If you've tried cookie butter, a decadent Trader Joe's staple, chances are, you're hooked. Also called Speculoos Spread, the butter is made from ground-up Speculoos cookies, which taste like a shortbread wafer crossed with a gingerbread cookie. It's creamy, sweet, cinnamon-y, and utterly addictive, whether you're eating it with a spoon or spreading it on toast. There's also nothing healthy about it: With tons of sugar, flour, and hydrogenated fats, every part of cookie butter is a treat—justifiable, perhaps, but not something anyone interested in wellness would consume on a daily basis.
Now, though, there's granola butter. Invented by Instagram star Ali Bonar, together with Eric Katz and Ari Schraer, Kween Granola Butter is a revelation, capturing the cookie-like goodness of Speculoos Spread but with much cleaner ingredients. Its ingredients list is as simple and healthful as traditional cookie butter's is not: organic gluten-free oats, golden flaxseeds, olive oil, organic coconut oil, organic maple syrup, with salt and spices to taste. There's also a version that includes collagen, a nice supplement for the fact that, unlike traditional nut butters, granola butter wouldn't naturally be rich in protein.
Bonar created the spread as an alternative to the many nut butters on the market. "As a self-proclaimed nut-butter-aholic, I was topping almost every snack with this dense spread. While delicious, all the nuts left me feeling weighed down and digestively taxed. I couldn’t find a healthy and delicious nut-free spread, so I decided to create my own," she told mbg. While the product started as an alternative to nut butter, Bonar has heard the cookie butter comparison from many testers. "It could have been really easy for us to use cheaper oils (canola, sunflower, etc.) and refined sugars to create a similar, cheap cookie-butter-type product. But as [I am] a nutrition major from U.C.–Berkeley, high-quality ingredients come first, and I wanted to create a product that people felt good after eating," she said.
Consumer response has been overwhelming. "People love it," Bonar said. She's noticed her customers usually fall into one of two camps: moms struggling to find a nut-free alternative for kids' lunches (especially when their kids don't love the taste of sunflower seed butter), and consumers who are excited about indulgent new cookie-butter-like spreads.
As for the taste? Testers at the mbg office were fairly obsessed with it—it has a delightfully carb-y texture, with a powerful blend of spices that reminded people of everything from Christmas to Indian dessert. It's also highly drizzle-able, and has, as such, become an office staple for yogurt and smoothie bowls (although it's great on toast, too!). It's also gained the attention of celebrity nutritionist and mbg Collective member Kelly LeVeque, who 'grammed her love for the product in her stories. Want to try it for yourself? You can get a single jar for $12.95 or a 3-pack for $32.95.
Want more decadently healthy treats? Here's what R.D.s eat for dessert.