March 13, 2013 by E.
For those of you out there wondering, what the heck is Speculoos?, you have three options.
- If you’re in or around New York City, seek out the Waffles and Dinges food truck parked near the west entrance of Central Park (corner of W 59th and 8th Ave). Don’t even bother looking at the menu – just walk right up and order the Throwdown waffle. You can thank me later. (This is how A. and I first discovered this amazing Belgian spread.)
- Get thee to Trader Joe’s immediately, where it’s available as a jarred spread or as a filling with a dark chocolate bar. Any time A. and I shop at TJ’s, we always leave with at least 4 bars of Speculoos chocolate.
- If neither of the above are viable options, it’s also available online (but you’re probably going to pay a premium for the convenience. Worth it? Absolutely).
Whichever course of action you take, I can almost guarantee that you’ll fall in love with this stuff. It’s highly addicting, with a nutty, gingerbread-y taste. It has basically the same texture and consistency as smooth peanut butter and is great with pancakes, toast, muffins, waffles, ice cream, and basically everything.
When I saw this recipe over on Annie’s Eats, I thought the brownies looked amazing (because her food photography is out of this world), but I was immediately turned off by the peanut butter frosting. I am probably the only person in the entire world who loves chocolate, and loves peanut butter but hates them together.
Actually, I don’t really like peanut butter in dessert applications whatsoever. Weird, I know.
Anyway, when I was looking for a dessert recipe to make for A.’s coworkers (his boss has started stopping by A.’s desk to ask what I’m baking this week), I immediately discounted the brownie with PB frosting recipe, because even though most of the dessert gets sent to the office with A., the chef certainly deserves a taste for herself, and who wants to bake something they know they won’t like? Not this girl. I’m too selfish for all that.
But then I opened the cabinet where we keep the Speculoos (not to spoon it from the jar straight into my mouth or anything), and an idea hit me. I could make the frosting for my chocolate fudge brownies with Speculoos instead of peanut butter. So I did. And oh my gosh they were good.
For this dessert, start with the base recipe for Annie’s Chocolate Fudge Brownies with Whipped Peanut Butter Frosting. I made a few modifications, which I’ve noted below.
- Instead of using a double broiler to melt the butter, sugar, and cocoa powder, I simply melted the ingredients in a medium pot over low heat, stirring frequently.
- When I tasted the batter, it seemed just a little too bitter for me. I knew the brownies would be topped with sweet frosting, but I wanted to add a little more sweetener to take the dark chocolate edge off. I added 1/2 tsp agave syrup to the mixture before pouring the batter into an 8 x 8 aluminum baking pan.
- For the frosting, I followed Annie’s instructions, but only used 1/2 cup of Speculoos. I didn’t want the gingerbread flavor to overwhelm the chocolate brownies. I also had a lot of frosting left over (about 1/3 cup), so next time I’ll probably decrease the butter and powdered sugar amounts as well.
- The most difficult part of this entire recipe was waiting for the brownies to fully cool before smearing them with frosting.
- I am no professional baker, and that certainly shows in my frosting abilities, but these things taste stupendous, and that’s what counts, right?
Moral of the story, these were super easy to make, and required only about 30 minutes of hands-on time. Total time, including baking and cooling and frosting, was a little less than 1.5 hours. If you like the combination of chocolate and peanut butter, of if Speculoos is too hard to come by, I highly recommend that you stick with the original recipe. But if you’re looking for something a little different, try the Speculoos frosting. Either way, you won’t be disappointed!