Worth the Hype?: Unlocking the Mystery of Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookie Butter

Happy Halloween or Blessed All Saints’ Day, wherever in the globe you are. Anyway, I decided to make a review on the sweet yet ever so mysterious Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookie Butter and its variant, Speculoos Cookie and Cocoa Swirl for this Trick-or-Treat season.

SPECU—WHAAAT?!

First, what on earth is Speculoos? According to the almighty Wikipedia, is a type of spiced shortcrust biscuit, traditionally baked for consumption on or just before St Nicholas’ feast in the Netherlands (December 5), Belgium (December 6), and Northern France and around Christmas in Germany. In recent decades it has become available all year round. Speculoos are thin, very crunchy, slightly browned and, most significantly, have some image or figure (often from the traditional stories about St. Nicholas) stamped on the front side before baking; the back is flat.

So it’s basically some sort of holiday cookie. It’s also called as Belgian Spice Cookies or Dutch Windmill cookies or more importantly, Biscoff cookies. So yeah, I assume that the taste of Lotus Biscoff Spread which is sold in some stores in Metro Manila could be similar to Trader Joe’s products. I can’t really compare the taste of the two because I never tasted Biscoff.

THE HYPE IN THE PHILIPPINES

I did notice early this year that some of my friends in Instagram are uploading pictures of what look like ordinary jars of bread spread or palaman in Filipino. People who upload it seemed to do so to make their other friends envious through tagging them of their bread spread picture. I really did not get it. I’m in love with Lady’s Choice Creamy Peanut Butter but you would not spot it any time in Instagram.

Anyway, when we returned from the United States, a friend said, “I thought you were still in the US. I was supposed to contact you to buy Speculoos Cookie Butter for me there!”

“What is that?”

“It’s a type of bread spread. It is very yummy but it’s very expensive and hard to purchase here in the Philippines.”

“Oh.”

I initially thought that it was a cookie dough flavored type of spread. Sayang, I thought. My siblings and I loved cookie dough ice cream in the US but sadly, there is no similar ice cream flavor in the country. I thought that it would probably be great having a spread that kind of taste like cookie dough. But no. It was really, really different. Then again, am I the only person who has thought about that? Anyone else? No? Awww…okay.

As the months passed by, there are more and more pictures of Trader Joe’s and Biscoff Cookie Butter pictures were seen in my timeline. The ever so raved spread Nutella was no longer the thing talked about on-line. Wow. Why is everyone going crazy over some bread spread?

TASTING THE MYSTERIOUS COOKIE BUTTER

It turns out that there is no local distributor of Trader Joe’s. People who get the hand of it usually get it on-line or are given to them by their returning Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) relatives. I think there is one store somewhere in Makati that actually sells it but it’s always out of stock. Also the price of one Cookie Butter jar ranges from P450-P700 plus shipping fee! No, I am not that desperate to shell off that much money just to understand the hype is about but apparently, some people are. And because it is mysterious and hard to find, it probably adds flavor to its taste. Do you get what I mean?

Anyway, the first time I had the taste of it was when Mochiko made a variant of their product made out of Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookie Butter. By the way, Mochiko offers a type of dessert that consists of Japanese mochi outside and ice cream in the inside. I did not think it was great mainly because I had greater expectations with the taste of Cookie Butter and I love the other flavors Mochiko had. After that, I did not bother thinking on how I would get my hands over that freaking Cookie Butter.

By mid-October, some of my relatives from the US returned and handed me two mysterious jars wrapped in black paper.

“What is this, Tita? Oh wow…”

“I really don’t get it. The Filipinos in the US are hoarding these stuffs to bring home to their relatives. Personally, I did not think they are that great but we decided to buy these thing, too, as pasalubong.”

Yes, that golden moment. I now have two Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookie Butter in my very hands. And even though we did feasted on Filipino food in Romulo’s in Tomas Morato, the first thing I did upon returning home is open those Cookie Butters!

The Pleasant Surprise. The much awaited jars of joys were given unexpectedly by my Aunt from the States.
The Pleasant Surprise. You know the saying that you get what you want when you don’t want it that much anymore or something? That pretty much what happened with my Cookie Butter story.

THE VERDICT

The original flavor tasted like crushed cookies in a creamy, buttery texture. It is not greasy like some peanut butter. Also, that cinnamon and gingery tang eventually explodes in your mouth as soon as it melts in your mouth. It taste better and better every single bite. I really cannot think of something close to that.

The Cocoa Swirl variant is a wonderful unification of the original Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter and Nutella. Truly, a match made in heaven.

Everything it touches turned magical. Even the everyday pan de sal seemed so exquisite with ti.

Nonetheless, after five days of having it as my breakfast, it lost its touch. It still tasted good; however, it lost its magic now.

I guess it’s really worth a try but to get lost in its hype and spend hundreds or worst, thousands of pesos over and over again for some bread spread is so impractical and foolish unless you are some rich person who has no problem with money.

I’m hoping that one day, Trader Joe’s would really have a local distributor in the country so that we could buy it in our local supermarkets at hopefully, half the price on-line. Then again, I’m still sticking with my peanut butter no matter what.

Pea
The Timeless Classic. Nothing beats this little baby for me.
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