The other day my sister brought home a jar of a peanut butter-like substance and without a word handed me a spoonful. The minute I tasted it, I knew exactly what it was – speculaas! My mind was blown. I had no idea that speculaas cookie butter was a thing. Here was an obscure (or so I thought) cookie from my childhood creamed, mass produced, and put into a jar so that it could be spread on waffles or poured onto ice cream or used as a dip for pretzels. No, really, it says so on the jar. It turns out that my Dutch-Indo family aren’t the only people to appreciate this European spice cookie- it’s actually one of the hippest new flavors on the block.
Speculoos, or speculaas, or spekulatius, or Dutch windmill cookies, or Biscoff cookies (ok, ok they have a ton of names so I’ll stop here) is a spice cookie that’s traditionally given to children by Sinterklaas on St. Nicholas Eve on December 5th. They’ve been eaten for more than a century around the holiday season throughout the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium, but what really made them gain popularity in the US was when Lotus Brand’s speculoos cookies, renamed Biscoff (biscuit + coffee), became the in-flight cookie served by Delta airlines in the 1980’s. Since then, they’ve become an international sensation and sold as a ground spice, ice cream flavor, and of course, cookie butter.
So my first question after trying it was whether I could put it into a drink, and the answer is yes. At least, after turning it into a syrup. Unlike simple syrup, speculaas syrup can’t be made ahead of time because it tends to thicken when cooled, but when added to some bourbon and Rumchata, it makes a delectable dessert cocktail that can add an international twist to your holidays.
Speculaas Cocktail (Yield: 1 cocktail)
½ ounce speculaas cookie butter
1 ounce hot water
1 ½ ounce bourbon
¾ ounces Rumchata
Cinnamon, for garnish
- Much like the butter in hot buttered rum, speculaas cookie butter has to be melted and liquefied with hot water before adding to the cocktail. Heat both the water and speculaas cookie butter up on the stove and heat until liquified. Add to a cordial glass.
- Pour bourbon on top of syrup, then top with Rumchata. Mix together and garnish with cinnamon.