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Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery


Kerry Beal
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Today I'm reverse engineering the bottle of Trader Joe's Cookie Butter that RobertM brought me when he came for the chocolate workshop.

This morning was the first time I got around to tasting it - it's awfully yummy stuff. I used it to make something akin to gianduja that could be cut for a filling - but the one issue that came up for the fellow I was experimenting with it for was that the jar says "may contain traces of nuts" and he runs a nut free chocolate business.

So I grabbed some Simple Pleasures cinnamon spice cookies that claim to be made in a nut free facility and decided to put together my own cookie butter.

The jar says that it contains 57% speculoos cookies, palm oil, canola oil and lecithin.

So I powdered 100 grams of cookies in my thermomix and added about 46 grams of a mixture of coconut oil and rice bran oil along with a nice pinch of sunflower based lecithin.

It was not as smooth as the bottle I was imitating, so I pulled out my Sumeet and went to town on the mixture for a minute or two. Now it's very, very smooth.

The flavour is not as complex as the original - however the cookie used was not as complex as the TJ's speculoos so I am not surprised. It's a little less sweet than their version which I think will actually be preferable when using it to make a gianduja substitute. I bet I could even make a 'cracker butter' with saltines that would work in this application.

Still waiting to see if it firms up to the same consistency when it reaches room temperature - but overall I think it's been a success.

IMG_0580.jpg

IMG_0577.jpg

The slightly too thick gianduja made with the TJ's cookie butter.

Anyone else been reverse engineering anything lately?

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I have something similar to that called Original Speculoos made by Lotus which I buy at a Dutch grocery store. Denninger's probably carries it as well. It takes great control to not open the jar and eat great gobs of the stuff. It is speculoos cookie on a spoon.

Edited by ElsieD (log)
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Lotus sells their speculoos here under the name of Biscoff (and they are familiar to anyone who has flown Delta airlines, possibly the best part about flying Delta these days). We can also buy Biscoff-brand spread, which claims on the label to be nut-free. Both are readily available at even the one yucky supermarket here in my town.

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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Am I the only one that hasnt heard of a cookie butter before?

Nope. This is a new one to me as well.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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We first tasted speculoos spread in Belgium nearly two years ago; I think it had been around even before then. I first noticed it in the U.S. shortly after we returned from that trip. I love the stuff. My husband, who adores speculoos cookies, doesn't care for it.

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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Here's a bit of history of the spread. It's a new thing, so, there's not a lot of tradition surrounding it, thus not a lot of expectations about flavor being one way or another. I have made a spread from an almond cookie and used it as a cake filling.

The speculoos spread is indeed a new thing in the Netherlands and Belgium, but speculaas cookies (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speculoos) have been eaten on sandwiches for decades!

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On the topic of reverse-engineering, it's been mostly brainstorming and day-dreaming on my end as I haven't invested in any equipment or new gadgets - yet. But since the eG workshop I've been visiting various shops (See's Candies and Chuao a local chocolatier) in an effort to guess what technique they use for their products. Some sampling may have been involved. And now I always check to see if their chocolates have smooth and shiny bottoms! :biggrin:

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On the topic of reverse-engineering, it's been mostly brainstorming and day-dreaming on my end as I haven't invested in any equipment or new gadgets - yet. But since the eG workshop I've been visiting various shops (See's Candies and Chuao a local chocolatier) in an effort to guess what technique they use for their products. Some sampling may have been involved. And now I always check to see if their chocolates have smooth and shiny bottoms! :biggrin:

And isn't it interesting how often they don't! And their chocolate it clearly out of temper.

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  • 2 weeks later...

really interesting. Now this can be done with other types of suitable cookies...even perhaps homemade ones...

It's been happening. This person made an oreo cookie butter (I haven't tried it) and they were inspired by biscoff:

http://www.bunsinmyoven.com/2012/03/27/oreo-cookie-spread/

Here's another one (this one looks better texturally, I think):

http://www.thekitchenpaper.com/oreo-cookie-butter/

As much as I dislike linking anything paleo, this girl made a cookie dough butter:

http://www.girlgonecountry.com/recipes-2/cookie-dough-butter-primal-gluten-free-low-carb/

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really interesting. Now this can be done with other types of suitable cookies...even perhaps homemade ones...

It's been happening. This person made an oreo cookie butter (I haven't tried it) and they were inspired by biscoff:

http://www.bunsinmyoven.com/2012/03/27/oreo-cookie-spread/

Here's another one (this one looks better texturally, I think):

http://www.thekitchenpaper.com/oreo-cookie-butter/

As much as I dislike linking anything paleo, this girl made a cookie dough butter:

http://www.girlgonecountry.com/recipes-2/cookie-dough-butter-primal-gluten-free-low-carb/

Oh. My. Gosh. The Oreo Cookie Butters look positively decadent! But what to use it on/with (besides a large tasting spoon :wink: )?

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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So I took my cookie butter and made a gianduja from it. The first batch I used the same proportions I would use for hazelnut paste. It was a little crumbly - so I figured out how much fat needed to be added to make something with the viscosity of gianduja made with hazelnut and it turned out to be about 1/2 and 1/2 milk chocolate and cookie butter. Perfect cutting texture.

I also made a layered variation with a dark chocolate version on the bottom and a white chocolate version on the top - the white was considerably softer than the dark. It made a perfect filling with the juxtaposition of textures.

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I just tried it using a store bought "name brand" chocolate chip cookie. I used a food proccesor to crumble and mix the ingredients. You are 100% correct, it's no where near as smooth. It's tasty though, again, not nearly as much of a "wow" factor as the Speculoos cookie butter. Now I guess I need a Sumeet.......

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I bet I could even make a 'cracker butter' with saltines that would work in this application.

I like the sound of this... and it led me to wonder about doing the same thing with pretzels. I don't have a gadget that's going to get things as smooth as what you're doing but I'm tempted to do some playing around just to check out the flavors and I'll worry about the texture once I decide if I like the result.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Oh, yeah! Cracker butter with Heath bar bits and dark chocolate, or maybe a savory one with deviled ham? Might be worth thinking about... %>)

"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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I bet I could even make a 'cracker butter' with saltines that would work in this application.

I like the sound of this... and it led me to wonder about doing the same thing with pretzels. I don't have a gadget that's going to get things as smooth as what you're doing but I'm tempted to do some playing around just to check out the flavors and I'll worry about the texture once I decide if I like the result.
I've been making milk chocolate bars filled with a mix of milk chocolate, pretzels, and browned butter for fat. Since I don't have a Sumeet (yet!), I process the pretzels and butter in the Robot Coupe for a long while. It does not get perfectly smooth but I don't mind the bits of texture. I'd like to try potato chips at some point too, shouldn't even need to add fat in that case.
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  • 1 month later...

Kerry, I just got a wet grinder and brought some ingredients home to play with. Will I ruin it if I put cocoa nibs in it without getting them into a paste first, or will it just take longer? I have some Valrhona nibs that are fairly small already, like grains of rice or smaller. Thanks!

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The latest version of the stone grinder used to make bean to bar chocolate uses the nibs straight - but it's had some sort of adjustment to make it press down a little harder and to cool it better. I suspect it won't ruin it if you put them in whole - but just keep and eye on it for overheating.

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