Speculoos Spread?

Cindy Leigh

Our son just came home from a semester interning in Belgium. He really fell in love with Speculoos cookies and spread, and brought home a jar. Now I see why he loves it! It's a creamy, spreadable version of those Biskoff cookies you get on airplanes, and similar in consistency to peanut butter.
I'd like a recipe for making the spread (and the cookies too). I found one, but it's in Franch, and my French is pretty rusty.
Anyone got any recipes?

badge posted by: Cindy Leigh on December 04, 2010 at 9:24 pm in Q & A
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reply by: PaddyL on December 04, 2010 at 11:55 pm

It's speculaas, and I've never heard of a spread. What does it taste like? There loads of recipes for the cookies; the one I use is from houseonthehill.net the site where you can buy the beautiful moulds they make.

reply by: omaria on December 05, 2010 at 1:09 am

CindyLeigh, In Holland we call it speculaas, but I have heard that in Belgium they also call it speculoos. You need to have the speculaas cookies. 200 grams, half a cup of strong coffee with a little cream and sugar. Put all in food processor and swirl together.Sometimes they add a little butter to make it smooth, also a little cinnamon if you like that. Tomorrow I will post a speculaas recipe. I have to get it out of my Dutch cook book and translate. But now I am going to bed. Ria.

reply by: vibeguy on December 05, 2010 at 5:24 am

There's actually a Biscoff spread, too. It's impossible to find except via their website, but ZOMG, so good.

E, who thinks that it's hard to beat a couple of Biscoffs and a Makers-Mark-And-Sprite-Zero as a midafternoon snack.

reply by: Cindy Leigh on December 05, 2010 at 7:03 am
Cindy Leigh

Omaria, thank you so much! The French recipe I found calls for the cookies, milk, Orange zest, and salt. I wonder if there are regional variations.

reply by: Cindy Leigh on December 05, 2010 at 7:06 am
Cindy Leigh

Hi Paddy. The spread is a bit softer than peanut butter, and tastes just like the commercially made Biscoff cookie. Sort of like Graham cracker, but with a toffee richness. I tried to read the label ingredients, but it's in Dutch.

reply by: Cindy Leigh on December 05, 2010 at 7:09 am
Cindy Leigh

Well, i don't drink, but the cookies are great! I've seen some specula as cookie recipies that have a lot of spices, but the Biscoffs don't seem to have that, to me. More like a thin crisp toffee flavored shortbread. I read that they are sold in some drug stores?? I'll have to pay attention next time I'm there. Or look in the foreign aisle of Stop n Shop.

reply by: pjh on December 05, 2010 at 9:53 am

I got a couple of packets of Biscoffs on a plane one time and kept one packet for MONTHS determined to replicate - finally gave up and ate them. Cindy, how about online translation tools to translate that label? I've found they're pretty slick-

reply by: omaria on December 05, 2010 at 10:00 am

Cindy, just type the ingredients list here. I will translate them for you.

reply by: omaria on December 05, 2010 at 10:09 am

This is a new invention. People dip the speculaas in their coffee and this lady in Belgium thought it would be great to put it on the bread like a paste. My dad used to put the dry cookies on his bread with lots of butter smeared on the bread.She made several batches and her kids and husband were the taste testers. She managed to get the paste made commercially but said that since they do have to have a longer shelf life they had to add some other ingredients.

reply by: omaria on December 05, 2010 at 12:21 pm

well, I hope you don't mind it seems like an omaria post. I have some speculaas cookies here and made the paste with throwing them in the food pr. I took 100 gr,cookies, 1/4 cup coffee with a little cream and sugar.and whirled away. Yes it tastes good and I can see that on a slice of bread it would be good.

reply by: vibeguy on December 05, 2010 at 1:38 pm

PJH - it's the toasted soy flour that gives them that odd caramel/savory thing. I, too, have tried and failed, and they were impossible to find in the Northwest until quite recently. Now Walgreens and Safeway both stock them, and Costco just brought them in as a seasonal buy. I keep a package hidden in a lasagna box so that my DH doesn't eat them all - I really like them with ice cream when we don't have homemade baked goods around.

reply by: Cindy Leigh on December 05, 2010 at 6:56 pm
Cindy Leigh

Omaria, I got the French recipe translated. It has the cookies, milk, and a
Inch of salt, and orange zest. It's simmered for 90 minutes. I think I'd likely put in the food processor to get a smoother texture.
I'm not sure about the orange- I don't taste any in the commercially prepared speculoos spread. Nor do I taste the spices found in some speculoos cookie recipes. The spread is pretty much like a toffee flavored Graham cracker, almost like browned butter, if that makes sense.
It sure is fun being a food detective!

reply by: Cindy Leigh on December 05, 2010 at 6:58 pm
Cindy Leigh

Vibe guy- yes, the spread and the cookies that my son brought home both list soy flour.

reply by: Mike Nolan on December 05, 2010 at 9:33 pm
Mike Nolan

There are a few Biscoff 'copycat' recipes out on the net, but reading the ingredients I'm skeptical that they'll be very close.

There's something in them that takes them beyond just a 'spice' cookie, not sure what.

FWIW, here are links to three copycat recipes:




The middle recipe, which calls for baker's ammonia, is one I may try, though I'm not sure if I can find any Biscoffs locally to compare them to.

reply by: mrs.chiu on December 05, 2010 at 9:43 pm

Okay, you aren't going to believe this but I just checked out a new cookbook from the library just several days ago and in it is a recipe for Speculaas that are from the famous Brooklyn, NY based "Baked" bakery and coffeeshop...their own take on Biscoff cookies! I too love Biscoff and can't wait to try their recipe. The name of the cookbook is: "Baked Explorations:Classic American Desserts Reinvented" by Matt Lewis & Renato Poliafito. The recipe is on page 114. They claim that this recipe is as close as possible to the original Biscoff cookie.

There are plenty of other fabulous looking recipes too...matter of fact it's on my Christmas list! Let me know if you would like me to send you the recipe via e-mail if you can't easily get the book from your library or bookstore!

I did find this recipe for the speculoos spread: http://seitanismymotor.com/2009/08/28/psp/
but haven't tried it yet. I did find the Biscoff cookies at my local Meijers grocery store in international section. I also heard that Walgreens (I think) or maybe CVS carries them as well. If you figure out the spread, please post...I'd love to try it! What were the list of ingredients on the spread jar label??

reply by: Cindy Leigh on December 05, 2010 at 10:01 pm
Cindy Leigh

Thanks Mrs Chiu.
The spread in that picture looks much grainier than the speculoos spread that our son brought back. Interestingly enough, the blog uses Lotus brand cookies, and that's the brand of cookies and paste he brought home. He says the cookies are so cheap there, and they even give them away in the bank- they have bowls of them sitting out.
I'm seeing many different variations of the cookie and the spread. Some are quite spiced up, others plain. Somebody mentioned many using the ammonia powder, and maybe that's a good bet for crispness. Soy flour is an ingredient, too.

reply by: Cindy Leigh on December 05, 2010 at 10:02 pm
Cindy Leigh

PS. I'd love to se the recipe you mention!

reply by: pjh on December 05, 2010 at 10:15 pm

Mike, I saw that one with the baker's ammonia, too. Seems that would make the right texture, so I was drawn to it - but I'm with Cindy, it's not really a spicy cookie, it's more caramelized... I look forward to people reporting any experiments here!

reply by: Mike Nolan on December 05, 2010 at 10:41 pm
Mike Nolan

Well, the way to get a heavily caramelized cookie (brown all the way through) without burning the edges would be what? Baking it at a lower temperature for a longer time is what comes to mind first. (Like how true Russian black bread is made, baked for several hours.)

Might be something where a convection oven would work better, too.

I wonder if in commercial production quantities they bake these in large sheets and then cut and stamp them as they cool? That way they could discard the edges (or grind them up and use them in the spread.)

reply by: PaddyL on December 05, 2010 at 11:54 pm

This has to be the most educational cooking site I've ever encountered. I'd never heard of either Biscoff cookies or a spread made for speculaas, or heard the Belgian version speculoos. Fascinating! You really get Biscoff cookies on planes?

reply by: Gnancy on December 07, 2010 at 3:53 pm

I have a recipe for Speculaas Spice from a Dutch blogger. She was trying to duplicate the commercial blend and says hers is more cinnamon-y, but she likes it so well, she thinks she's going to keep using it over the store bought version. I haven't tried it, but here it is:

4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp mace

I love cardamom, and have a cardamom cookie recipe that I haven't baked for a long time; maybe I can work this into the recipe, or at least try it in half of the batch.

reply by: vibeguy on December 06, 2010 at 3:56 am

First, reverse-engineer the cookies:

From the nutrition facts:

Wheat Flour
Vegetable Oil (may contain one or more of soybean oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, palm oil)
Soy Flour
Brown Sugar
Leavening (Sodium Bicarbonate)
Spice (Cinnamon)

Interestingly, the nutrition facts panel appears to be based on European data, because it doesn't have US-style rounding; this will make it easier to reverse engineer.

Serving Size - 5 cookies - 31 grams
Calories - 149
Calories from fat - 56

Total Fat - 6g
Saturated Fat 2 g
Trans Fat - 0 g
Cholesterol - 0 mg
Sodium - 115 mg
Total Carb - 22g
Dietary Fiber - .3g
Sugars - 12g
Protein - 2g

If anyone wants to see my work, let me know, but from the nutrition facts and the awesome power of ESHA Genesis, I *think* this is gonna be right:

275 g 9% protein flour
275 g white sugar
60 g palm oil (Spectrum Naturals shortening)
35 g canola oil
40 g roasted soy flour (kinako, available at Japanese markets - also known as konggomul in Korean markets)
40 g dark brown sugar
13 g baking soda
10 g salt
8 g cinnamon

My plan is to cream the sugars and fats together, and add the combined dry ingredients, adding just enough water to make a workable dough - water as a processing aid wouldn't be disclosed on the ingredient declaration, and this dough looks *REALLY* dry on the ratios. I then plan to let it hydrate overnight before rolling it out and cutting it, then, taking a cue from other speculaas and springerle recipes, let the pans rest overnight covered with a tea towel, and then bake at a low temperature until deeply browned and crispy.

Sadly, I am *FRESH OUT* of kinako (eyeroll), and won't be over by the Japanese market until Tuesday evening. So, I guess I'll make a batch of the dough Tuesday night when I get home, refrigerate them until Wednesday evening and plan to bake them Thursday morning. I have ammonium bicarb on hand, so I may try that as a variation going forward.


reply by: vibeguy on December 06, 2010 at 3:57 am

Always on Delta, frequently on other airlines.

reply by: mrs.chiu on December 06, 2010 at 7:22 am

Cindy, just send me an e-mail with "Speculaas recipe, please" in the subject header and I will happily send you the recipe, dchiu4902@yahoo.com


reply by: Mike Nolan on December 06, 2010 at 12:08 pm
Mike Nolan

I've seen recommendations of toasting soy flour before using it, I wonder if that would help get the unique flavor of a Biscoff?

I get frustrated with lists of ingredients that just say 'spices', because it gives no clue as to WHICH spices. (And there are people with spice allergies.) I like the list of spices in Gnancy's post, though.

I've got to run some errands this afternoon, I may do some looking around for Biscoff in the stores.

BTW, when our son came back from 7 1/2 months in Germany during college, he had developed a fondness for Milka chocolate bars, which we can get at Shopko now.

reply by: vibeguy on December 06, 2010 at 3:25 pm

The flour I'm thinking of is made from roasted whole soybeans and is not the defatted pale stuff that I usually see like from Bob's Red Mill. In thinking about the mochi treats that are dusted with it, I get the caramel flavor that I associate with Biscoffs. I too was shocked to see them disclose the spice; it's probably to deal with a regulatory requirement in some other market where they sell the product - the US allows almost all spices to be rolled up into "spice", but other places don't.

I also think the baking soda is key. Baking soda is usually used in lower quantity than salt in cookie doughs, but here, it's not only a leaven as an agent to promote browning - the higher the pH of the dough, the more intense the browning reaction.

reply by: Mike Nolan on December 06, 2010 at 5:50 pm
Mike Nolan

I found some soybean flour made from whole soybeans at the local health food store. Bob's Red Mill, too. It was in the dairy case.

I also found Biscoff at Walgreens, so I've got something to compare against.

reply by: nhman on December 07, 2010 at 12:09 am

spekulaas or spekulatius farther east in Germany. Lots of recipees on the web but if you want the proper authetic texture you have to use harts horn salt as the leavener : amonium bicarbonate /bakers ammonia, hirschornsalz in german, available at a local german deli in the us, or on the web. Hartshorn is also great for real lebkuchen too.

reply by: Cindy Leigh on December 07, 2010 at 6:41 am
Cindy Leigh

You people are awesome!

reply by: Gnancy on December 07, 2010 at 3:55 pm

Now, I want to find some Biscoff, too.

reply by: Mike Nolan on December 07, 2010 at 4:46 pm
Mike Nolan

I'd love to try that Biscoff spread, but I figure the odds of finding it in Lincoln Nebraska aren't great.

reply by: omaria on December 07, 2010 at 5:33 pm

I just googled "Lotus speculaas" and found out that the Belgian speculoos cookies are sold here under the name Bicoff. There is a lot of info. on Google about the spread too. I have not read it all yet. No time right now. Ria

reply by: omaria on December 07, 2010 at 5:44 pm

One more thing. Ingredients on the jar Said :Wheat flour,sugar,vegetable oil and fat,soy flour,candy sugar syrup,baking powder,salt and cinnamon (I think that is all in the cookies they use) rape oil,sugar,soy lecithin and citric acid.

reply by: vibeguy on December 08, 2010 at 2:45 pm

rape oil is just canola oil in North America. The citric acid there is to make it shelf-stable by lowering the pH to a level where bacteria won't grow. Soy lecithin holds it all together into a creamy spread.

reply by: Mike Nolan on March 10, 2011 at 3:27 pm
Mike Nolan

The new 'Shout Out' Girl Scout cookie is fairly similar to a Biscoff, IMHO it is not quite as cinnamon-y and maybe a little saltier.

The girl we bought them from said they were similar to a ginger snap, they aren't, really.

BTW, the box calls them a 'Belgian-style caramelized cookie'.

reply by: frick on March 09, 2011 at 7:17 pm

Did anyone ever make these?

reply by: omaria on May 05, 2011 at 10:03 am

Bringing this back up.

reply by: Gnancy on May 10, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Well, I didn't make any (haven't been baking; want to make a 5-spice (as in Chinese) Angel Food cake when I do), but I did find the cookies at, of all places, Walgreens!

reply by: cwcdesign on May 10, 2011 at 9:10 pm

In the June/July issue of Fine Cooking, Biscoff spread is one of their "Great Finds" on page 24. They also give a web address: biscoff.com

reply by: Gnancy on May 12, 2011 at 11:38 am

I didn't see the article, but some time ago I found the website, and that's how I discovered that Walgreen's sells the cookies.

reply by: omaria on May 12, 2011 at 12:24 pm

In "General Discussions" we talked about speculoos spread also and I mentioned that I now have a jar of it. That is why I brought this post back up a couple of days ago.

reply by: Broughnuts on May 13, 2011 at 4:31 pm

This stuff is AWESOME! I was fortunate enough to taste it in NYC atop a Belgian waffle. I couldn't help but think how great it would taste in a s'mores-type recipe. Any ideas?

reply by: omaria on May 13, 2011 at 5:35 pm

(In Holland we have a lot of speculaas cookie recipes and also "filled" (gevulde) speculaas. I was thinking of using the jar of spread in the filled speculaas. That is a layer of cookie dough, put the spread on top, a layer of almond paste, some more spread , top it with the cookie dough. We will see how everyone likes that in the family, since we all love filled speculaas.

reply by: omaria on June 15, 2012 at 5:51 pm

Bringing this back up.

reply by: robinwaban on June 15, 2012 at 6:29 pm

Wow. What a response! I missed this blog somewhere in my life, or maybe I dismissed it because I didn't know what it was. Thank you for reporting the past posts. Very interesting.