A new item appeared some weeks ago in the customary supermarket we frequent (look at the picture below) and as soon as I stumbled upon it, I knew I would like it – especially so I was in a « gingerbread mood » at this time. The spread being labelled as a sort of handcrafted product I got afraid I won’t be able to find it again, or elsewhere, so as usual I went for homemade. The upcoming recipe is my attempt to replicate it, and I’m fairly satisfied with it. A gingerbread spread is quite unusual, but it’s a real treat, even for me, who ain’t fond of chocolate spreads and the like. I have to warn you that this spread isn’t meant to be smooth yet chunky either ; though easily spreadable, it is thick and somewhat coarse.
I won’t pretend my spread is a perfect reproduction of the store-bought one, but it is satisfactory both at the taste or the consistency level. It was in this purpose that I made a gingerbread cake with dried fruits and nuts, taking inspiration from the ingredients of the store-bought spread. Though it isn’t completely similar in taste to the gingerbread used in the latter, it is fine to be turned into a spread bold in flavor. That is why I encourage you to use homemade gingerbread cake rather than store-bought. Even leftovers would do, and it is a good way to use them if you get bored of eating gingerbread cake as is.
But it took me some time to find out how to reach the right consistency. A lot of spread recipes include sweetened condensed milk and butter, which both aren’t involved in the original spread and thus make for a fairly dissimilar result. Oil isn’t suitable either since it yields an oozy spread. So, after a number of failures and not-conclusive-enough trials, I found that the more approaching consistency was given by using a simple combination of margarine and caramel sauce (the kind of coulis which serves as a topping). The former makes for a soft spread without having such an overwhelming taste than butter, and the latter binds well the ingredients of the spread while emphasizing its gingerbread taste. You surely could use homemade caramel but I found it more convenient to use store-bought as it is widely available in supermarkets here and allowed me to achieve the spread within 5 minutes or so. Plus, my spread is slightly less sweetened than the original one, which is obviously a nice twist, at least for me. Believe me, if you like gingerbread, it’s worth to give it a try !
Note : if you’d like a more simple yet different version and don’t mind using sweetened condensed milk or butter, just blend 200g gingerbread cake with 1 can of sweetened condensed milk (400g), a pinch of allspice or gingerbread spice mix and 125g melted butter (adapted from here – recipe in French).
Ingredients (yields a 200g jar gingerbread spread) :
- 130g gingerbread cake with dried fruits and nuts (or 110g regular gingerbread cake plus 20g chopped assorted dried fruits and nuts, such as raisins, apricots, figs, candied citrus peel, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts)
- 30g caramel sauce – for a better consistency, look for a syrupy caramel made of sugar, glucose and water (or substitute light corn syrup)
- 40g non hydrogenated vegetable fat (margarine of good quality)
- pinch of gingerbread spice mix (optional)
Slice the gingerbread cake and break each slice into smaller pieces before placing them into the bowl of a food processor or mini food processor (make sure it is able to process tough foods like nuts).
Process on high speed for a few moments, to crumble up the cake and most importantly to break up the nuts and dried fruits.
Melt the margarine and pour it into the bowl of the processor, preferably while processing. Process for 30 seconds, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula if needed.
As it starts to form a mass, add in the caramel sauce and gingerbread spice mix and process for 30 seconds more. It should turn into a thick paste, the more homogenised as possible.
Transfer to a mortar and pound it with your pestle to reach the desired consistency and eliminate all remaining bits of dried fruits and nuts.
Put the spread into a sterilised jar (I’m used to steam them for 20 minutes as well as their lid then air dry them) or airtight container. It will keep for at least one week if refrigerated. Though it is not necessary, you should take it out of the fridge about 10 minutes before using it to have it spread more easily.
Enjoy the gingerbread spread on a good country-style or rye bread, on pancakes or anything you’d fancy. I must say, too, that in my next recipe I’ll present you the favorite way I’ve been using it, so stay tuned if you’re interested !
Definitely better than Nutella !