story, and windmills. The cookie dough is squished into the mold, the excess trimmed, and then knocked out from the mould through gentle tapping. The definition of gentle may vary a bit depending on how stuck on your dough is. Rubbing a thin layer of flour is helpful, and keeping the dough cold also helps – but even so, it still made for a giant exercise in patience 😐.
The dough itself is very dry – again, quite similar to gingerbread – so successfully removing a whole cookie with its design intact was more luck than anything else.
Was it worth it?
As with any baking project, this is a tough question to answer. On the one hand, the investment in time alone would tip the scale towards ‘No’. However, baking is almost always a labour of love, and the end result here is definitely tasty. So do we recommend trying this yourself? Absolutely – if only for the experience. Head here to purchase your own speculaas mold, and click here for a bang-up recipe.
We hope you enjoyed this little cookie dive, and please check back here next week for more behind-the-scenes peeks at what we get up to here at Demetres HQ. Make sure to follow us as well on Instagram (@demetres) and Facebook for our daily odes to dessert 😉