Cookie Butter: The Simple Facts
With the holidays rapidly approaching, now’s the best time to talk about one of the world’s most famous flavors, based on one an infamous cookie flavor: cookie butter.
Would you believe me if I told you cookie butter has a complex history riddled with questions such as: What is it? Where did it come from? And what are the most delicious ways to eat it? Well, with a bit of research, these complexities became much less…complex.
Let’s first answer the question:
What is it?
Cookie Butter is a sweet spread whose main ingredient is pulverized speculoos—crunchy spiced cookies made of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cardamom, and brown sugar, which produces a pleasantly “spiced,” crispy, caramelized gourmet cookie. Traditionally, the mouthwatering cookies were a holiday treat eaten before St. Nicolas’ Feast on December 5th in Belgium.
Where did cookie butter come from?
The delicious (and versatile) spread has Dutch roots, due to its main ingredient, speculoos shortcrust cookies, and a 2007 episode of a Netherlands reality competition show called De Bedenkers, which translates to The Inventors in English. This televised competition is very similar to Shark Tank, the American broadcast where budding entrepreneurs present their business ideas in hopes to be financed by millionaire judges/panelists.
Among 2000 contestants invited to submit their entrepreneurial ideas to the show, Els Scheppers, a Belgian housewife and speculoos enthusiast, created and submitted her recipe for spreadable speculoos cookies. Scheppers’ submission was solely based on her personal curiosity of why the beloved shortcrust cookie treats were not readily available in spreadable form similar to the way she would serve it at home.
Ultimately, the spreadable speculoos recipe was chosen as the winning product on the show, and later became the base of the widely-famous cookie butter produced by Lotus, the Belgian company known as Biscoff. As reported by www.bonappetit.com, the online publication of the gourmet food magazine, by 2008, cookie butter was already a phenomenon in Europe—only one year following Sheppers’ recipe debut—and by 2011, it was slowly gaining momentum as the next best thing in the U.S. The only remaining question now was…
What are the most delicious ways to eat it?
Cookie butter, with its composition of pulverized speculoos cookies, butter, condensed milk, and sugar (according to some published recipes), has officially become part of the American eating experience. It has been utilized as a replacement for the highly popular peanut butter; experienced as a frosting for cakes and other pastry; it is used as a drizzle for pancakes, crepes, and waffles; cookie butter is the flavoring for frozen desserts such as ice cream and Italian gelato; it has been enjoyed as a dip for graham crackers and fruit, and the flavor of cookie butter has been used as a coating for artisanal desserts as well. Did I mention pies, milkshakes, and some confections have been enhanced with the flavor of cookie butter?
Nevertheless, despite its proven diversity, cookie butter is also enjoyed simply with a spoon and eaten directly from the jar.
Cookie butter: a simple recipe with a festive flavor that’s recognized worldwide, and capable of upgrading any recipe.