Saturday, 2 August 2014

Caramel Chocolate Chip Bars

using Lotus Caramelised Biscuit Spread

Lotus brand Caramelised Biscuit Spread (also known as Biscoff spread) has been available for a few years now, but for some reason sales have suddenly surged in the UK. It could be because some reviews describe it as 'crack in a jar' as it's apparently so addictive - if you've ever eaten Nutella or peanut butter by the spoonful in a darkened kitchen, you'll know that feeling! It's basically Lotus brand caramelised biscuits which have been made into a spread with the addition of more oil and sugar. The biscuits themselves are a mass market version of speculoos, and are lightly flavoured with cinnamon.

When I saw the spread on special offer at the supermarket, I thought it was time to do a little research and find out what the fuss was about. I found, to my surprise, that there is a limit to the amount of sweetness I will tolerate - I liked the cinnamon flavour but there's no way I could eat this as a spread on toast or in sandwiches, as suggested. It's described as an alternative to peanut butter or Nutella, but a quick look at the ingredients shows it has even less claim to any form of nutrition than those products. Do you really need a biscuit sandwich for breakfast?

Anyway, to avoid wasting the jar, I looked for recipes to use it up. What I soon realised was that it could be used as a direct substitute for peanut butter in any recipe,  so I decided to try it in my favourite peanut butter recipe - Chocolate Peanut Buddy Bars. I reduced all the quantities to 2/3, to bake in an 8" square tin, and reduced the sugar even more to allow for the sugar in the biscuit spread. I also used plain chocolate, to counteract the amount of sugar in the cake batter.

So, the ingredients were: 160g caramelised biscuit spread, 60g softened butter, 175g caster sugar, 2 large eggs, a teaspoon of vanilla extract, 90g plain flour, a pinch of salt and 250g plain chocolate, roughly chopped and divided in half (half for the batter and half for the topping). I followed the method described in the recipe link.

The bars had a lovely texture - somewhere between a cake and a cookie - and a subtle caramel flavour. However, the cinnamon flavour noticeable in the biscuit spread had been diluted too far - I would recommend adding half a teaspoon of cinnamon to the cake batter, to get back to the flavour of the spread.

These are still packed with calories, but if you cut into small enough bars, and exercise some restraint, I don't think you'll come to too much harm - they're certainly not addictive!


belleau kitchen said...

oh yes... a cup of tea, a slice of this gorgeous tray bake... maybe a dreadful sloppy romantic comedy on TV... heaven!

Laura Denman said...

Mmmmm, such a delicious idea for using up something and removing temptation at the same time!

Alicia Foodycat said...

I haven't tried biscoff spread - I keep hearing people rave but it honestly doesn't appeal. Maybe added to the base of a cheesecake I'd like it?

Alicia Foodycat said...

I haven't tried biscoff spread - I keep hearing people rave but it honestly doesn't appeal. Maybe added to the base of a cheesecake I'd like it?

Suelle said...

That's a good idea, Alicia - it could be used instead of some of the butter, although it might stay a bit crumbly.

I was also thinking of a layer on a pastry base, with perhaps a coconut macaroon mixture on top.

snowy said...

I've not tried biscoff spread either. As a layer on a pastry base with some kind of topping, sounds like a good idea, Suelle.