How To: Make Cookie Butter at Home

Looking for the perfect foodie gift for friends and family this year? Spread holiday cheer with cookie butter. (No, I'm not talking about buying the Speculoos Cookie Butter from Trader Joe's -- don't bank on the store having a full stock; there could be a shortage, or employees could limit the amount you purchase.) I'm saying make a batch of cookie butter at home this year and ensure you'll have enough to give your loved ones (and keep some for yourself).

After reading the latest Food Network Magazine, I found a recipe for making the sweet cookie spread. Here's how you can do it at home, and a few ways to make different flavors.

First, combine 12 gingersnaps with six graham cracker sheets and five shortbread cookies in a plastic bag. Smash the cookies until they are crumbled, but not completely pulverized -- that's what the food processor is for.

Place the cookies in a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add three tablespoons of water and mix until the water binds the crumbled cookies together. Let the mixture rest for approximately ten minutes, then add the sugar and spices (a.k.a. the good stuff).

Pour ¼ cup of granulated sugar, half a teaspoon of vanilla extract and half a teaspoon of cinnamon into the food processor, then blend into the cookies.

The Food Network recipe calls for half a cup of coconut milk, but you can also use regular milk, almond milk or soy milk, depending on your flavor preference. I used almond milk because I prefer the nuttiness it gives the mixture, as opposed to the flavor the coconut milk provides.

Slowly pour half a cup of the milk into the food processor while it is blending the cookies, spices and sugar. Once the cookie butter is smooth, place it in an airtight jar for no more than two weeks.

While you can save the cookie butter for yourself (which you should), you can also put it in small mason jars to hand out as Christmas gifts to neighbors, friends and family members. Add a recipe tag to the top of the jar so your recipients can make it at home, too.

The gingersnaps provide the strongest flavor in the original cookie butter, so if you want a cookie butter of a different flavor, substitute another cookie for the gingersnaps.

If you want a peanut butter flavor, substitute peanut butter cookies for the gingersnaps, or peanut butter sandwich cookies (the filling will make the butter creamier). Make oatmeal cookie butter by substituting oatmeal cookies; you can also add snickerdoodle cookies for a stronger cinnamon cookie butter.

Whichever flavor you choose, enjoy it with fruit, on a graham cracker, with pretzels or by the spoonful...no one is judging you.

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