I figure I may as well make this the week of cookie swap cookies. May I present to you, one of the two types of cookies I brought to a cookie swap I attended this past Sunday: speculoos spread sandwich cookies. Now before I get to the amazingness that is speculoos spread and speculoos cookies, I have a little back-story to this cookie swap.
When I first moved to New York I decided I needed to make friends. I know, shocker. So I signed up for not one, not two, but three dodgeball leagues. Yeah, count ’em, three. And I was definitely that kid in elementary school that hated dodgeball. Let me be honest with you, unless you suddenly turn into a dodgeball firing machine gun in those interim 20 years or so, you’re not going to like it much better when you’re older.
Anyway, the league I joined was ZogSports, if you live in a major city (at least on the East coast) you’ve probably heard of them. And through Zog I later signed up for a sports conditioning class where I met my future roommate JL. And through JL I met a group of Minnesota ex-pats living in New York. Do yah follow? Ok, good.
JL convinced me to join her kickball team (which by the way, is waaay more fun than dodgeball) through another league called NYCSSC (New York City Social Sports Club, phew) and so being open-minded and desperate for friends, I did. The group of girls that ran the kickball team were awesome, and despite my intense social awkwardness they let me be their friend. Of course I beefed this up with almost weekly baked goods, just to ensure they’d let me stay on the team. And they, being full of Midwestern hospitality and charm, let me play.
Now despite being swamped with grad school work in the 2+ years that I’ve known most of those girls, they’ve actually continued inviting me to events and I’m thrilled to say that one of those is the annual cookie swap currently hosted by Coach Carter, she’s the kickball organizer (the other event is the now-famed Minnesota State Fair Day held in NYC, which they actually started, check out the site).
Let me just say for the record, Coach really knows how to throw a cookie swap party. Every person brings at least one kind of cookie; then she makes oodles of savory snacks, a bunch of cut out sugar cookies to decorate, this year shaped like Minnesota, of course (see above photo), cake balls that she diligently prepares just minutes before they are consumed (with fancy dipping utensils her mother bought her for her move to New York), and obviously, booze. Oh the free flowing booze. It’s marvelous and you’re guaranteed at least a cavity or diabetes before you leave.
I’m not gunna lie, Minnesota girls really know how to do up a party, and there has been more than one occasion where this poor Yank hasn’t been able to keep up. Luckily, I was able to hold my own this year and even divested Coach of at least five pounds of leftover cookies…
…which I promptly bestowed upon The BF’s office (mostly because I’m meeting them all for the first time Thursday (today!) and felt the need to butter them up, shhh don’t tell!)
Ok now on to speculoos (which my friend from Holland told me is pronounced spek-yah-loosh). Here’s the Wikiepdia article for those that want a more precise explanation. Here’s what I have: these are a kind of gingerbready, cinnamony, buttery, crunchy cookie of amazingness.I believe you can buy them in the states at Trader Joe’s, but don’t quote me on that. Some of you may know it as Biscoff Spread, which are the same cookies that you’re served on Delta.
I’ve only had really good speculoos from Holland. And then one day I walked past the Waffles & Dinges (pronounced ding-uhs) cart and they had speculoos spread for sale in a jar, imported from Belgium! I did a little jig, possibly kissed the girl’s feet, procured a jar and promptly stashed it in my cupboard because I had no idea what I was going to do with it besides spread it on toast every morning for breakfast. But I found a recipe that makes delicious cookies and well, there you have it.
Speculoos Spread Sandwich Cookies
Adapted slightly from Bake at 350
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp kosher salt
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of allspice
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened but still cool
½ cup Speculoos Spread (or Biscoff Spread)
¼ cup sugar
¾ cup light brown sugar
½ tsp vanilla
¼ cup heavy cream
confectioners sugar for dusting your work surface
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda and spices. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer, cream together the butter, sugars and speculoos until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla until combined. Add the heavy cream and beat until fluffy.
Slowly add the flour mix to the creamed mixture in three batches, beating just until incorporated and then just a few seconds more so that it’s a smooth, cohesive mass. Divide the mass in two, pat into an inch thick disk, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°F, line baking sheets with parchment or a slipat.
Remove one disk of dough from the refrigerator. Lightly flour your surface with confectioners sugar to prevent the dough from sticking. Roll out the dough to about ¼ inch thickness and cut out rounds or other desired shapes (I used a linzer cookie cutter and then an overturned shot glass, because I’m classy like that). Make sure you make an even number of cookies since you’ll be sandwiching them together. Place cookie sheet in freezer for 5-10 minutes before baking to keep them from spreading.
Place cookies ½ inch apart on lined baking sheets and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges are just lightly golden. Let set on the cookie sheet for a minute or two after removing from the oven, then cool on a wire rack.
Once completely cooled, spread a thin layer of speculoos spread on the bottom of one cookie and sandwich it with the bottom side of another cookie. Ta-da! Consume.
Cookies will keep for upto a week in an airtight container at room temperature.