Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter Is Delicious…And About As Unhealthy As You’d Expect

trader joes speculoos cookie butterI wanted to hate Trader Joe’s Cookie butter—it’s basically just a paste made of cookies and oil, which sounds pretty gross, if you ask me—but the truth is it’s delicious. The butter, which I discussed earlier this week, is made of crushed biscuits and oil (no almonds, unlike the homemade version that Fitnessista made), and the jar suggests eating on bread or pancakes. As other testers in the office put it, it tastes like eating a gingerbread house: delicious. And, if you want to know: It’s unhealthy, just like you’d expect.

When it comes to the nutrition facts, it’s the usual suspects: fat and sugar. But unlike some rumors I found online, there isn’t any trans fat in TJ’s Cookie Butter; it’s full of just about every kind of oil you can think of, but it doesn’t contain hydrogenated oils. Check out the label:

Here’s a transcript:

Serving Size: 1 Tbsp (15g)

Nutrition facts: 90 calories, 50 calories from fat, 6g fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 0mg sodium, 8g total carbs, 0g fiber, 5g sugar, <1g sugar

INGREDIENTS: 57% SPECULOOS (WHEAT FLOUR, CANDY SUGAR, MARGARINE [PALM OIL, CANOLA OIL, COCONUT OIL, RAPESEED OIL, WATER, SALT, EMULSIFIER {VEGETABLE MONO-AND DIGLYCERIDES FROM FATTY ACIDS}, CITRIC ACID, ALCTIC ACID, COLOR ADDED {BETA CAROTENE}, BUTTERFLAVOR (NON-DAIRY)], SUGAR, SOY FLOUR, SUGAR SYRUP, RAISING AGENT {SODIUM HYDROGEN CARBONATE}, CINNAMON, NUTMEG), PALM OIL, CANOLA OIL, SUGAR, EMULSIFIER: RAPESEED LECITHIN.

So, basically, Cookie Butter is made of sugar, oil, and sugar, sprinkled with cinnamon and nutmeg… and sugar. Should you eat it by the spoonful? Your taste buds may say yes, but nutrition-wise, we recommend consuming in moderation.

Trader Joe’s isn’t the only producer of Cookie Butter, otherwise known as speculoos; the product originated in Belgium and its patent has even been the object of legal battles. (Which, it seems, settled out in such a way that allows even producers like Trader Joe’s to sell the stuff; for better or worse.)

Have you tried it? What do you think?

 

 

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    • Corrine

      ITS AMAZING!!! I just had a spoonful when I started searching for recipes to make with it…omg its so good. youre right in moderation its okay :)

      • Briana Rognlin

        Ha! Have you found any recipes to make with it? I feel like it would be overload on anything too sweet…

    • Samantha

      a fantastic dessert treat is to use 1 piece of the Trader Joe’s Tandoori Naan bread (the fresh bakery item), spread a 1 tbsp of the Cookie Butter on top and toast lightly – just until the bread is warm and cookie butter gets melty – then dust with a bit of powdered sugar.

    • Dee

      This looks like biscoff spread. Which is awesome. Does it taste like biscoff spread? Is it cheaper than biscoff spread?

    • Natalie

      It is the same as Biscoff spread, but the Trader Joe’s version is made in Holland, where it is already a tradition to eat sweet stuff on bread like chocolate sprinkles, but also spekulaas cookies. The combination of bread with this cookie, has been around for a long time.

      I’m very happy to find this spread at Trader Joes!

    • GiGi Eats Celebrities

      I saw that the other day on the “new products” shelf… Oh boy was I ashamed of TJ’s for promoting such a disgustingly unhealthy product! I am sure it’s delicious but common really, with the obesity rates as such, why. why. Do we need more of this nonsense. Plus, people are going to buy it from TJs thinking it’s healthy because it’s TJs!

      • Ian Haywood

        The thing is its unhealthy, but they are not saying it is, and it’s probably only going to be out around Christmas, the thing about food is almost anything is fine in moderation.

      • Jennifer

        I’ve eaten two jars in two weeks and have gained no weight.

    • Barbara Luna

      I am gluten free and try to eat a diabetic-safe diet. I allow myself one “cheat” per day. For the foreseeable future, THIS IS IT. I put in celery in an attempt to mitigate the damage. And I only eat it right before I’m gonna have some sort of physical exertion…Anything to have a little spoonful of this YUMMY STUFF!!!!

    • Jennifer

      Should you eat it by the spoonful? Yes, this is how I eat it. I’ve eaten two jars in two weeks. How much weight have I gained you ask? None. But I udnerstand where nutrition controversy will come into play, since there is hardly any nutrients in this.
      But the sugar and carbs actually help me on my long runs. I run marathons and so this is great fuel. It tastes like heaven and keeps my mouth happy.
      I’m going to continue to eat it until I notice and ill health effects. I don’t think it is an unhealthy as a lot of things that we eat in large consumptions anyways…

    • P.J. Villard

      My favorite way to eat this delicious spread is to heat a 1/2 cup in the microwave and then pour over a large slice of unfrosted chocolate cake. AMAZING! Too sweet? Never!

      It’s also good on waffles like its served at the Wafels & Dinges food truck in NYC.

    • Penny Spina

      I LOVE it!!! It’s amazing!! I wish they had it year-round!! Hope it’s back next Christmas!! Everything in moderation guys…it’s ok!!

    • Dutch

      Spekulaas has been a Dutch treat forever. Surprised it took so long for someone else to catch on, even after they turned it into peanut butter’s evil twin. Or maybe peanut butter is the evil twin. Hmmm…..

    • Mattoichi

      I’m enjoying some right now with crackers and apples. Delicious stuff, and I eat it knowing it’s a treat… not a staple. Found it a month or so ago at TJoe’s. Try it if you can.

      Mmmmm.

    • Elaine

      1 slice of multigrain bread ( >3grams of fiber why not?)
      toast the slice, cut it in half, spread the cookie butter on one half put the halves together……. if you really are craving something sweet spread fluff on the other half!

      Is this product only available around Christmas?

    • Jonika

      I’m in love with cookie butter and, at the moment, Trader Joe’s is out of it! I can’t wait til they get it back in. I haven’t gained any weight on it, though I do believe it should be eaten in moderation. I eat it with Trader Joe’s bistro biscuits, which are no better for you. The good thing is, about 4 of the mini biscuits dipped in the cookie butter fill you up. So, I don’t overdo it too much – at least not in one sitting! ;)

    • Yep

      Well, seeing how the words Cookie and Butter are in the name, it is only obvious it isn’t good for you. haha

      Still less fat than most peanut butter…of course peanut butter at least has protein.

    • cea

      but i think according to labeling laws it is considered “natural”
      lol

      unless the butter flavor was made from ALL synthetic ingredients. if it has one major ingredient is natural (lol there is that word), it is natural even if it was total transformed in a lab.

    • Cathy @ Chief Family Officer

      Thanks for posting this – they’re out of stock (and apparently have been), but one of the cashiers told me about it and I really wanted to know all of the allergen info. Thanks again!

    • Deborah

      Looks like junk food to me! Sorry :(

    • Dessert Darling

      Great review! I think you saved me the calories (and normally I have to try for myself as I’m a dessert critic at my site!).
      Sounds like we’re better off eating flavored PB from the Peanut Butter Co. Their cinnamon raison reminds me of oatmeal cookie dough and their white chocolate PB is awesome!

    • Michele

      I am in love with this product. I heat 1tbsp in the microwave add granola and a scoop of Soy Ice Cream. I then top with sunflower seeds and dried cranberries (all of which are located at TJs) Its been a lifesaver as I have transitioned to a Vegan diet (best sundae I’ve ever had). When I want something sweet this is my go to snack. I am going to make a Vegan pumpkin pie and I plan on added a couple tbsp of Cookie Butter to give a special kick. All things are good in moderation!

    • Vicky

      I saw this at trader joes last week (in April, not during the holidays) and was going to buy some for my son who likes to eat peanut butter by the spoonful. When I read the ingredients I decided against it and bought the Better than Peanut Butter instead. He loves it and the ingredients don’t seem too bad.

      • Lisa

        it’s not actually as unhealthy as all that. It sure isn’t health food, but sugar grams are only 5, and even carbohydrates are 8. There is no redeeming protein in. Sodium is zero. So, not health food but not the unhealthiest thing you can eat. Usually they refer to anything high sugar, like candy bars which often have over 33grams of sugar or more as empty calories. Or a root beer that could have 70 plus sugar grams per serving. 5 grams is not that much. This is also empty calories, mainly because of it having low nutritional value.

        it is great though. Love it, actually.

    • Lori Hogenkamp

      The “good or bad” of it, to me, would depend on the quality of oils they use, both Palm and Canola can be REALLY detrimental to health goals especially if they are low quality or rancid, but labelling it with Rapeseed (the more unfiltered form of canola) and coconut oil (which may be the redeemer, again, if it’s good quality) makes me wonder if it ups the “not so healthiness” and may even be a source for some healthy fats as long as the fats are balanced or redeemed???… sorry for thinking too much!! I bet it’d add quite a kick of flavor!! Personally I’d put it on some Ezekiel bread and throw some granola and bananas with raw cocao nips on top. Yum. Thanks for the pointer!

      Replacing trans fat: the argument for palm oil with a cautionary note on interesterification. Hayes KC, Pronczuk A.
      J Am Coll Nutr. 2010 Jun;29(3 Suppl):253S-284S.
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20823487

      • Lori Hogenkamp

        And be sure to add an extra sprinkle of fresh grated cinnamon on top!

        Penn State (2011, August 10). Antioxidant spices, like turmeric and cinnamon, reduce negative effects of high-fat meal. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 2, 2012, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110810101607.htm

    • fiddles

      Thanks for a photo of the ingredients, now I know that my lactose intolerant family can probably join the ranks in positive comments about enjoying this as a TREAT (versus a staple). While healthy, our goal in life is not to strip it of all joy.

    • suzie

      I love the cookie butter in between 2 Bistro Biscuits! I’m so very disappointed that Trader Joes has discontinued the biscuits. :(

    • Vanessa

      I just tried this for the first time today. I speared just a tad on a piece of whole wheat toast, then sliced bananas on top, sprinkled with cinnamon. Because the toast had just come out of the toaster, the cookie butter had just begun to melt and the bananas were warm. I thought it was absolutely delicious, filling, and had enough of a sweet kick to satisfy. I only used 1/2 tbsp though. That was more than enough. It was filling because of the banana and the fiber in the bread and the sweetness can also be attributed to the sugars in the banana. There is nothing healthy about this product. If you are eating just a smidgen as a sweet treat, great. But eating a whole spoonful of sugar and oil is NOT in any way good for you. It doesn’t matter that there are “good” oils in there, that does make them good fats because technically you have absolutely no idea how this is made! It is highly acidic and many different types of sugars and syrups are used to make it.

    • Nadine

      Interesting reading the comments! I was at Trader Joe’s today going back and forth on whether or not to get it…. I wish there was a smaller jar option – the jar seems like so much, especially when people are commenting to just enjoy a little a time….

    • orangirltanluv

      I won’t eat it MAINLY because it’s got palm oil in it, which I have a strong aversion to, as an orangutan lover.

    • Sandy

      It’s awesome, but it’s not as good as Biscoff Spread from Lotus, another really unhealthy but delicious spread.

    • LadySensory

      I bought some because I love all things gingerbread…didn’t read the label (unfortunately). You are correct. Absolutely no nutritional value and impossible to indulge in less than 6-8 servings at a time. I could have some fancy ice cream for much less fat and calories; and I’d at least be getting a trace of calcium. Ha ha. So, this will not be purchased again but it is quite delicious and worth a try (once, anyway).

    • justmeint

      why would anyone who values their life eat this gunk?

    • Nexus7Forum.com

      This stuff will turn you into a diabetic in a few weeks. I felt my blood sugar levels go through the roof within minutes of having a spoonful and then felt sick afterwards.

    • Bebe

      Nothing wrong with good quality fats, which are glaringly missing from TJ’s ingredient list. Saturated fats are perfect brain food and satiate in a way that nothing else does. I actually go out of my way to keep my intake up and my mind is significantly sharper than it was a couple years ago! I just made a version that I had pinned over a year ago but never tried, from girlgonecountry.com.
      Nut butter, pastured dairy butter, a little coconut flour and honey, plus spices, good quality sea salt and vanilla. Super yum and loaded with nutrient density! Now that’s the way to eat a treat!

    • Ca77andra

      I tried this for the first time. Finished it off in 4 days, eating it right out of the jar. For the first time in years I have a horrible headache. This item is the only thing different I’ve injested. If the headache goes away in a day or so I’ll know this was it. Anyone else have this happen?

      • Lucy

        Yes!! I’ve had the weirdest headaches every time I eat this and can feel my blood sugar rising. It’s junk.

    • Kaylene Nichole Elliott

      In the typed nutritional facts under the picture, it says “sugar” where it should say “protein”.