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Vermeiren speculoos

Speculoos (sold as Biscoff in the United States and the United Kingdom) is a biscuit originally manufactured in Belgium. Although the name is similar to speculaas, speculoos is a different product. These originally Belgian biscuits are made without the mixture of spices used in speculaas.

The main ingredients of speculoos are wheat flour, candy syrup (from beet sugar), fat, and sometimes cinnamon.

Fewer spices are involved in the process of making Belgian speculoos compared to the Dutch speculaas, as the spices were much more expensive to import to Belgium as opposed to the Netherlands. Speculoos was developed in the 20th century around the area of Verviers and made as an alternative for people who couldn't afford the real Dutch speculaas. The origins of speculaas are much older. In the 2020s the names speculaas and speculoos are sometimes used interchangeably in Flanders.[1]


In Europe, Lotus Speculoos is the most recognized brand. This manufacturer supplied the biscuits individually packaged to the catering industry. In the United States and the United Kingdom, the same company is branded as Lotus Biscoff, short for biscuit with coffee. In October 2020, Lotus Bakeries decided to omit the word "speculoos" from local markets, to harmonise their brand.[2][3] Several chains of supermarkets have started their own product under their generic name. In the US, windmill or almond windmill cookies are mostly based on Speculoos.

Spread or paste[edit]

Workers in the Low Countries traditionally made a sandwich in the morning with butter and speculaas or speculoos cookies. This would develop into a spread-like consistency by lunchtime.[4][5] In 2008, two competitors entered a contest on the Belgian television show, The Inventors (de Bedenkers), with a spread made from speculoos cookies[5][6] — Els Scheppers, who reached the semi-finals, and the team of chef Danny De Mayer and Dirk De Smet, who were not selected as finalists. Spreads made from crushed Speculoos cookies went into production by three separate companies and become popular.[citation needed]

By 2007, several Belgian companies began marketing a speculoos paste, now available worldwide under various brands and names: as Speculla, Cookie Butter, and Biscoff Spread. As a form of spreadable Speculoos cookies, the flavor is caramelized and gingerbread-like, with a color similar to peanut butter[7] and a consistency ranging from creamy to granular or crunchy. The spread consists of 60% crushed speculoos cookies along with vegetable oils.[7][5] In the United States, the California-based and German-owned variety grocery store chain Trader Joe's sells their own brand of cookie butter, a thick buttery paste made up of the cookies, as well as their own cookie butter ice cream.[7]


  1. ^ Bob Struijcken (February 3, 2021). "Speculaas vs. speculoos. De verschillen tussen speculaas en speculoos". Koekjes Royale (in Dutch). Retrieved May 23, 2021.
  2. ^ "Lotus zegt vaarwel tegen 'speculoos' en kiest voor internationale naam".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ Obdeijn, Laura (2020-11-10). "#jesuisspeculoos strijdt tegen de naamsverandering van Speculoos". Het Parool (in Dutch). Retrieved 2021-12-24.
  4. ^ "What You Need to Know about Speculaas Cookies". About.com Food. Retrieved 2016-01-14.
  5. ^ a b c Castle, Steven (February 15, 2011). "A Cookie Paste Squeezed in the Middle of a Debate". The New York Times. In an earlier era, blue-collar workers used speculaas and speculoos as a sandwich filling (cheaper than cheese or meat) between pieces of buttered bread. By lunchtime the cookies would have softened into a paste.
  6. ^ "Belgian's popular bread spread not [sic] longer protected". Wolters Kluwer Law and Business. February 2011. Archived from the original on 2015-06-23. Retrieved 2016-04-08.
  7. ^ a b c "Speculoos Cookie Butter". Trader Joe's. Archived from the original on 2013-01-31. Speculoos Cookie Butter is, in its most simplistic terms, spreadable Speculoos cookies. Speculoos cookies are classic Belgian cookies with great crunch, and a slightly caramelized, almost-but-not-quite-gingerbread flavor. After the cookies are baked to a fabulous finish, they are crushed into a fine powder and mixed with magical ingredients (read: vegetable oils) and turned into a smooth, spreadable substance we call Cookie Butter. It resembles peanut butter in color and consistency.