Food, Fun, Ohio, recipe, savory, Sweets

Summer Sides

Working hard at the grill

Working hard at the grill

Some other Ohio dishes included Bobby Flay’s grilled sweet potato fries, ice, cream and spiraled zucchini and tomatoes.  First off Bobby Flay was sorely mistaken as the sweet potatoes were nothing like a fry and were a nuisance to grill which resulted in unevenly cooked spuds.  I tend to make basic ice creams and mix in a premade cookie or confection.  First here is the recipe for those lucky enough to have an ice cream maker.


un-impressive “fries”


3/4 cup cookie butter spread, divided
1 1/4 cups whole milk, chilled
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups heavy cream, chilled
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 Speculoos cookies, chopped into small chunks


Place 1/2 cup of the cookie butter in a heat-safe bowl and microwave until just melted. Let cool.

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cookie butter, milk, and sugar until the sugar is dissolved, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the cream, vanilla, and salt until combined. Place in the refrigerator until well chilled, at least 30 minutes or up to 1 day.

Pour the chilled mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. In the last few moments of churning, gradually add in the Speculoos cookie chunks until and continue churning until incorporated.

Slightly melt the remaining 1/4 cup cookie butter spread. Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container in batches, spooning the Speculoos spread in between layers of ice cream in a swirled pattern. Cover the ice cream surface with plastic wrap and freeze until the ice cream is firm and flavor is ripened, at least 2 hours.

IMG_3067Now for those lucky enough to have a spiralizer, I went crazy for Gina’s Skinnytaste “zoodles” that are irresistibly simple and made even more delectable with home grown zucchini, tomatoes, and garlic.  Her pictures are great so here is a link to her blog.
I didn’t find a need to deviate from the original recipe as it can be used as a base for any type of fish/meat and a great side dish that compliments a multitude of dishes and breads.


Food, Fun, NYC

Cookie Butter Puppy Chow

I needed to make something quick and transportable to Mary’s clothes swap party so I thought muddy buddies/trash (because some mix it in a trash bag)/ puppy chow would do the trick.  It only takes a few ingredients and is a quick recipe I could place in a few tupperware containers and it would not taste different when left out for potentially hours at a party.  I also knew I had to change the original recipe in order for it to be blogworthy so I simply replaced the butter and peanut butter with speculoos (or Cookie Butter if your a TJ’s shopper).  I found a few recipes online, but I was not about to buy a box of cereal and have only one cup left over, and I did not see the point of adding the butter when more speculoos would just add more flavor.


tossing the oats in the melted chocolate/speculoos

Here is the recipe for the original

9 cups Rice Chex®, Corn Chex® or Chocolate Chex® cereal (or combination)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1. Into large bowl, measure cereal; set aside.
2. In 1-quart microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter uncovered on High 1 minute; stir. Microwave about 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Pour into 2-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag.
3. Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container in refrigerator

Here is what I used….

3/4 jar of Speculoos

12.5 oz box of Nature’s Path Crispy Oaty Bites Cereal

the cereal drying in its containers

the cereal drying in its containers

3/4 C of semi sweet chocolate chunks (I eyeballed this)

about 1C powdered sugar (once again eyeballed)

*Note no need to spread on waxed paper.  I placed mine in three different containers (which I consolidated into two to transport).  Also try these straight out of the freezer!


Ladies trying on “new” clothes

Food, Fun, NYC, Sweets

Friendsgiving 3- Crunchy Speculoos Blondies

I had to finish the day off with something sweet so Mary and I also made speculoos blondies.  Now we should all know by now that I love a blondie for their dense under baked quality, and I also love cookie butter.  I needed to introduce my favorite guilty pleasure to Mary who had never tried cookie butter.  Once again I was glad to have some on hand as it was out of stock at TJ’s.  I took the basic recipe from the blog Tasty Retreat which was adapted from traditional peanut butter blondies.

IMG_3070I need to find a new way to cream my butter and sugar mixture as my little hand mixture seems to spray batter everywhere, so I combined all my ingredients by hand and it turned out great.  These are the ingredients I used.

• 1/2 cup speculoos (I used a little more)
• ⅓ cup butter, room temperature
• ⅔ cup white sugar
• ½ cup brown sugar, packed
• 2 eggs
• ½ teaspoon vanilla
• 1 cup whole wheat flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips


Like any other baked good I creamed the butter, sugars, and crunchy speculoos to add air to the batter. Then I whisked in the eggs and vanilla.  And folded the dry ingredients to a thick batter.  I  pressed the batter into a parchment lined 8X8 pan to ensure easy cleanup and baked at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. I sprinkled the chocolate chips over the blondie and placed back in the oven turned off for a minute to melt the chips.  Then I spread out the melted chips for a chocolate layer to top off the treats.  The hardest part was waiting for the chocolate to set.  So we ate them warm with a cup of fresh apple cider from the farmers market down the street.  I like to cut them into little bite size pieces because they are so dense and rich.

Tips for next time:

I would add a little cinnamon and nutmeg to my batter as well as a little more speculoos because I love the flavor so much.  I might also try it using milk chocolate chips or speed with more speculoos as Tasty Retreat suggests!IMG_3072

Food, Fun, NYC, Sweets

This is a big deal for me 50 posts I thought this day would never come.   I thought my blog would last as long as the domain name I bought several years ago called  yep that was my idea to write about every food factory in America and rate them based off of how fun the tours are and how many freebies they dish out on the tour.   In honor of the 50th post I wanted to write a success story, something that I really enjoy, something decadent and delicious, something like Speculoos.  I stopped by the famous Waffles and Dinges truck in Lincoln center today to see how much a jar of their speculoos costs and I was shocked to see it costs more than 2x the amazing TJ’s brand at $7 a jar.  

I tested several ways to eat cookie butter (other than the beloved spoon in jar)

  1. Dip a dark chocolate bar in the jar- The chocolate overpowered the speculoos like a poorly made Reeses.
  2. Dip a pretzel in the jar- closer with the salty/sweet effect, but I still ended up licking the speculoos right off the pretzel.
  3. Spread on a popped rice crisp- I thought the crunchy crisp would be nice, but it is still more about the cookie butter
  4. Frozen- Now we are getting somewhere.  The problem is it is messy and hard to form into a ball before freezing
  5. Filled in a milk chocolate truffle- ah this is where I came up with my brilliant plan to make my own truffles with the cookie butter as the star ingredient.  The milk chocolate did not overpower the butter and it was great frozen
  6. Cookie turned cookie butter- this I found on pinterest but never attempted as it does not make sense to turn a cookie into a butter then back into a cookie… just buy the cookies to begin with

Speculoos Truffles


IMG_2536Pictures include pretzel/cheerio crumbs, frozen closeup, whole tray before freezing, and tray with chocolate drizzle.

Ice Cube Tray
1 jar of speculoos (I used crunchy) 
2 c cereal/ plain cracker (I used half pretzel half plain cheerios)
optional chocolate for drizzle

I did not want to change the flavor of the cookie butter, so I did not want to add butter or sugar like most recipes call for.  All I wanted was to thicken the batter and add a little bit of salt to the mix which is why I chose half pretzels.  I crushed the dry ingredients and mixed them into the cookie butter.  Then divided it among the ice trays and froze.  Then I added just a drizzle of dark chocolate so I did not overpower the flavor of the cookie butter.  I could not believe how much crunch is in each bite even after a day in the freezer, and they popped right out of the ice cube tray.  One of the things I am most proud about this recipe is the fact that the recipe is completely mine and just what is needed for the big five- oh!  This is something you can google and pinterest and find nothing quite like this simple gem.

50th Post and Speculoos. Truffle Style


It has gotten to the point where I will find any excuse to write about Trader Joe’s.  The thing about the store is that they do not have everything so it cannot be your sole grocery store.  For instance they do not carry marshmallows, or some spices such as turmeric, and they only carry fresh products in season.  Having said that there are certain items there that you can only buy at the store and replicas are just no good.  Today we will explore a savory and sweet option only sold at TJ’s.

Spinach and Kale Pie


I thought I would give this a shot as i tend to like their freezer options, and it would be a good thing to have on hand if a guest came over at the last minute.  Everything at TJ’s is priced well so I will not even go there.  The “pie” is a relatively healthy one as it is a creamy spinach filled filo dough.


good flavor, beautiful presentation right out of the oven.


It takes a long time to bake (45 minutes), not very good as a leftover, messy.

As far as taste is concerned I plan on getting this again, but as an appetizer for guests I would go with the spinach and kale bites as they are tasty and they are not messy at all, and have a shorter baking time.



This has been a phenomenon starting in 2007 which consists of a spiced shortbread cookie turned into a smooth butter or paste.  I have known about this “spreadable cookie” for a while but knew of nothing to do with it except spread it on a belgian waffle.  I have also never been a big peanut butter or Nutella fan and eating it by the spoonful sickens me.  I love the cookies on airplanes so I tried the Biscoff spread and was not impressed.  It had funny flavors and was not nearly as addicting as the TJ’s variety which now comes in crunchy.  It is in such a high demand that my local store only allows to buy two jars per customer…so I make sure to buy two every single time they are in stock.



I want to let this soak in before I tell you how I am concocting the butter into other forms.  It is simply divine.   Starting with the gold wrapper (Biscoff uses silver) to the bottom of the glass jar.  I managed to down my first jar by the spoonful so go ahead and eat at least one jar by spoon alone!

Dining, Food, Fun, NYC, savory, Sweets

Trader Joe’s Tuesday- Speculoos and Kale Pie