Why is it when you go abroad all the food just looks so much more interesting? Speculoos pasta is one of my favourite 'foreign' supermarket finds - it is a Dutch spread based on the lovely Lotus biscuits you can buy in UK supermarkets. I know it sounds weird but it is ADDICTIVE. I hearby start the campaign to get it sold here. You can email them via their, rather boring, UK site.
Just before I left my old crappy office job in March a colleague mentioned he was going to Amsterdam for a day and he kindly brought me back a jar of paste and two packets of Speculoos sprinkles aka Hagel. Yesterday I finally got round to using them and damn, why did I wait so long?
I made two kinds of cupcakes - one stuffed with Speculoos and one with it baked in.
I used my basic vanilla cupcake recipe (except I used slightly less vanilla than usual), and scooped some into the cases with my trusty ice cream scoop, then mixed two dollops (approx 2 tablespoons - give or take some spoon licking) into the leftover mixture for the baked Speculoos cupcakes.
For the plain cupcakes - once cooled I scooped the middle out of them and added a heaped teaspoon into the centre of the cakes. Again spoon licking may have been involved.
The frosting is trusty vanilla frosting base (125g unsalted butter, 250g icing sugar - milk if necessary), without vanilla, with about 2 -3 tablespoons of Speculoos mixed in to taste. And boy did it taste pipe straight into your mouth good.
The plain ones got topped with a swirl of frosting and a good sprinkle of Speculoos Hagel - little sprinkles of biscuit. The baked Speculoos ones I did a circle of frosting and filled the middle with spread before topping with sprinkles. This was my favourite one I think, but it was difficult to choose - they were both delicious.
As I was baking these I realised the mixes go out of date next month so I am giving away an unopened box of Speculoos Hagel Mix, the biscuit sprinkles mixed with chocolate. The Dutch put these on buttered toast, but they are great cupcakes toppers, could be mixed into cake or just eaten from the box.
To win, just leave a comment below stating what item you have found on holiday that you wish you could buy in the UK.
You can get an additional chance to win by following @annecupcake on Twitter and tweet the following message: I've just entered to win #speculoossprinkles from @annecupcake and you can too. Enter here: http://i-heart-cupcakes.blogspot.com
Open to Mainland UK residents only. Contest closes at midnight Friday 29th July. PLEASE ensure you leave an email address or @twitter name so I can contact you - if you do not I will award it to someone else as I work all weekend and can't chase people up! Winner will receive the prize early August and the use by date is August 18th so only enter if you are going to use it please!
Finally you can buy Speculoos paste in the UK online but compare the prices to Hollands - 1 Euro - I must get to Holland soon. They also have crunchy spread. The lucky sods.