seitan is my motor



December 2011



Spekulatius Caramel Chocolate Bars & a Giveaway!

Hello! I am glad you are still there. For obvious reasons it’s been a bit quiet on this blog. Since I didn’t have much time to comment on other people’s blogs, I wanted to find another way to thank you for still reading mine.

Tonight German children will put their boots outside the house to find them filled with chocolate, nuts, oranges, and similar things tomorrow morning on St. Nicholas day. I would love to go outside and play St. Nicholas for all of you. But since that would leave me broken pretty soon, I had to think of something else.

If you leave a comment below one of you can win this little St. Nicholas package. It consists of:  a bag of Glühwein spices. Glühwein is spiced hot wine, which is very popular in Germany. People use to drink it at Christmas markets. There’s also a bag of Lebkuchen spices. Lebkuchen are similar to gingerbread. There are many different varieties, some are soft, some hard, some are coated with chocolate, some are filled with jam… Anyway, with this spicemix in your hands, you can make your own. Spekulatius is a spiced cookie and if you have been reading this blog for some time, you know that it is my favourite cookie. Speculoos cookies are from Belgium and they are similar to Spekulatius. The aren’t made with as many spices and they do taste quite differently from Spekulatius. (More important for their flavour is the sugar syrup they are made with. That is why they are called caramel cookies [Karamellgebäck] in German.) They are also used to make speculoos paste, a spread made from those cookies. I blogged about that tasty Dutch spread a couple of times and even came up with a homemade version because the spread is hard to find in stores over here (fortunately I have a speculoos spread dealer who brings the stuff from the Netherlands). Last year a German supermarked chain came up with something similar: Spekulatius spread. It tastes quite similar although the texture is a bit different.  If you look closely at the picture you can probably see that the jar has already been opened and someone stole a spoon or two. Don’t look at me. I have a good excuse. (See below.) Of course the winner will get a new jar.

Now if you’d like to win this little package, please leave a comment below. The drawing ends on December 10th, 3 pm CET.

Now back to my excuse. I needed to open a jar of cookie spread because I wanted to make cookie bars. These spekulatius caramel chocolate bars are rich and decadent. Maybe even deathly if you eat the whole batch. (You will be tempted to do this.) But so good! If you don’t have access to Spekulatius or speculoos (in the US it is called biscoff) cookie spread, you can make your own, following the link above. Or use peanut or other nut butter instead and add some cinnamon to it. Note that this recipe requires some advance preparation: start by making a batch of dulce de leche the day before.

Spekulatius (speculoos) Caramel Chocolate Bars

Grease a 28 x 18 cm (7 x 11 inch) pan or line with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F)

To make the cookie crust:

120 g (1/2 cup) margarine, softened
50 g (1/4 cup) sugar
180 g (1 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt

In a bowl, combine margarine and sugar. Beat with a hand-held blender until light and fluffy. Add flour and salt and use your hands to form a dough. Press into bottom of prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool completely. (Don’t remove from the pan.)

Spread 150 g (5.3 oz) of Spekulatius spread on top.

Gently warm 270 g ( 1 cup) of dulce de leche on the stove until it has a rather liquid consistency again. Pour over speculoos layer and distribute evenly. Be careful not to mix the Spekulatius and the dulce de leche layer. Place in the fridge and let set over night.

Melt 150 g (5.3 oz) semisweet chocolate and drizzle on top. Let cool. Carefully cut into little bars.


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