Do you ever fly Delta? When they offer you peanuts, pretzels, or cookies, do you choose the cookies? If you choose peanuts and pretzels, is it because you haven't ever had the Delta cookies and thus don't appreciate the transportive culinary experience you are missing when you let that ship sail? Because really. The Biscoff cookies that Delta serves you in-flight are some of the best cookies ever. They are v. European-tasting, and that is because they are indeed European. They're crisp spiced cookies made by the Belgian bakery called Lotus. They are the only thing I like about flying (unless you count eating at the MSP airport's mini-French Meadow Bakery across from Gate F4, which might not count because that isn't really "flying" so much as hanging out at the airport - oh and I know there is also a larger, table-service French Meadow Bakery at the opposite side of the Lindbergh Terminal near the entrance to Gates E, D, and C, but I don't like that one as much).
I'm really lucky that Northwest and Delta merged because before they did I didn't like anything about flying.
So in the foodblogosphere, there's been talk here and there about this European spread called "Speculoos spread". It's sometimes compared to peanut butter. Or, probably more aptly, on account of its decadence, and European-ness, Nutella. Speculoos spread is notably different from peanut butter and even Nutella, however, in that it is entirely lacking in nutritional value. No peanuts. No hazelnuts. Not a lick of protein or fiber in this stuff. That's because it is made of COOKIES. It's cookie spread. Or, as David Lebovitz called it, awkwardly, "gingersnap paste". It's Biscoff cookies, mixed with more oil and more sugar than are already in the cookies to begin with, which you use to spread on your toast or apples. Or cookies. Naturally, I've been wanting to get my hands on this for years. I was waiting for the right time, and that time arrived when my husband and I, during our daily research on how to earn Delta miles (we're going to Italy next year and would like to get a flight or four for free if possible, and I assure you our dedication to the cause is making it seem more and more possible every day), discovered that you can buy Biscoff cookies as well as Biscoff (Speculoos) spread through the Delta Skymiles Shopping website, for several miles per dollar.
It arrived last week. I don't really have to tell you that it's WON-DER-FUL, do I? It's cookie spread, for heaven's sake. Of course it's wonderful.
That said, it's an odd pantry item to incorporate into one's meals, at least if such meals exclude my new favorite bedtime snack: a heaping spoonful of Speculoos spread. I've wanted to bake with it but feel kind of weird making cookies out of something that used to be cookies... so I opted for granola.
Um. DANG. So good. And, you know, kind if redeeming, since the way I combined it with grains and seeds and plan to serve it with plain yogurt and some sliced bananas or roasted apples allows the flavor of Speculoos spread to work its magic while being more than just cookies.
Oh and you don't have to order it online. They had it at the Lunds across the river last week. On sale, no less!
I basically used Mark Bittman's formula/ratio for granola. I think even more Biscoff spread and oil would have been even more delicious, but I was committed to making this as breakfast-worthy as possible. If you are one of those people who can eat anything and remain healthy and thin always, go to town and double both.
Here's what I did.
1. Preheated oven to 300 degrees.
2. Placed following ingredients in a bowl:
3 cups oats
3 cups puffed millet
1 cup King Arthur Flour harvest grains blend
1 cup King Arthur Flour malted wheat flakes
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup wheat germ
1/3 cup oat bran
1/3 cup blackstrap molasses
1/3 cup rice bran oil (any oven-proof oil would be fine here)
1 heaping cup Biscoff spread
1 teaspoon coarse salt + cinnamon or other spices (I had Cinnamon Salt. It was perfect.)
3. Mixed it all with my hands. A spoon would work but hands are fun and then you can form big clumps, which I quite like in my granola.
4. Spread mixture on two baking sheets.
5. Placed on racks in oven, put oven on convection bake setting at 300 degrees, tossed granola carefully every ten minutes and rotated pans (both shelves and direction), baked for 30 minutes total, allowed to cool.
6. Put some in a jar for a friend (Hi, Friend!) and the rest in a big IKEA cereal container for my family.
I can't stop eating it. It's salty-sweet addictive breakfast heaven.
P.S.!!!! Speaking of salty-sweet addictiveness! Christina Toki's Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook is finally out. I am not allowed to buy any more cookbooks this year. But my birthday is in about 60 days.
P.P.S. Biscoff (American) = Speculoos (European). Just to clear up any confusion.