People love to lose their goddamn minds over cookie butter, and as much as I am a proponent of sugar, spice, and everything nice – I’m not one of ‘em. Yes, cookie butter is delicious, but I bought exactly one jar of it, enjoyed it, and have never had the urge to buy another. My problem is I don’t really know what to do with it, because while it’s good on pancakes and waffles I like maple syrup and butter more, and if I’m gonna eat something straight-out-the-jar like a savage it’s gonna be peanut butter. What I am a fan of though, are actual speculoos cookies, aka autumn’s shortbread, that deliver the big spicy flavor of cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg in a crunchy little buttery cookie that go marvelously with a morning cup of coffee. Even though I think the buzz on cookie butter is a bit overzealous, I’m always down to get down on something cinnamon-y, which is why I am pumped for Little G’s Cookie Butter Crunch, which dunks crushed speculoos cookies in a cookie butter ice cream with a cookie butter swirl, and mini chocolate chips.
As expected, this pint of ice cream tastes like cookie butter. The cookie butter base is light and subtly spicy, but it’s honestly hard to discern how much of the flavor is coming from the base itself and how much is coming from the pieces of actual cookies. The important thing is that the flavor is very similar to diving straight into a jar of the pure brown good stuff. The speculoos crumbs have integrated themselves pretty prominently throughout the actual ice cream, so while there’s still some melty creaminess going on, a bit of a the luscious mouthfeel I want from a premium ice cream gets lost for the sake of the flavors intensity.
The actual speculoos chunks and cookie butter swirl do exactly as advertised. The bigger pieces of cookie have softened with a nice chew and have a wonderful spicy, slightly dark flavor with a hint of molasses-y caramelization. The cookie butter swirl is predominantly smooth with some slight grittiness. It’s interesting eating cookie butter frozen instead of at room temperature, as some of the fats have hardened and solidified like peanut butter and the texture has changed ever so slightly, which fades more as the ice cream tempers. Unfortunately the flavors in the base, swirl, and cookies are all so similar that after a serving of Cookie Butter Crunch it starts to feel kind of redundant and I wish I had more contrast to keep the scooping more endearing.
Ironically, what really doesn’t work for me in this flavor are the mini chocolate chips. While on one hand they’re the lone non-spicy non-cookie component in the container, there’s simply too many of them. Even though they break up the speculoos party with a pop of bittersweet cocoa, they ultimately take away from the sweet, creamy, and spicy balance that this flavor sets out to achieve, and I find their consistent chocolatey crunch distracting and unnecessary. The chips are so ample that there is at least one, and usually more, in nearly every bite.
While this flavor isn’t bad by any means, it’s a perfect example of trying to do too much and simply needing to pull back for a self edit. I would have enjoyed trying these components in Grace’s stellar vanilla bean or even a caramel base so that the cookies and swirl could really stand out. I would have also skipped out on the chips, or at the very least dialed them back by half so I can get into a true spicy groove, even though they really are the only element that bring the crunch of the flavors namesake.
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