Friday, 29 June 2012

Speculoos Brownies

 Earlier this year I had the absolute pleasure and privilege of travelling to Paris with my mom and daughter.  It was a trip of a lifetime full of many good times and good eats.  One morning not long after breakfast we were out strolling the streets.  Josilin declared she was hungry while I rolled my eyes and stated that she couldn’t possibly be already.  We found a small bakery and Jos selected a Speculoos Éclair for her mid morning snack.  I had not tried Speculoos before, but I knew from reading enough food magazines and blogs that this was a flavour not to be missed.  As I had already been an eye-rolling mom, I couldn’t in good conscience buy one for myself.  I asked Josilin for a small bite, “just to taste it” and immediately regretted I had not seized that opportunity and had one myself.  I thought we might end up with a three generation fist fight over the last bite of that éclair.  The memory of Speculoos has been with me since.

I was a bit reluctant to post this recipe, because the availability of  the key ingredient is so limited in Ontario.  I purchased this at a local fine food shop and hope you might be able to find it as well. Also called Biscoff in the USA, these cookies and spread taste a lot like the “windmill” cookies I ate as a child.  Full of ginger and spice the cookies have a nice crunch and the spread mimics peanut butter in looks and feel. 
The Speculoos flavour is subtle in these brownies but is a great match to the deep rich brownies.  The cookies do not stay crunchy and instead become a rich, chewy layer in the middle.I brought some into work.  They were a huge hit for that crowd and I’m pretty sure will be for any crowd I serve them to in the future.  And should you find yourself on a quaint Paris street in a little bakery full of Speculoos éclairs, be sure and buy one for everyone in your party.


Speculoos Brownies

Adapted from my baking addiction

8 ounces unsweetened chocolate; coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, cut into cubes
2 1/2 cups sugar
6 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup crushed Speculoos cookies

Preheat oven to 350degrees.  Butter and flour and 9x13 pan.  Melt butter and chocolate over low heat in a small saucepan.  In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla.  Add melted butter and chocolate and stir until mixed.  Gradually add flour and stir until just combined.
Pour 1/2 of batter into pan and then top with crushed cookies, followed by remaining batter.
Bake for 40-45min and cool completely before icing.

Speculoos Buttercream

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup Speculoos Spread
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
2-4 Tbsp milk (start with 2 and add more if needed)
4 Speculoos cookies, crushed

Cream together butter, vanilla and speculoos spread with electric mixer.  Gradually add icing sugar and milk and mix on low speed until incorporated.  Beat at a higher speed until light and fluffy.  Spread on cooled brownies and top with crushed speculoos cookies.  Enjoy!

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