Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Speculoos Cookie Cocoa Swirl - Trader Joes

Speculoos Cookie Cocoa Swirl - Trader Joes
Speculoos spread is a super popular item from Trader Joe's that comes in a few different flavor variations, but what is "Speculoos" anyway? Before shopping at Trader Joe's I'd never heard of it before, so I looked it up on the ever wonderful Wikipedia to find out more about this silly sounding spread.

Apparently, Speculoos refers to spiced cookies, of Dutch and Belgian origin, which are commonly associated with the winter holiday season. The spices used in the cookies are cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cardamom and white pepper. For the most part, it sounds like a spreadable version of a gingerbread cookie, but the flavor profile is a bit more complex. This stuff has been listed as one of the top 10 Trader Joe's items for the last 3-4 years, and it's inspired some new, less traditional, flavor variations. (Like the pumpkin pie version I reviewed this fall.) 

This version I have here is kind of like an American-European mash-up. We get the spicy goodness of the European Speculoos, mixed with a Oreo puree! Spreadable cross-continental cookie goodness? Don't mind if I do!

First up, packaging! We have a heavy glass jar filled with a two-toned cookie spread and a fairly plain stick-on label. So many things are sold in plastic these days, that when I do find a foodie product sold in a glass bottle or jar, it feels extra fancy and special. The label's design is bold and informative, but not especially appealing. It's the product itself that adds all the visual interest to this item. Look at those gorgeous stripes! In America we have a peanut butter and jelly that is sold in a similar fashion, so the overall presentation isn't new, but it's cookie butter! Just knowing that each of those stripes relate to a delicious spreadable cookie makes it all the more appealing. Even though I'm not a fan of the label, I think the product still does a good job of marketing itself based on it's looks alone.

I opened up the jar and inside was a foiled protective seal, and under that....


Just look at that pinwheel formation of sugary goodness! It photographs beautifully, and I almost wish I didn't have to stick a spoon in here and mess it up. I say almost, because it smells really freaking awesome. It has all the appeal of a spiced gingerbread-like Speculoos, mixed with a hint of cocoa. The cocoa makes the aroma seem richer, deeper, and more complex, so yes, this is pretty, but I still want to eat it. (Plus I took that photo already, so it's prettiness shall live on the internet forever!)
I scooped a big ol' spoonful right out of the center of the pinwheel and took a taste. It's good, really good. To busy to bake your own holiday cookies? Just buy a jar of this stuff! It's like gingerbread and Oreo were pureed together into spreadable happiness. Now, for the record, I personally like Biscoff spread much more than Trader Joe's Speculoos, so part of me is wishing these tan stripes were the graham-cracker-y Biscoff, but this is still a phenomenal product. You get cinnamon, ginger, sweet brown sugar, and to top it all off, the light cocoa flavoring of an Oreo-like chocolate biscuit.

It's delicious, and terrible for you, which makes eating this right of a jar with a spoon feel even more taboo and wonderful. I highly recommend picking up a jar of this stuff for your holiday baking. Imagine swirling this into a cheesecake, or filling cookies with cookie spread. (Cookie-ception!) You could swirl a bit of this into your coffee/cocoa at your next family gathering, or you can hide under blankets and watch Netflix all day with jar of this stuff and a spoon. The possibilities are endless!
© Maria Smith
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