For spring break junior year, I went to visit my friend Sam who was studying abroad in Paris. I had been abroad the previous semester, but I never made it to France, so I was pumped to see Paris. I ate my body weight in crepes, macaroons, and croque monsieurs, but my favorite French delicacy came from a jar: Speculoos. Sam introduced it to me and promised it would change my life. It did. Think peanut butter, but with a Teddy Graham flavor instead of nutty. It literally tastes like smashed graham crackers and cinnamon, and it’s amazing on toast, bagels, and with pretzels. If it weren’t so fattening, I would sit down with a full jar and a spoon, and eat the entire thing. It’s that good.
I brought an entire jar back with me, but sadly, it disappeared pretty quickly. And then I was left with no Speculoos, and nowhere near to find some more. And then a miracle happened: My friend Margo’s sister, Patra, found it at Trader Joe’s. It’s obviously not the real thing because the actual brand is only sold in France, but Trader Joe’s has its own version of it. It tastes slightly different, but it’s a great substitute for the real thing. They call it “Cookie Butter.” Patra bought me a jar, which totally made my day when she gave it to me last week. I decided to wait to taste it until I was with Sam, since she was the matchmaker back when this love affair began. This past weekend, I made a spur of the moment trip down the shore to Sam’s house, and I brought my cookie butter. We both scooped out a spoonful, and we clinked our spoons together as we cheers’d to the official taste test. We were disappointed that it wasn’t exactly the same, but let’s be honest, it’s unrealistic that we even expected it to be. I’m grateful that an American version even exists, and I will keep it stocked in my pantry until I find myself in France again to buy the real stuff.
(Trader Joe’s “Cookie Butter”)