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I've said it before and I'll say it again: God bless the Dutch.
Okay, I haven't said it before, but I'm saying it now. Because these mad scientists, who singlehandedly made windmills and funny wooden shoes cool, are responsible for the most delicious cookie-like substances known to man.
Speculoos is a type of gingersnap, only way better. Its spicing is more liberal and intense, with a crisp snap that's an almost refreshing companion to sultry cinnamon, anise, cardamom, and pepper. On its own, it's a charming Christmas treat, and maybe a lesser people would have stopped there. But not the Dutch. They went ahead and turned it into a spreadable paste not unlike nutella, gorgeously smooth, sweet, and spicy. Speculoos spread, also known as Biscoff spread (I don't know, ask the British), just happens to be the most perfect thing to ever spread on toast. Or, for a meta treat, on more cookies.
Enter stroopwafel, a street food snack of two cinnamon-laced yeasted waffle cookies sandwiching a layer of buttery syrup called stroop. You eat them straight or warm them over a mug of steaming coffee till the cookies soften and the stroop melts. If you have yet to try stroopwafel, here is my advice to you. Find a chair to collapse in, and make sure your present company won't mind the gasps of pleasure as you bite into one of these cinnamon-laced butter and caramel bombs.
The mental leap to combining these Dutch delights into ice cream was any easy one. Step aside, Nutella: speculoos ice cream has you beat, perfect on its own or as a crown for warm pie. The little shards of stroopwafel are a punchy bonus, firm enough to keep your teeth busy while your tastebuds rewire themselves for a new addiction. It's the best bite of autumn I've had all season.
Or it was. Until I did this.
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About the author: Max Falkowitz writes Serious Eats' weekly Spice Hunting column. He's a proud native of Queens, New York, will do just about anything for a good cup of tea, and enjoys long walks down the aisles of Chinese groceries. You can follow his exotic spice- and ice cream-based ramblings on Twitter.