I am a little bummed that I waited so long to post this. Until last week, spekuloos was one of the most obscure ingredients I had in my pantry. I had been waiting until an opportune moment to open my jar (which I had been hoarding for about a year). I knew it would make a killer blog post, with an interesting, new ingredient.
And then they used it on the Top Chef Desserts finale 2 weeks ago. And so, alas, many of you have already been introduced to spekuloos. But if you missed the finale, or just didn't pay much attention, allow me to introduce you. Spekuloos (I have no idea how to pronounce it; they pronounced it "speck-you-loose" on Top Chef, but I've always called it "speck-loose", so who knows.
Spekuloos is a Belgian graham cracker paste; it is similar in consistency to a less-smooth peanut butter, and tastes like graham cracker-y goodness. In New York, they serve it at Wafels & Dinges trucks, and you can also buy a jar (this is where I got mine). I like spekuloos, but don't love it. Jacob, on the other hand, thinks the stuff is like crack. So when I bought an ice cream maker, but didn't know which flavor was worth all of the effort, Jacob almost immediately suggested a spekuloos swirl and, being the generous person that I am, I obliged.
Spekuloos Swirl Ice Cream
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa's vanilla ice cream recipe
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk (I used skim, but any milk is fine)
2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. ground vanilla, or seeds from 1 vanilla bean
2/3 cup spekuloos spread
Heat all of the ingredients in a medium sauce pan, stirring constantly, just until sugar is dissolved (you should be able to rub a bit between your fingers without feeling any grittiness). Cover and chill until completely cooled. Pour into an ice cream maker and follow the directions. (I used the Kitchenaid mixer attachment, and it worked quite well, but make sure your bowl is pre-frozen if you use this!)
Once the ice cream is fully frozen and churned, pour about half into a freezer-proof container. Put the spekuloos spread in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave for about 10 seconds, or until slightly thinner. Spoon about half of spekuloos onto ice cream mixture. Add the remainder of the ice cream base on top; spoon the remaining spekuloos on top.
Using a knife, gently swirl the ice cream mixture, to create a spekuloos swirl. Do not over-mix, you just want to create a swirl of spekuloos within the ice cream (stirring it all in could result in gritty ice cream). Freeze, to firm up the ice cream's texture a bit, and enjoy!