Football season makes me happy because people who love sports tend to also love snacks and I happen to love providing people with both snacks and treats at sporting games. Do they have such a thing as Football Friends? You know like an equivalent to Soccer Moms? If they do, then that would be me.
I could care less for who wins or loses but did you say you wanted another fried beer-battered nacho? Oh sure, I’d love to get that for you. How about another a chicken wing? Did you say with sauce or without?
But I will let you know the real reason why I love football season. It is because it usually means I have a whole bunch of hungry people in one room – ready and willing to taste all the desserts I am testing out for the holidays. It’s like my pre-season heaven. You could say it is the spring training of my dessert ideas. I take notes and listen to feedback. Perhaps I need to trade out the milk chocolate chips for semi-sweet in that cookie over there. Good to know. Peppermint wasn’t looking too good in the summer off-season. I know, noted.
How many sports joke references can a non-sports fan make before getting everything wrong? I am pretty sure I just passed it back there somewhere.
But just like sports has a lot of fans, so does speculoos cookie butter from TJ’s! What a great tie-in!
I am fairly certain that cookie butter deserves an entire post because it really is just that good. Google “TJ’s cookie butter” and you will get keywords like “obsession” “OMG!!” “BEST THING EVER” which means that the next time you are at TJ’s you should probably pick up a jar so you know what the hype is all about.
Which then means you can eat a quarter of the jar with a spoon and then bake the rest into these bars. And since I think there happens to be some football going on this weekend – what a perfect excuse you have to whip these up. Be a good Football Friend!
Speculoos cookie butter is like something along the lines of what ground-up graham crackers, gingersnaps and various fall/winter spices would taste like if they were all swirled up into the consistency of peanut butter. Basically – amazing.
Because this creation of cookie butter is so delicious, I have been wanting to bake with it for a long time. Thus these bars were formed. The base starts with a cookie butter blondie bar. If you are unfamiliar with a blondie, they are like a chocolate chip cookie with no chips and in bar form. So pretty much all around good times on the cookie front. The sprinkle of cinnamon sugar creates a crispy sugary cinnamon topping that a) looks pretty and b) tastes delicious. But I didn’t want the cookie butter flavor to end, so they are topped with a creamy cookie butter frosting.
How’s your sugar rush doing now?
These treats taste somewhere between a cake and a blondie brownie but it is the frosting that really gives this dessert major points on the scoreboard. It is cookie butter flavor overload.
Get ready for Sunday good time snacks, and gooooooo [insert your team here]!
Frosted Speculoos Cookie Butter Bars
Makes about 25 small squares
For the sprinkle:
1 tablespoon (12 grams) sugar
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) cinnamon
For the cookie bars:
1 1/4 cup (156 grams) flour
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) salt
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) cinnamon
4 tablespoons (56 grams or half a stick) butter, melted
1/2 cup (110 grams) sugar
1/2 cup (115 grams) brown sugar
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla
1/2 cup (133 grams) speculoos cookie butter*
For the frosting:
2 tablespoons (28 grams) butter, very soft
generous 1/3 cup (about 90 grams) speculoos cookie butter*
2 cups (250 grams) powdered sugar
5 tablespoons (74 ml) half and half or heavy cream, plus more as needed
Make the cookie bars: Preheat the oven to 375. Butter an 8 x 8 pan then line with two sheets of overlapping parchment. In a small bowl mix together the sugar and cinnamon for the sprinkle. Set both aside. In a medium bowl whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together.
In another medium bowl mix the melted butter with the sugars until combined. Add vanilla and both eggs and mix well until incorporated. Add the cookie butter and stir until smooth and fully combined. Add the flour mixture to the cookie butter mixture and stir to combine. Spread into the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula.
Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the top of the bars and gently tap the pan back and forth so that the sprinkle is evenly spread across the top of the cookies. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then transfer to a rack until fully cooled.**
Make the frosting: In a medium bowl beat together the butter, cookie butter and powdered sugar until well combined, then slowly stream the half and half into the powdered sugar mixture. Increase the speed of the mixer and beat the frosting for least 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add a bit more half and half as needed to achieve a spreadable consistency. Generously spread the frosting over the cooled bars. Slice and serve.
*Speculoos cookie butter is sold at Trader Joe’s and a similar product is sold as Biscoff Spread. If you are unable to find either then this would be a fabulous recipe to audition with your favorite peanut butter – knowing the taste will be quite different – but no less delicious.
**I did not have to travel with my cookie bars, but if I did then I would have let the cookie bars cool completely before frosting them right in the pan and transporting. They won’t be as pretty if they are frosted, sliced and then packed away so I would wait until arrival at my destination, use the parchment sling to remove the bars, then slice n’ serve on the spot!