There are two words that, on their own, ignite fiery, unbridled passion in my heart. These words, when combined, can bring me to my knees, could rally me to war in the event of its extinction:
Cookie Butter. Oh. My. God.
Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookie Butter, for the virgins, is this deeply satisfying, spiced, sweet, yet substantial creation that goes perfectly on anything remotely, even close to sweet. It’s hard for me to put my obsession into words, for fear of bastardizing what we have.
If you have no Trader Joe’s around (like my bizarre city, though I use that word loosely–city, not bizarre), I hear that Biscoff Cookie Spread is a righteous comparison, and you can find that at most grocery stores. So.. no excuses.
Lately, I’ve been experimenting with the substituting the stuff where one might find peanut butter–notably, a mind-blowing Cookie Butter version of my peanut butter chocolate marshmallow magoo, and this, a Cookie Butter crème brûlee.
This crème brûlée is a subtle play on the traditional French “burnt cream” with a satisfying, spiced nod to pop culture. It comes together so easily, and can be made not too long before you start dinner, ensuring a finale to rival Fourth of July’s. The burnt sugar on top is impressive enough to serve guests, and it pairs perfectly with the sweet, cookie flavor infused in the custard.
Ideally, let the custard cool in the fridge overnight, but if this is more of a last-minute thing (ahem..), pop the fully baked custard in the freezer for 30 minutes to an hour, and you’ll be just fine.
If you don’t possess a mini-blowtorch, I ask you,
But really, just preheat the broiler and watch it closely. It’ll do the job. It’s just.. a lot more fun to use a fire gun. Because that’s what a blow torch is, really. A fire gun.
Cookie Butter Crème Brûlée
Inspired by Peanut Butter Crème Brûlée
Serves 4 small ramekins
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar, plus about 4 teaspoons for caramelizing on tops
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon Speculoos Cookie Butter or Biscoff Spread
1. Preheat oven to 350º.
2. In saucepan combine milk, cream, 1/4 cup sugar, and vanilla over medium high heat until hot, but not boiling.
3. Meanwhile, in a medium heat-proof bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Once the cream and sugar mixture is hot, temper the egg yolks by slowly pouring in the hot cream mixture, whisking constantly until smooth. Add in the cookie butter and mix well.
4. Strain mixture into a heat-proof bowl (ideally with a lip for pouring–a large glass measuring cups work well here) using a fine mesh strainer, pushing through all the delectable spices with the back of the spoon against the strainer. Set four small ramekins in a shallow baking pan. Pour the crème into four small ramekins. Place the baking pan in the oven, and pour in enough hot water (hot tap water will do) into the pan to cover the ramekins half way. Bake for 30 minutes.
5. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or quick-freeze in the freezer for about 30 minutes to an hour.
6. Preheat broiler or ready your blow torch. Sprinkle baked and cooled custards with remaining sugar, ensuring an even and complete cover. Torch to your liking, or broil for 40-60 seconds (keep watch!) and serve.6