What Is Cookie Butter Really Made Of?

We all remember the height of the cookie butter craze, that delightful moment when we discovered that cookie butter was indeed a thing (cue Trader Joe's Speculoos Cookie Butter flying off the shelves). This sweet, spreadable treat swiftly became a seasonal comfort and a holiday favorite, and it remains so to this day. After all, who can resist a cookie that you can spread on ... more cookies?

Cookie butter actually traces its origins back to Belgium, where it was crafted from — you guessed it — a cookie called speculoos. However, Lotus Biscoff Spread — which features those packaged Biscoff cookies frequently served on airplanes — is the leading European brand that really put cookie butter on the map. More recently, this delectable spread has made its way across the pond to the U.S., where numerous brands have emerged. The spread has even found its way into items like coffee and ice cream.

While you've likely tried some yourself by now, you might not be entirely certain about what, precisely, you were enjoying. So, what is cookie butter made of? This creamy delight is fashioned by blending a few key ingredients — cookies, sugar, water, and some sort of fat, like vegetable oil — into a thick, luscious dessert spread.

Cookie butter's ingredients and flavors

Arguably, you can make cookie butter using any type of cookie, but the specific variety of cookies traditionally used for this sweet spread truly define its character. These cookies are none other than the crispy, shortcrust gingerbread delights known as speculoos, hailing from Belgium, and they are what lend cookie butter its uniquely spiced flavor.

This distinct flavor arises from the fact that speculoos cookies are made with a blend of strong, fragrant spices that evoke holiday sentiments. These include cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, anise, ginger, cardamom, and even a touch of white pepper. Due to the cookies' inherent buttery and caramelized nature, they give rise to a complex and flavorful spread once transformed into a creamy paste.

While cookie butter is a processed product that often contains additional ingredients and preservatives, you'll only need four essentials to make cookie butter yourself: speculoos cookies, water, some kind of sugar (typically cane sugar, brown sugar, or powdered sugar), and a fat source (typically vegetable oil, but other fats like butter or condensed milk can also be used). When combined, these ingredients thicken, emulsify, and sweeten the crushed cookies, culminating in the magic that is cookie butter.

How to eat and enjoy cookie butter

Cookie butter is delicious when enjoyed on its own, whether you're spreading it on a piece of toast or dipping sliced apples or pretzel sticks straight into the jar. However, there are also numerous other ways to utilize this delectable dessert spread that you may not have previously considered.

The consistency of cookie butter lends itself well to various creamy concoctions. You can experiment by using it to infuse homemade ice cream, mixing it into a smoothie or milkshake, or even using it as the base of a frosting. It's also great for baking, especially considering its spices and flavors harmonize with a wide array of baked goods. You can incorporate cookie butter into anything from muffins, banana breads, and cheesecakes to blondies, brownies, and fruit crisps (and, of course, classic cookies). If you're looking for something a little different, give cookie butter fudge or cookie butter bark a try.

But it doesn't only work well in classic sweet treats. You can bake it into breakfast granola bars, spread it generously on puff pastry for a delectable baked brie, or whip it into a frothy latte to add a touch of sweetness to a bitter and bold cup of coffee.