For the uninitiated Speculoos are Belgian cookies. Wonderfully crisp buttery and spice filled cookies that are served alongside coffee and cappuccino in cafes and coffee houses across the country. You can also buy them by the bagful in grocery stores; yes they are that good and addictive. They are similar to a gingersnap but less gingery–if that makes any sense. However you describe them, they are that good. And as if the cookies themselves weren’t enough they even sell the cookies in paste form. Similar in texture to peanut butter or Nutella the cookies are ground up into a creamy spread that can be smeared onto toast, sliced fruit or eaten with a spoon directly from a jar. (Not that I would know anything about that). And every Belgian pantry, including my own, always has a jar of this yummy goodness on hand.
And having a jar of Speculoos was perfect after I bought a bag of apples from the market and decided to bake these apple bars from the Yankee Kitchen Ninja. The Ninj’s recipe called for Biscoff which is essentially Speculoos with a different name. Bar cookies are great since they only require one baking pan and these cookies are no exception, coming together quickly and filling your entire house with the warm smell of caramel apples and spicy Speculoos. Your neighbors will be jealous!
Apple Speculoos Bars
8 tablespoons butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup Speculoos spread
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 small apples, peeled, cored and diced
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Melt the butter and sugar in heavy saucepan set over medium heat. Stir continually until the mixture is smooth.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the Speculoos spread. Cool slightly. (The batter will be very stiff but this is OK).
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a bowl. Set aside.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, to the sugar mixture, beating well between each addition.
- Stir in the vanilla.
- Add the wet mixture to the dry, and stir until smooth.
- Fold in the apples as best you can.
- Pour the batter into a lightly greased 9 x 13 pan and bake for about 30 minutes.
- Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into bars.
Yields: 24 bars