I’ve been on a serious peanut kick lately, and I do mean S.E.R.I.O.U.S. It’s like I have this major craving for the things and it just won’t go away. Everyday, I wake up wanting more. Funny thing is I never was really big on peanuts to start with, or peanut butter, for that matter.
Perhaps the little buggers feel insulted that I completely cut them out of my diet for a couple of years, and now they’re coming at me with a vengeance.
I’m kidding, of course, but the fact remains that I haven’t been able to get them out of my mind lately, and I’m really puzzled as to why that is. It’s feels like I suddenly fell madly in love with someone who had been in my life for years, but never more than an acquaintance, you know. And then I woke up one morning wanting to marry them and have their children…
Hopefully, it’ll pass soon, but in the meantime, I guess it will come as no surprise to you if I tell you that this Gingerbread Cookie Butter I just made uses peanuts as a base. Not only that, but I also consider it to be the most insanely addictive and taste-bud-pleasing nut butter that I’ve ever created. I could literally bathe in the stuff. Its texture is absolute perfection: creamy, velvety and unctuous but still thick enough that it holds its shape when you draw little swirls in it. Just like pure frosting!
As for its flavor, it simply BLASTS the inside your mouth on contact, exploding with sweet gingerbread spiciness and just what it takes of saltiness. Then comes forth just enough nuttiness to remind you that it IS peanut butter you’re eating after all; not a cookie, not a piece of cake, and not cake frosting either (although I think I could really see myself using it as exactly that!)
And I guess if you preferred to stay away from them peanuts yourself, you could very well make a version using almonds instead. While it wouldn’t taste exactly the same, or have that same crazy texture, I think it would still yield a very, very moreish spread.
I’ve really made a habit of using my Vitamix to make nut butters, because I love how it makes them so very silky smooth and creamy. If you happen to have one of them dream machines, then by all means, put it to work right now! If you don’t have one, though, fear not; all is not lost. You could very well do this nut butter in a regular food processor, providing that it’s powerful enough. The steps will be pretty much identical, only it will take quite a little bit longer, and more importantly, the final product won’t be nearly as smooth. But still. It’ll get the job done.
Don’t even bother scraping the seeds of the vanilla bean. Just throw the whole thing in there; it’ll get pulverized, don’t worry.
Process on low speed for about 30 seconds while pushing down with the tamper to force the peanuts into the blades, until the nuts look like thick cement.
If using a regular food processor, you’ll have to stop the motor and scrape the sides quite a few times.
Now, slowly increase the speed to 5-6 and continue processing until the butter starts to become creamy and actually looks like slightly chunky peanut butter, about 30 seconds to a minute.
Next, remove the lid and scrape the sides with a rubber spatula, and then resume processing, progressively increasing the speed all the way up to 10.
Let her rip for about 60 to 90 seconds, until the peanut butter becomes really warm and has the consistency of a thin pancake batter.
If using a regular food processor, it’ll most likely take several minutes to get to that stage.
Now add the ground ginger (and LOTS of it!), ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground clove, melted honey and blackstrap molasses.
Mix on high speed until the newcomers get completely incorporated and the nut butter becomes thick, which should take about 15 seconds.
Do not overmix at this point because you run the risk of causing your nut butter to separate on you if you do. See how mine still has little streaks of the lighter butter going through it? That’s perfectly fine… and soooo pretty, too! I wish there had been a way to just lift the nut butter out of there and place it in a jar completely undisturbed.
Then I think I’d have never eaten it. I’d only open the jar from time to time, regal my eyes on it, take a good whiff and then put it back…
Unfortunately, all the pretty swirls will get destroyed as you transfer your gingerbread spread into an airtight container…
Oh well. At least now, you’ll get to eat it!
Sprinkle a tiny little pinch of ground nutmeg on top of your nut butter, if your heart wants you to, and then store your beautiful spiced spread in the pantry for up to several weeks, or in the refrigerator for up to a few months.