Dutch food isn’t exactly world famous, especially not when compared to the neighbors to the south. But it is good at a few things: fried food like frites, bitterballen, and oliebollen, and sweets like wafels, apple pies, tarts, and cookies. The English word cookie is actually derived from the Dutch koekje, which means “little cake.” So they know a thing or two about the small treats.
One popular treat we’ve had is Speculaas (or speculoos depending on the region). They are delicious koekjes that show up around Christmastime, shaped like windmills or Sinterklaas, and tasting like gingerbread. The recipe contains a specific blend of spices including cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, and ginger–all the good stuff.
To add even more addiction, in between the nutella and the American peanut butter in the grocery store there lies Speculaaspasta (paste), a creamy spreadable treat that I often have on my morning bread. Gingerbready and delicious! We’ve already bought a few jars to keep around for when it’s out of season.
The other day, as I was scrolling through Facebook, a picture popped up from a Portland friend’s blog showing a jar of, amazingly, “Speculoos Cookie Butter.” That’s right, good ol’ Trader Joe’s now has the creamy treat for an American population, with the tagline, “All you have to do is taste it to understand!” And it’s true. Check out the picture and story (and more delicious foodie stuff) over at Steven’s Good Life Blog. It probably doesn’t have any more sugar in it than certain peanut butters, honestly.
So if you’re reading this from the states and you’re craving the gingery goodness of speculaas, head to your local Trader Joe’s and get yourself a jar of pure “Dutchness.” No windmills required.