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Apple Pie Peanut Butter

Posted Nov 08 2011 9:08am
So what do you give to a hostess who gives you so much ?
Well, if your name is Miss Smart,* it's probably going to be peanut butter.
*Or you are me. As my name is not actually Miss Smart.
And, if you also happen to be infiltrated with the flavors and scents of fall , it's definitely going to be seasonal.*
*I mean, how long did y'all really think I would go without trying to combine my obsession for apple pie spice with my love for nut butter?
You can start with your own homemade peanut butter, but I happened to have a tub of free honey peanut butter that was super creamy, and already slightly sweetened. If you are not so lucky to work in a place that occasionally gives you free samples of nut butter, use your favorite one, and add whatever sort of sweetener (honey, sugar, brown rice syrup...) you might like. [This is apple pie we are talking about, so a little sweet won't hurt in this case. ;)]
My spice profile for this batch of nuttiness came from the scent and flavor of mulled apple cider. I took a peek at a box of mulling spices for inspiration, and, along with "the usual" cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice... ...I added a surprise guest: orange peel!
I don't know that I ended up adding enough to completely change the flavor, but sometimes psychosomatic subtleties make all the difference.
Another thing that makes all the difference?
MORE SPICE!
As with my Vegan Pumpkin Mousse (and many of my other recipes), I encourage tasting and testing as you go.*
*But remember the flavors will intensify, so unless you are like me and eat an entire jar of peanut butter in a couple of days,^ you might want to think about that.
^not something I'm proud of
Of course, you can't have Apple Pie Peanut Butter without apples!
To allow it this nutty butter to be shelf stable, I used dried ones.
To avoid ending up with a Sara(h)bar instead of nutty butter, I spiced 'the buttah' first. That way I'd be able to pulse the whole thing JUST enough to crush and distribute the dried fruit without causing the whole thing to stick together in a ball of nutty dough* due to over-processing.
*Which is nothing more than a (delicious) disappointment....unless you just want to make nutty dough balls of course.
Scoop out as much as you can into one of the thousands of empty peanut butter jars you keep stashed away in the cupboard.*
*If you don't do this, you should start. And while I DO recommend risking security breach with TSA* in order to successfully get this goodness into the hands of your San Francisco hostess ...
*"But ma'am, it's not a liquid! It's PEANUT BUTTER!"^
^ True story .
...I do NOT recommend coming home late at night after your trip and polishing off all the leftovers in one fell swoop.* :)
*It makes for a very unhappy morning...
Apple Pie Peanut Butter

2 cups (or so) creamy peanut butter
2 1/2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 tsp. dried orange peel (optional)
1 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
brown rice syrup or other sweetener (i.e. honey), to taste (if peanut butter is unsweetened)
pinch of salt (if peanut butter is unsalted)
10 dried apple rings

1. Scoop peanut butter into food processor. Add half the suggested amount of spices. Process until smooth.
2. Taste, and add more spices in small increments, processing and tasting as you go.
3. Follow processing-and-tasting procedure with sweetener (if using).
4. Once you are satisfied with the flavor, break up apple rings into food processor bowl. Process just until the apples are evenly distributed in small pieces!
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