Yahoo For the Speculoo!

For awhile, it was anything caramel with sea salt – I bought bags of artisanal caramels wherever I could find them, came up with a recipe for fleur de sel pots de crème, poured jars of Crème de Saladou, a salty caramel spread, over ice cream – but now, I’m all about the humble Belgian spice cookie, the little speculoo. (Fun to say out loud, isn’t it? Give it a try. See what I mean?)

Lately, I’ve been saying this a lot, because I detect a trend.

I first noticed this when Xavier brought home a jar of this peanut butter-looking spread from the cheese shop across the street. Oh, I knew of the speculoo, and I liked it well enough, but I didn’t really love love it, since I’d only had the grocery store version (above).

So he opened that jar, and I tried it, and well, let me just say, it’s like smooshed up, cinnamony-spicy goodness that you can spread on toast, dollop onto ice cream, or if you’re like me, just eat it by the heaping spoonful until it’s all gone and then you have to go the store to buy another one.

Then, about a week later, we were just browsing in the Haagen-Daz store in the neighborhood (it’s very French in my arrondisement — we also have a Starbuck’s, a McDonald’s, and an American Apparel store), and I noticed this:

Get out! I said, smacking Xavier on the arm. Speculoos and caramel?! I nearly jumped off the ground in my Uggs. Of course I had to try it.

My only criticism, though, is that they only sell it by the boule, and not by the carton. This makes me sad, and also creates many more trips up and down the street to the Haagen-Daz store than I’d like.

Then, as luck would have it, Xavier was on his way to Brussels (Speculoo Central!) shortly after my speculoo awakening, so I asked him if he wouldn’t mind going by the little bakery that started it all, Dandoy, for some of their cookies. Which he was happy to do.

I ate them all within a couple of days – perfect with coffee for breakfast before my morning hike with Rose – and was happy that I didn’t let them go stale.

These Dandoy cookies are still made the old-fashioned way, with the gingerbready dough (there’s cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, plus other secret spices) pressed into wooden cookie molds that look like St. Nicholas.

But why let this just be a Christmas cookie, a little something given to well-behaved children on December 6?

For those of us who are good and deserving of a cookie every single day, I say, let’s raise our coffee mugs and crunch on a speculoo! Or two.