Take this new cookie creation out for a spin this holiday season! Speculoos spread, also known as “cookie butter,” is this year’s biggest flavor sensation, being slathered on everything from breakfast toast to pound cake, but it’s hardly just another passing trend.
Speculoos cookies themselves have been around for hundreds of years, originating in Belgium and the Netherlands as a sweet way to celebrate the eve of St. Nicholas, falling on December 6th. Over the years, this traditional cookie has morphed into an all-encompassing taste of the holidays – warmly spiced with cinnamon, redolent of brown sugar, and always yielding a crisp, crunchy bite.
In recent years, speculoos has enjoyed a surge in popularity as a packaged spread, blended to a silky-smooth consistency and lovingly known as cookie butter. Never has it been easier to add the once wintery taste to all manner of desserts, literally spreading out to cover all occasions. Despite that, the place where it really shines is still in the form of cookies, but perhaps not quite as our ancestors had intended back in the 18th century.
Rolling out beautiful cookie butter pinwheel cookies, striped with ribbons of chocolate and speculoos doughs, it’s impossible not to fall for this cinnamon-scented schmear. The secret ingredient to this sweet alchemy? Vegan mayonnaise, believe it or not. Taking the place of both eggs and a bit of fat, this unconventional addition allows the dough to roll much more easily without tearing, and keeps the finished cookies supple long after baking.
Transformed into soft, tender pinwheel cookies with greater depth than the average spiced biscuit could dream of, cookie butter has literally come full circle, turning back into a baked treat once again. The only difference is that this time, it won’t take a couple hundred years for their deliciousness to become widely known; they’ll fly off the plate before Santa ever has time to shimmy down the chimney come Christmas eve.
Special Diet Notes: Cookie Butter Pinwheel Cookies
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, nut-free, peanut-free, vegan / plant-based, and vegetarian.
- ½ cup dairy-free margarine
- ¾ cup smooth speculoos spread (aka cookie butter)
- 1¼ cups granulated sugar
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon whole flaxseeds, ground
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅓ cup vegan mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons + 1 tablespoon plain dairy-free milk alternative, divided
- ⅓ cup natural cocoa powder
- Use your stand mixer to thoroughly cream the margarine, speculoos spread, and sugar together, beating them with the paddle attachment until perfectly smooth.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, ground flaxseeds, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon, making sure that all the dry goods are well-distributed.
- Add about half of the dry ingredients into the mixing bowl, mixing until fully incorporated. Introduce the mayonnaise next, followed the remaining flour mixture. Continue to mix slowly while drizzling in the first 2 tablespoons of milk alternative until it forms smooth, homogeneous dough.
- Divide the dough in half, and flatten out one of the balls into a smooth disk, wrapping it up in plastic and stashing it in the fridge.
- Take the remaining half of dough that's still in the mixing bowl and add in the cocoa powder and remaining 1 tablespoon of milk alternative. Mix thoroughly to incorporate. Once smooth, flatten and wrap the dough out in the same manner as before, storing it in the fridge to chill for at least one 1 hour before proceeding.
- When you're ready to roll, preheat your oven to 350ºF and line two or three baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
- You'll need a fair amount of space to execute these shapes, so clear off a large expanse of a flat, clean counter. Lightly flour the surface and begin by rolling out the disk of plain speculoos dough first. The exact size of the rectangle isn't critical as long as it's more or less even; what's more important is to aim for a thickness of about ⅛th of an inch. Use a flat spatula to carefully scrape beneath the rectangle, ensuring that it hasn't adhered to the counter, and quickly move on to the chocolate dough. The longer it sits, the stickier it gets, so make haste! Repeat the same procedure but keep the chocolate rectangle about a half-inch shorter than the first.
- Very gently slide the thin chocolate rectangle on top of the plain one, lining up the short ends on one side. There should be a small amount of uncovered plain dough at the opposite end. Starting where the doughs line up perfectly, begin to roll them together in as tight as cylinder as possible. Pinch the plain dough together at the very end, using a tiny dab of water if needed to create a seal. If the dough has become very soft while you were working with it, stash the whole roll in the freezer for just 10 minutes to firm it back up.
- Using a very sharp knife, slice the cookie log into ¼-inch thick cookies. Transfer them to your prepared sheets, allowing at least a ½-inch of space between them for more even baking. The first and last cookies cut from the ends will be funny shapes, but don't worry; Consider them taste-testers for the baker!
- Bake for 10 - 14 minutes, until just barely golden brown around the edges and no longer glossy. Be careful not to over-bake them in if you want softer, chewier cookies. Immediately pull the silpats off the hot baking sheets as soon as they come out of the oven, and let them rest there until completely cool. Store in an air-tight container for up to two weeks, or move them into the freezer to keep them fresh for up to three months.