Saturday, July 24, 2010

Brownies with Speculoos Pâte à Tartiner

Serves 8


This requires a little background, I believe. A pâte à tartiner is simply a spread, usually sweet, something you would put on bread or a crepe or a scone, for example. Nutella is probably the pâte à tartiner that Americans know best, but brace yourselves, fellow countrymen, because there’s an up and coming, snot-nosed hotshot called Speculoos Pâte à Tartiner ready to take its place. I first read about this on David Lebovitz's blog a few months ago when he discovered it at his local Monoprix. I was completely inspired and outrageously curious. Luckily a friend of mine was in Paris at that moment, so I shot off a quick email with the link to the story, and asked him, if it wasn’t too much trouble, to pick up a jar for me. My generous friend brought TWO jars back for me!


But let me backtrack: what is this stuff?? Maybe you’ve heard of a sublime little gingerbread cookie called Biscoff—you get them on airplanes sometimes in the states (after a little research I’ve discovered that it’s Delta Airlines that serves them regularly). image

Or you can find them at a lot of grocery stores in the fancy cookie section--they are European, after all. In France those cookies are called Speculoos, and the French have a passion for dipping them in hot spiced wine. Perhaps if you’ve seen the movie Amelie you remember a scene where the Glass Man gives Amelie “du vin chaud et des speculoos!” Or maybe not. Anyway, this pâte à tartiner is the soft liquid version of that cookies. It’s like Nutella, like I said, but Speculoos flavored! And it’s indescribable. Everyone that comes to the house these days gets a sample—“Wait, don’t go yet, I have something incredible for you to taste!” And they all marvel. No one knows quite what to do with it, since our country doesn’t have a long history of putting sweet spreads on bread beyond jam, and we don’t do much crepe eating normally. Most of the lucky samplers have agreed, therefore, that the best solution is to just stick your finger in the jar once a day, when you need just a little somethin’ sweet. I agreed, until I saw a recipe in Sunset Magazine for brownies with globs of Nutella in the center. I HAD to try this with the Speculoos Pâte à Tartiner. I know most people don’t have access to random other people who are returning from France and who can smuggle a jar home for them, so you’ll be glad to know that the American branch of the company, Biscoff, sells the spread.

1/2 C butter

1 oz. unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped

1 C sugar

1/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 C flour

1/2 C Speculoos Pâte à Tartiner (Ok, or Nutella…)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 8 cups of a muffin tin (I used cupcake papers because I don’t trust my muffin tin, a cheap piece of crap, to release the things I bake in it). Melt butter in microwave, stir in chopped chocolate until smooth. Add sugar and cocoa and stir to blend. Whisk in eggs, vanilla and salt. Add flour and blend until smooth. Spoon batter into muffin cups. Make a small dent in the center of each and spoon in 1 Tbs of pâte à tartiner. Bake for 20-24 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes, loosen, remove from pan, and transfer to a cooling rack.



  1. Funny, my brother just brought back a few jars last time he was in Belgium. He raved about the stuff so my mother got us a jar too. Kids love it. I prefer Nutella but those brownies look good!

  2. I just read about a similar product the other day and thought of you. Looks delicious!