Trends seem to have taken over my mind (and time) lately. It all began with purchasing a book. Tastemakers: Why We're Crazy for Cupcakes but Fed Up with Fondue by David Sax puts logic behind the food trends that sometimes seem absurd. It's a surprisingly easy read for a non-fiction, with witty prose that make you start to wonder why the world is so obsessed with cupcakes.
I was about halfway through David's book when a group of chefs from around the nation made a visit to Fresh Thymes Eatery. The group had been touring Boulder's restaurants non-stop, taste-testing dishes from local chefs. They were on a mission to find the next big menu item before it passed and became old news. Let me just say, we were pretty excited to have Fresh Thymes on the trend hit list.
A few days after that I was asked to join a market research project looking for trends in recipes for an organic food company. I got giddy just listening to the project proposal. You want me to look at recipes? All day?!? (Not quite. I actually spent a lot more time doing analysis than recipe gawking, but it was still the perfect project).
I was knee deep in trend searching when I thought of this recipe. "Eggnog" Macadamia Butter. It was a holiday experiment last December that, for the following few weeks, had me off on a frenzy of dessert-flavored nut butters. Pecan Pie. Almond Joy. Pumpkin Spice. Coconut Macaroon. Eggnog may be totally out of season now that it's July, but that doesn't change how much I love this recipe.
While nut butters did not actually make anyone's list of top restaurant trends, I think it's safe to say from the explosion of blogger's writing about it and the number of new brands at the grocery store, that nut butters are on the rise. I actually think the only reason they don't make most trends lists is because nut butter isn't something you order at a restaurant (…yet…). Almond Butter used to seem pretty exotic. It was the "odd" alternative to peanut butter. These days, bloggers are spooning up flavors like cinnamon hazelnut butter from Scaling Back, or cocoa and toasted coconut almond butter from A Finn In The Kitchen. Anyone else drooling?
Macadamia might not be the first flavor you pair with eggnog, but it works like a charm. A spoon licking, apple dipping charm. The butteriness of the macadamias lends a hand to the warming spices, and together they conjure up the flavors you find only once a year in the dairy isle. It's thick, sticky, dippy eggnog on a spoon. Or however you eat nut butter.
Move over, peanut butter (you were never a nut butter anyways). We're moving on.
Egg Nog Macadamia Butter
2 cups raw macadamia nuts
1/4 mace (nutmeg)
4 whole dried cloves
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Seeds from a 3-inch piece vanilla bean pod,
1 teaspoon honey
1. Place all ingredient in a high powered blender and blend on high until smooth. Store in an air-tight container or jar.
Yield: 1 cup