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I love to bake and have come across several peanut butter recipes (cakes, cookies, even a multi-layered/multi-component [cake & cheesecake layers] cake) that sound really good. My problem is I don't like baking things I can't eat (a little selfish I know :D), and peanut butter HATES me. I love it, but it makes me want to curl up in the fetal position and die.

Is there anything that behaves the same as peanut butter that I can substitute? I know it will change the flavor drastically and for most recipes it won't be a problem. I know I can use other nut butters, but I'm asking if there are other alternatives. I know Nutella (flavor-wise) can be substituted for most peanut butter baking recipes, but the texture is different so I don't think it behaves exactly the same (especially if I'm trying to make cookies where that would matter more than cake).

What about cookie butter? Would that behave the same as peanut butter (assuming I decrease the sugar required)?

I read Is it possible to subsititute nutella for peanut butter?, but it's very vague with its question.

  • I should add that most of the recipes I find come from food blogs. I do ask the blogger if something can be substituted for peanut butter, but I never get good answers back (if any). – Brooke Feb 26 '15 at 15:24
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    Nutella is a chocolate hazelnut concoction which would defeat the idea of peanut butter cookies, but would work. Here are some subsstitutions, macadamia butter, almond butter, walnut butter, pecan butter also tahini. You buy nuts you can stomach, process them and even add some peanuts, just a bit, to use as your peanut butter flavor. What I have done is used more peanut butter, less butter, less white sugar, my brown sugar and add a lot of honey to my recipe. I make into 1 1/2 inch balls, bake 8-9 min and they usually melt in your mouth, soft, not crunchy. Try Reeces Peanut Butter Cup Candy – user33210 Feb 26 '15 at 15:53
  • Thanks user33210. I never thought about using tahini. That might be interesting. I'm not as worried about changing the flavor of things as I am maintaining the right consistency/texture. Any peanut butter is bad for me. Most nut butters will bother me if I eat too much (more than a sandwich worth), but any peanut butter hurts. :( – Brooke Feb 26 '15 at 16:26
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    She said any peanut butter hurts. The sandwich worth is in relation to other nut butters. – Catija Feb 26 '15 at 17:37
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    Apple (or any fruit) butter has a pretty different consistency and sugar level. It's fine for baking (or just eating an entire jar worth, mmmmm) but I don't know if a one-to-one substitution would work -- more like applesauce than peanut butter. – Erica Feb 26 '15 at 17:56
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I'm a professional baker and my daughter is allergic to peanuts and peanut anything is my husband's favorite, so we have had to learn to adjust. I use soy nut butter. It doesn't contain any peanuts or tree nuts or even sesame so it's safe for most allergy sufferers (except soy). To me it tastes more like real peanut butter than sunflower seed butter. The brand I like is called Wow butter and comes in crunchy and creamy varieties. It has a slight aftertaste, but you get used to it if you dont eat PB regularly. You can find it at most health food stores. Another great option if you can eat almonds is Barney butter. It's made purely from almonds in a peanut free facility. It's pretty pricey - almost $9 a jar, but it is delicious and works well in baked goods if you don't mind paying for it. I typically just use this one as a straight substitute in pb&j. Nutella is delicious of course, but not PB flavor. if you do bake with it though be sure to undercook just a bit because it burns more quickly and will turn your treats into little bricks.

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Sunflower seed butter (also called "sunflower butter") is nut-free, and we use it on sandwiches for a friend with a peanut allergy. Its consistency is essentially identical to peanut butter (it sticks well to bread).

The biggest issue is that the flavor is somewhat different, although that varies somewhat from brand to brand (one brand, which I unfortunately forget the name of so I can't warn you about, had a rather bitter aftertaste). However, if it's mixed in with a bunch of other ingredients for a sweet application, that should be less of a problem (if it's still detectable at all).

  • I don't mind changing the flavor at all, but I am concerned with it tasting good at the same time. Would something like sunflower butter be good as cookies or a cake? I mean, I know it's hard to know unless you make it, but does it even sound good? Or would it go with chocolate (like a chocolate frosting on a sunflower butter cake)? – Brooke Feb 26 '15 at 20:25
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    I'd say yes, although I'll also point out I've never actually tried it ;) It still tastes "nutty" (whereas something like cookie butter has more of a gingerbread flavor). I think that if you made "peanut butter" cookies and substituted this, it would be apparent something was different, but it would still taste good. And chocolate is always nice -- I'll be happy to taste test for you! – Erica Feb 26 '15 at 20:28
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    Here's a thought. Use the nutella, tahini or sunflower butter and I would add honey and use less white sugar. Now use Peanut Butter Extract or Peanut Butter Flavoring from King Arthur's Flour or I believe Spice Islands. Look it up on Google and you will find your flavorings. You should get your taste and texture without hopefully hurting your stomach. Good LucK! – user33210 Feb 27 '15 at 9:03
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    @Brooke -- I made sunflower butter cookies this weekend, substituting into a standard peanut butter cookies recipe. The batter is slightly greasier, and the cookies a bit crumblier, and the "peanut" flavor rather muted (but still somehow there, perhaps psychological suggestion from the color shape?). However, they were delicious and popular, and nobody guessed there was a substitute! – Erica Sep 22 '15 at 10:01

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