Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Dark Chocolate Muffins with Crunchy Speculoos Centers and Apple Speculoos Muffins

The last time we went to the Netherlands, I bought a few jars of the regular “Speculoos Spread” as well as a jar of the “Crunchy Speculoos Spread” – which is basically the regular Spread plus little pieces of Speculoos cookies. While I successfully used the Spreads in my cookie baking before, this time, I decided to test both varieties of this delicious Spread for two different muffins recipes. While the Dutch are known for their unbeatable chocolate sprinkles which I always buy, this time I decided to pick up a few boxes of “Speculoos Sprinkles” and “Speculoos Chocolate Sprinkles” which I had never noticed in the stores before but was curious to try. The first muffins I decided to bake were Dark Chocolate Muffins with Crunchy Speculoos Centers and a chocolate topping with Speculoos Chocolate sprinkles…

…and the second recipe I chose, were  Apple-Speculoos Muffins with a crunchy almond cinnamon topping, perfect for this time of year.

Dark Chocolate Muffins with Speculoos Center
(recipe for one dozen)

Ingredients for the Muffin Batter

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder, try to find a really good quality one (I use Dutch cacao, such as Van Houten)
  • 3/4 cup AP flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup super fine sugar
  • 3 eggs (L), organic or free range
  • 1 ½  tsp pure vanilla extract 
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 12 heaping tsp Crunchy Speculoos Spread (you can also use regular Speculoos Spread)

Ingredients for the Topping

  • about 3.5 ounces dark chocolate, melted, you could add about one tbsp shortening when melting the chocolate
  • some Speculoos Chocolate sprinkles (you can substitute regular chocolate sprinkles)


one regular muffin pan
12 good quality greaseproof muffin liners

Preparation of the Muffins and the Topping

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners. The liners should be sturdy so that filling them with batter and the sometimes somewhat “unruly” Speculoos Spread will be easy, not frustrating. You can also “loosen” the Spread with a spoon before using in baking.
3. In a medium bowl, sift together the cocoa, flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.
4. With your electric mixer cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
5. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in vanilla extract.
6. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with sour cream - beginning and ending with flour.
7. Using a small ice cream scoop or spoon, fill the muffin liners about one third with the chocolate batter, then add one heaping teaspoon of Crunchy Speculoos Spread per muffin, then some more chocolate batter (just to cover the Speculoos Spread) – the muffin liners should not be completely full (about ¾) as the batter will rise during baking.
8. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, the tops should spring back when touched.
9. Cool in the muffin pan on a rack for about 5 minutes, then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
10. If decorating: place the chopped chocolate or chocolate chips and shortening in a medium heat-proof bowl. In a separate large heat-proof bowl, put very hot water. Carefully place the bowl with the chocolate into the bowl with the water - the water should come halfway up the side of the chocolate bowl.
11. Stir the chocolate and shortening with a rubber scraper until both are melted and the resulting mixture is smooth. Remove the chocolate bowl from inside the water bowl.
12. Taking one muffin at a time, dip into chocolate mixture, gently tap on the counter to “level” the chocolate and just before the chocolate sets, decorate the tops of the muffins with sprinkles.

Recipe for Apple-Speculoos Muffins
(recipe for one dozen muffins)

Ingredients for the Muffins

  • 90 grams (1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
  • 70 grams (1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp) regular Speculoos Spread
  • 90 grams (1/2 cup minus 1 tbsp)  super fine sugar
  • 2 eggs (L), organic or free range 
  • 1 1/ 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 110 grams (1 cup minus 1 tbsp) AP flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • one pinch of fine sea salt
  • 30 ml  (1/8 cup) half and half
  • 2 apples, diced (I used two medium sized baking apples )

Ingredients for the Topping (optional)

  • chopped almonds, skin on (about 20 almonds)
  • 2 tbsp coarse white sugar, you can also use Demerara Sugar (UK) or Turbinado Sugar (US)
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon, preferably from Ceylon


one regular muffin pan
12 good quality greaseproof muffin liner

Preparation of the Muffins and the Topping

1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius (320 degrees Fahrenheit).
2.  In a bowl of your electric mixer, cream the butter, Speculoos Spread, and sugar, until light.
3.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in vanilla extract.
4. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
5 With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the half and half - beginning and ending with flour.
6. Turn off the mixer and switch to a rubber spatula. Gently fold in the diced apples.
7. In a small bowl mix together the chopped almonds, sugar and cinnamon.
8. Fill muffin moulds with the batter (2/3 full) sprinkle with some chopped nuts and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
9. Cool in the muffin pan on a rack for about 5 minutes, then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Both recipes were really wonderful. Speculoos Spread, whether you use the regular or the crunchy variety,  is not only fantastic for baking in cookies but wonderful for incorporating into your muffin recipes. The Dark Chocolate Muffins had a soft Speculoos center and the chocolate topping plus the sprinkles added a nice touch, both visually and flavor wise. And some of my taste testers could not get enough of the Apple-Speculoos Muffins, they tase like autumn, have a crunchy top and smell heavenly when baking - the cinnamon, apple, almond and speculoos flavors are just wonderful!


Muffin pan from “Patisse” (
Muffin liners from “House of Marie” (
Speculoos Spreads (Original Speculoos and Speculoos Crunchy) and Sprinkles (Speculoos Hagel) from “Lotus” (


  1. I know what's Speculoos Spread means because it was this week that I first tried it. The jar I have said "Cookie Butter" and I know it is the biscoff spread. It was delicious. I've been just a Nutella lover that I still love Nutella more, but I really enjoyed the Speculoos Spread. These cupcakes look yummy!

    1. Nami, this Spread goes by so many different names, that by now, I have settled on "Speculoos Spread" but I do know that it is also called "Cookie Butter" or "Biscoff Spread". But it is all the same kind, although not the same brand. I use the "Lotus" brand since that is the one I can find in stores in the EU. the cupcakes were fun to make.

  2. Your muffins look incredible! I must admit that I haven't tried speculoos yet, but I HAVE to hunt some down so I can try it too!

    1. Beth, thank you - that Spread is said to be a bit addictive but as with all foods that we eat, not everybody likes the same things and as much as I enjoy the Speculoos Spread, I love to bake with it rather than eat it straight from the jar. For me (and the kids), it tastes absolutely wonderful when incorporated into baked goods - and it smells so good when baking.

  3. As you know, I like and have made your Speculoos cookie suggestions. I can find it at my local Trader Joe's although flying over to the Netherlands to buy it might be more fun. These look so good and like that you made a variation.

    1. Mary, you would not regret flying to the Netherlands to go shopping for the Speculoos Spread - well, you might find a few more things in the stores that I keep raving about...seriously, I heard the Cookie Spread from Trader Joe´s is very good too!

  4. These muffins are just incredible!! I have a jar of speculoos spread in my pantry right now….hmmmm! I would love to have one with my tea this morning! Simply lovely, Andrea!

    1. Kathy, these muffins were good and a great way to use the Speculoos Spread in somthing other than cookies - the kids loved both kinds of muffins.