I’ve written before that my host family kind of thinks I’m crazy because I don’t put Nutella on my toast for breakfast, but now I wish I had just bowed to peer pressure and started waking up to chocolate and hazelnut for breakfast, because then I would be able to bring my own sweet spread to the breakfast table: Speculoos.
Now, even if you’re familiar with that word and know that I didn’t just press random buttons on my keyboard, you still might be scratching your head about it. Speculoos is almost like a gingerbread/spice shortbread biscuit that is treated like an animal cookie in consistency and also shape, since it can be put out in Christmas or animal shapes.
But wait a second, you say, how does that relate to toast and breakfast?
There is Speculoos spread. Speculoos à tartiner, or Speculoos to spread.
This is cookie butter. Cookie butter. That’s what it is.
I’ve never heard of Speculoos before coming here. And even after I had my first Speculoos, I still didn’t find out about it until months later, when we were talking about peanut butter at school and the program assistant, the French manic pixie dreamgirl dream that is Julie, told me there was a Speculoos spread.
So what do I do? Next time I’m in Monoprix, I stroll down the tartiner aisle looking for the Speculoos spread that I’m pretty sure I’m not going to find. It’s not by the Nutella or the Nutella knockoffs. It’s not by the honey. It’s not by the marmalade or jam.
Now I’m starting to think that Julie was just teasing me and I’m the idiot on her hands and knees on the grocery store.
But then, pushed back all the way on the bottom level, there they are: two jars of Speculoos—literally, just Speculoos with pasta à tartiner on the label in smaller letters. One is crunchy, one is not. Both have images of the Speculoos cookies I know and love kind of dripping onto a gingerbread-colored spread on a piece of bread.
Turns out cookie butter actually exists.
I debated between the crunchy and noncrunchy versions of the spread, even at one point picking up both to put in the basket before remembering that I’m just a poor college student. And—more importantly—I should try one to make sure I like it (although, come on, how could I not????) before buying two.
That’s really the deciding factor, embarrassingly enough.
After many moments looking like a fat dummy looking back and forth between the two jars of creamed cookies in her hands, I finally picked the crunchy. I prefer crunchy peanut butter to creamy. And if there were such a thing as crunchy Nutella I would eat that all day every day … but just not for breakfast.
And the way I see it, if there’s a crunchy cookie spread, chances are that the crunchy bits are going to be cookies. And if you’re going to eat a cookie spread, you might as well just go all out.
I bought a bag of brioche buns, because I thought those would pair well with the spread. Brioche is a thick, sweet bread, and I wasn’t sure how a buttery croissant or pain au lait would go with it.
Honest to God, I almost bought a package of Speculoos cookies too.
I’m glad I didn’t. The spread is BURSTING with Speculoos flavor. It is Speculoos in a spoon or on the side of the knife. Thankfully, it looks like the brains behind the spread had the same “SPECUYOLO” mentality that I had.
I didn’t feel as guilty as I should have just licking some Speculoos spread off of a knife, since it really is a dessert in itself. But, I do feel guilty for eating like a quarter of the jar in one sitting.
What can I say? It really was love at first bite.
Now, if only there was some way to eat this on the brioche toast that’s always in the bread box without my host family calling me out for being a hypocrite…
But for now, I’m totally content to keep it hidden in my suitcase cupboard along with the rest of the brioche buns and whatever else I will buy (and I know I will add to my “what can I put Speculoos on” collection). I think I might even buy vanilla ice cream and try melting the Speculoos spread. And then crunching up the Speculoos cookies I will buy and adding those on top.
With a cookie spread, the possibilities are endless.
P.S. HOLY CRAPPING CRAP YOU GUYS CAN YOU IMAGINE IF THERE WAS A COOKIE SPREAD FOR ALL COOKIES?
TRY TO GUESS WHAT AN OREO SPREAD WOULD TASTE LIKE! OR A THIN MINT SPREAD?
WHY AREN’T THESE REAL THINGS???????????
WHY DON’T WE LIVE IN A WORLD WHERE SUGAR COOKIE SPREADS EXIST??????????
WHY DIDN’T I LEARN ABOUT SPECULOOS SPREAD LIKE THREE MONTHS AGO???????
BRB gonna go cry into my Speculoos jar. I bet it’s even more perfect with a little bit of salt.