We’ve been reading about biscoff — also called speculoos — for a while now. It took me forever to figure out what they were. I was shocked to find out that they were those little cookies you get on flights, and secretly relieved — I’d been embarrassed that I have a great fondness for those packaged airline snacks. I’ve been known to insist that Tom and Luke request them so that I could stash the extras in my carry-on bag.
Luke texted yesterday to ask if I could make cookies for a student council event. This was the perfect opportunity to make my own biscoff. I found a recipe on one of my favorite blogs. You’ll notice there’s no link or mention of the site — and there won’t be. Perhaps I made a mistake while following the recipe, but as my husband is fond of saying, we were not impressed. They weren’t bad, just dry and cakey.
A second search revealed the probable culprit: an egg. None of the other recipes had them; they were more along the lines of shortbread. I went with that version (on multiple blogs), but made two changes: I flipped the sugars, using twice as much brown sugar as white; and I used whole wheat as about a third of the flour.
The first cookies I made were bland side, so using some wheat flour contributes a subtle nutty flavor. (Skip the wheat flour and use nothing but all-purpose flour if you prefer.) Brown sugar adds a caramel note and a little extra moisture. We like heat (see my molasses cookies), so I used quite a lot of spice, including black pepper.
The result is delicately crisp, buttery, and packs a wallop in the spice department. They’re delicious on their own, but a drizzle of dark chocolate plays really well with the cinnamon and pepper. A few crystals of salt provide a surprising crunch. I used some gorgeous Himalayan sea salt that Tom had given me for Christmas (you can see the salmon-pink crystals in the photo), but any coarse sea salt will do. Use a light hand — these are cookies, after all, not pretzels.
Biscoff with Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt
makes about 60 cookies
1 1/3 cups flour
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp. black pepper
8 oz. (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chopped semisweet chocolate or chocolate chips
1 tsp. butter
1 tbs. coarse salt
In a small bowl, stir together the flours, salt, baking soda, and spices. Set aside.
Place the butter and both sugars in a large mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla. Gradually beat in the flour mixture until just combined. Scrape the dough onto a sheet of waxed paper or plastic wrap. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap well, and refrigerate for 10 minutes (longer and the dough will be too stiff to roll out). Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Line a large cookie sheet (or 2 smaller sheets) with parchment paper. Lightly sprinkle the countertop with flour; rub a little flour on a rolling pin as well. Unwrap the dough and roll out to 1/4-inch thick. Cut out shapes with a cookie cutter or a juice glass, or use a pizza cutter to cut squares. Place on the cookie sheet, about an inch apart — they will spread a bit.
Bake for 10 to 11 minutes until very lightly browned at the edges, and just slightly undercooked. Cool the cookies for 10 minutes on the cookie sheet (they will finish cooking then and firm up), then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
Place the chocolate in a small glass or ceramic bowl along with the butter. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Give the mixture a stir, then microwave on high for an additional 30 seconds. Stir again; if the chocolate is not yet melted, smooth and runny, microwave on 15-second intervals, stirring after each round, until the chocolate is of the proper consistency. Scrape the chocolate into a piping bag with a very small tip. If you don’t have a piping bag, scrape the chocolate into a small locking plastic bag, then snip off the corner. Take off only the tiniest bit, in order to create a thin stream of chocolate. Drizzle the cookies with the melted chocolate, then immediately top each cookie with a few crystals of salt. If you can stand it, keep your hands off for a few hours to let the chocolate set up.