Chew on This: Spreadable cookie butter

What’s better than cookies? How about cookies you can scoop right out of a jar.

Dessert lovers, meet cookie butter. These sweet, versatile spreads are made from real cookies and can top any favorite food—from cakes, crackers, fruit—even other cookies.

Nut butters  are one of the fastest growing categories in unique food products, according to the Specialty Food Association. Cookie butter puts a sweet twist on this popular trend by incorporating one of the country’s favorite desserts into a spreadable snack.

“Cookie butter has become a really big thing in 2014,” Louise Kramer, Public Relations Director of the Specialty Food Association, told “It really is a treat appeals that to the American consumer in a new way”

In 2007, cookie butter made its debut in Belgium on a show called 'The Inventors.' The first flavor was based on a classic European cookie called “speculoos”—a cinnamon biscuit similar to a graham cracker. Trader Joe’s came out with their own version of speculoos cookie butter in the states that continues to be a best seller for low-cost chain.

But it wasn’t until this year that companies began expanding flavor varieties to appeal to classic American tastes.

Amoretti has more traditional cookie flavors like Graham Cracker and Cookies & Cream.Gooey on the Inside has dozens of unique dessert inspired spread flavors including Marshmallow Crispie Treat Butter, Birthday Cake Butter, and Chocolate Chip Butter and Smores Butter.

This year, California based Dave’s Gourmet took home top prize in the sweet spreads category at the Sofi Awards—a food show that recognizes the best in new specialty foods. Dave Hirschkop says oatmeal was a natural choice as a popular American cookie. Plus, people already like eating oatmeal in the morning.

“We wanted to keep it wholesome and oats create a nice central flavor,” says Hirschkop of his win. “A lot of people are going in the over the top but our butter is pretty simple.”

Hirschkop, who is best known for his wildly spicy hot sauces, is working on two new cookie spreads—chocolate chip and Snickerdoodle (his favorite cookie).

Kramer also notes that cookie butter may have an additional win over traditional cookies.

“Parents don’t want their kids to dip into raw cookie batter with eggs so it’s a great alternative to get to lick cookies right off a spoon.”

Used in recipes or straight from the jar, the possibilities for cookie butter are endless.

But just because they’re spreadable like a protein packed nut butter doesn’t mean they should be treated like a health food. Two tablespoons of Dave’s Oatmeal Cookie Butter has 160 calories and almost 10 grams of fat-- about the same as three Oreo cookies.