We often receive emails about new products to try, and most of the time, we are game for the challenge. Recently, a representative of Tamarin shot an email our way offering a jar of the new product. This was a new product to hit the States after making its European debut in 2008. The thick spread is based on the popular Speculoos–a traditional Belgian wafer cookie flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger made especially for St. Nicolas Day in December. The same flavor notes appear in the spread, especially the scent and taste of spices. Due to the popularity of the cookie, it’s easy to find them year round. Having never tasted one of these cookies, it is difficult to fully understand how good they may be, so perhaps that’s where Tamarin comes in. It was time to give it a test in the kitchen.
The best way we get to know a product is by cooking with it. If an ingredient has multiple uses and applications, it stands a better chance of holding its place on the shop list. First up, a variation of a cookie recipe already developed by the brand. There were just a couple of changes made to the recipe to add a bit more flavor. The cookies had crispy edges, a soft interior and a deeper spiced flavor thanks to the additional shakes of cinnamon and ginger. This spread passed the first hurdle, but how would it fare in an original recipe? The second time featured Tamarin in a quick bread, and it was indeed one of the best quick breads. Sweet, buttery and dense, the bread is speckled with soft apples and crunchy pecans. It had a soft interior with thick edges and a crisp top. The subtle flavor of the Tamarin settled into each bite. The outcome was surprisingly good. It is unknown how the spread would work in non-baked goods, but it passed the dessert test with flying colors!
Tamarin Cookies – Approximately 2 dozen (Tweaked from Tamarin)
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
7 ounces Tamarin
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ginger
1 3/4 cup flour
1. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, approximately 3-5 minutes. Add the Tamarin and continue to beat until combined.
2. Add the vanilla, followed by the eggs, one at a time. Continue to blend until smooth.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and ginger. Add to the wet ingredients until just combined, making sure not to over mix. Cover and chill the dough for at least 2 hours or overnight.
4. Shape the dough into 1″ balls and set on a cookie sheet. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 7-9 minutes or until the edges begin to turn golden brown.
Tamarin Apple Bread – Makes 2 loaves
1 cup unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pans
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup Tamarin
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 cups pecan halves, toasted
4 small Granny Smith apples
1. In a medium-sized bowl, mix all of the wet ingredients together, including the Tamarin. In a larger bowl, whisk the dry ingredients, stirring in the nuts and apples.
2. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
3. Grease two 9″ x 5″ loaf pans with softened butter. Separate the batter between both loaves and spread out flat. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 40-50 min or until cooked through.
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