Sometimes whether or not you’ll try something new is a foregone conclusion. When I saw a new product at Trader Joe’s called “Cookie Butter”, before I even read the label, I knew it was going home with me. Described as “a deliciously unusual spread reminiscent of gingerbread and made with crushed biscuits,” The main ingredient in the spread is speculoos, which, according to Wikipedia, are “a type of shortcrust biscuit, traditionally baked for consumption on just or before St Nicholas’ feast in the Netherlands, Belgium and Northern France.”
Other than crushed speculoos biscuits, the spread contains palm and canola oil, sugar, and an emulsifier, making it a lot like a reconstituted spreadable cookie dough. Yum.
The Cookie Butter has a silky texture, like peanut butter (the type with added fillers, not the natural type), and spreads easily. What’s most appealing is the aroma: removing the lid releases a cloud of sweetness mixed with subtle spices. The effect is a lot like gingerbread cookie candles, but in this case, with the all-important difference of being edible.
The label gives several helpful ideas for how to make use of the spread, including smearing it on pancakes or waffles, filling peanut butter cookie sandwiches with it, adding a glob to your ice cream, or even using it as a dip for pretzels or celery sticks. I tried it on a slice of Trader Joe’s 10 grain bread (lightly toasted).
At first glance, it looks awful similar to peanut butter, but the flavor is much different. The spread tastes like a blend of dulche de leche (milk caramel) and gingerbread-flavored icing. It was tasty on toast, but the flavors are more pronounced when it’s enjoyed at room temperature. Heat kills the silky, cookie dough-like texture and transforms the spread into a melted glaze that tastes too sweet and sticky. Spreading it on a graham cracker is a much better idea (or, add some sea salt for contrast).
One 11 oz (400 g) jar costs about $4 and considering how even a little bit goes a long way, Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter is well worth trying, even if it’s only a one-time thing to satisfy your own curiosity. In the name of seasonal indulgence, I say go for it.