Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘Spéculoos’

No. 118-119: Spéculoos and le Musée du quai Branly Combined

Out and about this morning and in search of a birthday gift for Charlotte, my favorite soon to be 4-year-old, I decided to pop into la librairie du Musée du quai Branly and take a peek at their unique collection of gifts. Much to my delight, I came across this in the children’s book section:

Spéculoos! La quête/Spéculoos! the Quest

Spéculoos! La quête/Spéculoos! the Quest

When I first spied it, I thought surely, there must be another meaning for the word Spéculoos that I don’t know. Mais non!


This is actually a tale of an extraordinarily happy, rotund and spoiled princess from a magical far eastern land who is saved by Spéculoos!

The princess leads a grandiose life. When she wakes up, she nibbles cake and pralines. For dinner she gobbles pralines and cake, and for dessert, she savors ice cream with pralines. Mais un jour, la Princesse n’eut plus faim/but one day, the princess was no longer hungry. Well, this certainly makes her very sad and she cries for a very long time. Not one single soul in the entire kingdom can find a cure for her sickness.

But then one day Maurice, le ménestrel de la Cour, who, naturally, is profoundly in love with princess, has an idea. He will go to the sorcière, and ask if he has any ancient potions to cure his secret love. And this is what the sorcerer tells him:

J’ai ce qu’il te faut, une très vieille recette de biscuit, mais qui agit mieux qu’une potion/I have what you need, a very old cookie recipe, that is better than any potion. 

…and the cookie that’s better than a magic potion? Spéculoos, obviously.


So he travels dans des contrées lointaines pour ramener le gingembre, le clou de girofle, la cannelle, la cardamone et la muscade/to distant lands to find the ginger, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg. Upon hearing about his plan and envisioning the recipe, the princess falls instantly and madly in love with her hero.

From Nigeria to Zanzibar, to India and the red Orient, and onward to Sri Lanka and the Indonesian archipelago, love struck Maurice diligently gathers the indispensible spices.

Upon his return he bakes her the cookies (as can Charlotte, by following along with the simple recipe)…

…et en goûtant le Spéculoos, la Princesse avait retrouvé toute sa gaieté. Mais plus que le biscuit, c’était le courage de Maurice qui l’avait conquise/and upon tasting the Speculoos, the princess’ cheerfulness was restored. But more than the cookies, it was the courage of Maurice that conquered her malady and won her heart.



I have to say, I’ve had some days where Speculoos is as good as, if not better, than any other magic potion to chase away the blues. I’m glad the Musée Branly thinks so too!


But if you don’t like Spéculoos, the Quai Branly Museum has plenty of other nifty and colorful gifts for you to choose from.


la librairie du Musée du quai Branly: the bookshop at the Branly Museum

le ménestrel de la Cour: the court minstrel

Mais non! But, no!

sorcière: sorcerer

No. 112: Spéculoos

I don’t think Spéculoos originated in France, but for me it will always remind me of France because this is where I first discovered it. Even though it’s not at its height of popularity en ce moment, it can still be found everywhere, in all its various incarnations.


In case you have been living under a log, Spéculoos / Speculaas / Spekulatius is a thin and crispy spiced, shortcrust cookie, which was traditionally baked around Saint Nicolas Day in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. Nowadays you can find the cookies year-round in your local grocery store. Spéculoos biscuits always have some sort of impression stamped on the front of the cookie, originally related to Christmas, but these days it can be a branding swoosh, an animal, a figure, or really anything your heart desires.

Speculoos Paris

How about some Spéculoos on Spéculoos?

The combination of ginger, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and white pepper, along with plenty of butter, I’m sure, is what makes these cookies so addictive. They are an excellent accompaniment to hot chocolate or coffee. Sometimes French cafés serve them, in lieu of a small piece of chocolate, when they bring your boisson chaud.


Relatively recently, a couple of companies in Belgium decided that the cookie itself wasn’t enough. They decided the world needed a Spéculoos spread. Apparently they were right…people seem to be crazy for it.

It looks like peanut butter and comes in a jar like peanut butter, but it tastes nothing like the good old American standby. It is literally a spread made from crushed cookies and vegetable oil. It’s super high in calories, and pretty darn delicious in small quantities or by the spoonful.

Adding Spéculoos cookies and Spéculoos spread to make desserts even more decadent seems to be the game. As well as flavoring different baked goods with Spéculoos, I’ve also seen savory meat dishes cooked with Spéculoos.

So far this week, I’ve come across a Spéculoos apple tarte, a bacon-kiwi-Spéculoos pancake stack, a friend who eats oatmeal, bananas and Spéculoos before she goes running, Spéculoos covered popcorn, a Spéculoos macaron (bien sûr), Spéculoos ice cream, Spéculoos milkshakes, and the traditional moelleux au chocolat filled with melted Spéculoos instead of chocolate.

Of course Picard and a couple of boulangeries around town are featuring special Galette des Rois filled with chocolate and Spéculoos instead of frangipane.

I see the draw when it’s used in a dessert, but I think only the diehard fans will be inclined to order Stir Fried Chicken and Spéculoos Lettuce Wraps or Roasted Pork Fillets  drizzled with a Spéculoos Sauce.


bien sûr: of course

boisson chaud: hot drink

en ce moment: at the moment

Galette des Rois: Kings cake, a puffed pastry cake filled with almond paste and served on Epiphany and during January.

moelleux au chocolat: an individual-sized chocolate cake filled with melted chocolat; lava cake.