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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Belgians invent wicked addiction

Cookie Butter an item I just can't stop eating

Posted: 03/10/2014 1:00 AM | Comments: 0

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As a crusading journalist, I was determined to write a hard-hitting column about how much I hate the person who invented daylight saving time and how our lives have been put at risk because we have been forced to lose an hour of sleep for no sensible reason, but I am too tired to do that today.

So instead, I am going to prop my eyelids open with toothpicks, pour coffee over my head and write about something you have probably never heard of, a stunning invention that is going to make the world a better place for everyone, a life-changing product that will give you the motivation you need to drag your pasty, bleary-eyed body out of bed, even though it is cold and dark and you are currently dead last in your office hockey pool.

The product I am talking about here is something called Cookie Butter, and you need to drop whatever you are currently doing -- unless it involves a baby or a scalding cup of coffee -- and run out and buy yourself a jar.

What is Cookie Butter? Well, genius, the name pretty much tells you everything you need to know. The label on my jar describes it as "caramelized crushed cookie spread" and boasts it is made from "the original Belgian recipe."

According to what I have read online and in a copy of The Food Network magazine I found lying on our bathroom floor, it is almost identical to peanut butter but instead of peanuts it is made from -- and this is the genius part -- finely ground Belgian speculoos spice cookies.

"After the cookies are baked to a fabulous finish, they're crushed to a fine powder and mixed with magical ingredients (read: vegetable oils) and turned into a smooth, spreadable substance we call Cookie Butter," is what an article on Wikipedia explains. "It resembles peanut butter in colour and consistency."

Is this a genius idea or what? For too many years we, as a society, have been forced to look at cookies and wonder why no one had ever thought of smashing them up and turning them into a delicious spreadable product we could slather on top of regular, intact cookies.

I was like most of you in that I had never heard of Cookie Butter until my son, whom we call The Boy, and his girlfriend, whom we call "Ava" because that's her name, came over for dinner and, with as much enthusiasm as we have ever seen them muster, told us about this miracle product that is taking the food world by storm.

"How do you eat it?" is what I wanted to know.

"With a spoon!!!" is what they informed me, in the tone of voice you would use if you were explaining algebra to a cinder block.

As I write these words, I have an open jar of Cookie Butter sitting on my computer desk so every few minutes I can conduct scientific research via the technique of sticking my nose inside the container to inhale its tantalizing faintly gingerbread aroma, then scoop some out with a finger.

Spurred on by our son and his significant other, my wife recently returned home with a jar of Cookie Butter, and on your behalf, with no regard for my own personal safety, I have spent the last few days trying to figure out the best way to ingest it. I have concluded the smart thing is to spread it on other things, such as toast, cookies, muffins, doughnuts, ice cream, to name just a few.

A website called Spoon University, created by students at Northwestern University in Illinois, recently posted an article entitled 12 Ways to Eat Cookie Butter. It suggested, among other things, you could drizzle it over your favourite frozen candy bar, turn it into a fondue, smear it on a bagel and top with Frosted Flakes, or even use it as, quote, "an Oreo frosting."

So I am not saying this stuff qualifies as health food; what I am saying is eating it will probably help you cling to life and preserve democracy until spring finally arrives, which should be in early August.

For the record, it seems to have been invented by some contestants on a Belgian TV show in 2008, but only after local Belgian workers discovered if you made a sandwich in the morning using butter and spice cookies, it would develop an addictive spread-like consistency by lunchtime.

In recent years, foodies have been going nuts for this stuff. "Trader Joe's version was the grocery chain's top-selling product last year, and stores in San Francisco, San Diego and Dallas even had to limit purchases to a few jars per customer," the item in The Food Network magazine stated.

I am going to stop at this point, not because there's nothing left to stay, but because it is really hard to type anything when your computer keyboard is coated in a slippery layer of buttery, ground-up cookie goodness.

doug.speirs@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 10, 2014 A2

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