Belgian Biscuit Tasteoff: Biscoff v. Speculaas

Last week I had to fly to several cities for business; it just so happens that the final leg of my travels was a Delta flight back to D.C.  I almost never fly Delta, and I had forgotten the best part about the airline until I heard the flight attendant coming through with the beverage cart.  Not only was he serving drinks, but he was also handing out snacks, querying each passenger: "Would you like some peanuts, pretzels, or a cookie?"  A cookie?!  It had completely slipped my mind that they serve the uber delicious Biscoff cookies on Delta.  I think the kind flight attendant sensed my unbridled excitement when I responded to his question with an expectant ear-to-ear grin and an enthusiastic, "Biscoff please!!"  He looked around, lowered his voice, and whispered "Don't tell anyone else that I gave you more than one!," while he furtively slipped some extras onto my seatback tray.

I opened one package of cookies (they come two to a pack) and enjoyed them right away on the plane.  I decided to save my extras to take home so that I could taste them side by side against a homemade version, using the speculaas recipe from Baked Explorations -- which the cookbook authors say is as close to the Biscoff as possible.  I made the speculaas a few months ago and thought they were fantastic, but I couldn't resist the urge to make another batch to see how they measured up against the real thing.
I still love the speculaas -- they are spicy, crispy, and lightly sweet.  But make no mistake, they are not Biscoffs.  The Biscoffs were drier, crispier, more buttery, and had a lovely toasted flavor absent from the homemade version.  In addition, the speculaas had a stronger spice flavor.  To be honest, I prefer the Biscoff.  Something about the crisp texture is so satisfying.  However, after my real Biscoffs were gone, I continued to wholeheartedly enjoy the homemade speculaas.  They might not be able to pass for real Biscoffs, but they are still incredibly tasty.

I packed up my speculaas and shared them with my extended family when we got together for a father's day brunch.  I knew that the speculaas were a real smash hit when my cousin's children, three-year old Alexis and almost two-year old Josh, happily noshed on them.  After all, children aren't afraid to tell you what they really think.  Alexis said she loved her biscuit, and even before she finished eating it, she announced her plan to eat another one later in the day after her nap.  
I can't say that the speculaas beat the Biscoff in a head-to-head taste test, but I'm still going to declare the speculaas a winner.  They're delicious, they make kids happy, and best of all, I don't have to fly Delta to get them, but can bake them any time I feel like it!

Recipe: "Speculaas" from Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented, by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito.

Previous Post: "The Biscoff Knockoff: Speculaas," November 18, 2010.


Grace said…
Oh, I agree. I love those Delta Biscoffs. They are *almost* worth flying Delta.
Louise said…
I flew on three Delta flights yesterday and one of them claimed they only had peanuts. :-( I think perhaps the flight attendants were being lazy. But I have enough to do a taste test.
Louise said…
Fishing for copycat Biscoff recipes yielded this one at Taste of Home -- What caught my eye is the baker's ammonia. I have it and always forget about it, but it may be the secret to getting the right texture.
@Louise -- ah, thanks for the great idea about the baker's ammonia... I have always seen it in the King Arthur Flour catalog (supposedly it gives cookies an "extra crisp" texture!) but I never tried using it. I may have to give it a try!
Louise said…
If you get some baker's ammonia, be sure to try the Vanilla Dreams. You'll realize when they cool that they have to "gas off" a little to get rid of the ammonia, but I think they are great cookies. Baker's ammonia gives a texture unlike any other, in a good way.