While those of us who haven't traveled since before the pandemic may not miss the never-ending security lines or long bouts of turbulence, one thing we can all agree upon is our longing for those delicious Biscoff cookies served mid-flight.
In fact, there was such an uproar over United Airlines’ removal of the sweet treat (pre-pandemic) that they ultimately decided to bring them back. That’s a whole lot of love for Belgium’s most famous biscuit.
To provide you with a little Biscoff background, the cookie is actually part of the speculaas family, which boasts caramelly, crunchy, spice-forward delicacies in Europe. They’re most commonly baked and served around St. Nicholas Day in the Netherlands, Belgium (but with less spices, and known as “speculoos”), and Luxembourg, as well as Christmastime in Austria and Germany.
There are multiple variations, though the baking process is generally the same, to yield flat, crispy treats that pair well with coffee. Within the past decade, both speculoos and speculaas have gained popularity in spreadable form as “cookie butter,” marketed and sold most prominently by grocery stores like Trader Joe’s. Biscoff is simply an offshoot of the Belgian company Lotus Bakeries, which has been operating since 1932.
Achieving the perfect Biscoff cookie isn’t too difficult, but it requires very specific ingredients that make the taste authentic. Europeans incorporate a special type of brown sugar that is made with caramel instead of molasses, which I learned about during a culinary trip to Brussels. You can certainly make your own caramelized sugar, but it’s easiest to just buy it as “candi sugar,” per Serious Eats’ recommendation, from Amazon.
Otherwise, all you’ll need is your favorite stand mixer, baking tool basics and laser focus to ensure your cookies aren’t under- or over-cooked (though, honestly, they'll still taste just as delicious, either way).