Flash in the Pan: Cinnamon-Toffee Pecan Bean Butter (Nut-Free Option)

[Sometimes, you just want a dish that’s quick and easy–no fuss.  I’ve decided to offer a mini-post every once in a while, for a dish that comes together incredibly quickly or else is so simple to make that no recipe is required. Here’s today’s “Flash in the Pan.” (For other FitP recipes, see “Categories” at right).]

[See that mound of bean butter? You can eat it all–no guilt!]

Here’s a sentence you don’t relish hearing too often: “I’m afraid you’re going to need a root canal.”

I know; for most normal, psychologically balanced adults, having a root canal is considered a necessary evil: like having to stop at a highway truckstop to use the bathroom, or hiring the gum-snapping, grammatically incorrect babysitter that the kids adore, or dying your hair over 40–well, you don’t like it, but you can live with it. Case in point: when the HH had to have a root canal a few months back, he took off work early, sat in the dentist’s chair watching Under the Tuscan Sun on the ceiling screen for an hour or so, then came home and chewed a bit gingerly for an evening or two before forgetting about the entire thing. No fuss, no muss.

I, however,  had a slightly different reaction to that statement when my dentist tersely informed me he’d have to dig out the still-live root of my tooth (which tunnels down into my jaw bone), pack it with cement and non-elastic latex materials, possibly insert a metal rod for stability, then cover the entire thing with a metal-and-ceramic cap (or “crown”).  Yep–just as in pretty much every other realm of our lives, when it comes to our philosophy of dental care, HH and I are total opposites. (Seriously. Oscar and Felix have got nothing on us. Oscar and the Cookie Monster–well, maybe.).

[Beautiful–all on its own.]

You see, the HH is 6’1″ (about 185.5 cm) tall, while I’m a mere 5’4.5″ (almost 164 cm)–though, according to the HH, my voice makes me seem taller. (Go figure.)  When we first met, I was a quintessential Type A: über organized, punctual, adhering to a strict daily schedule (set out in 15-minute increments); I’d normally wake at at 5:45 AM, planned what I’d wear the night before (to save time), brown bagged it every day (and filled that bag the night before–to save time), organized my linen closet and alphabetized my spices.  (Okay, perhaps those habits were a tad anal, now that I think about it; but when you live alone, these quirks do tend to assert themselves).

On the other hand, if there were such a thing as Type Z, that would be the HH. He would prefer to stay up until 2:00 AM and sleep in until noon; never make plans more than 45 seconds in advance; and eat in restaurants every day (in fact, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, he once lived in an apartment for two years and only once turned on the stove).  Of course, he’s responsible when it comes to his job and taking care of The Girls, but otherwise, he just lets the breeze move him in any way he feels like it otherwise.  Plans to go shop for a new kitchen set for our dinner party tomorrow? But this symphony on the radio isn’t over for another 107 minutes.  Supposed to mow the lawn this weekend?  Aw, forgot I needed a haircut and then got lost browsing at the bookstore. That meat cleaver just fell off the table and wedged itself into his big toe? It’ll have to wait. I’m still sipping my latte and reading the New York Times.

Yet somehow, despite our contrary personalities, our union seems to work. Not coincidentally, we’ve had many a spirited discussion in which we disagree about finances, politics, how best to discipline The Girls (“What do you mean, Mum? Aren’t we angels who never need disciplining?“), best vacation spots, whether his plaid shirt really does go with those tan cords–in other words, pretty much everything.

[A perfect Sunday brunch.]

Including, that is, my suggested root canal. A few weeks ago, I began to notice a deep, sometimes excruciating toothache, and extreme sensitivity to very cold foods; of course, I visited my dentist immediately. Now, I’m not one of those patients who’s afraid of needles, or who trembles any time the dentist’s drill approaches my face; but after having read this article only a week or two before on mercola.com, the dentist’s proclamation threw me into a tailspin.

Rather than make a hasty decision, I sought out a second opinion; in other words, I did exactly what the HH didn’t, and uncovered a bit  some  a lot  a boatload of research; I polled you all on twitter and Facebook; and I set up an appointment with not one, but two holistic dentists so  I could weigh my options. (As you might suspect, the HH thinks I’m daft. His response? “Just go get the damn root canal and don’t worry about it.” My response? My immune system is burdened enough with candida and a slew of other chronic conditions, thank you very much; I don’t wish to add anaerobic bacteria to the list. And besides, I’ve already seen Under the Tuscan Sun.). Sometimes, I really do wish I were more like the HH. Sigh.

So, while I continue to chew over the matter (sorry, you knew I couldn’t resist that one, didn’t you?), I’ve been chewing very little else.

Enter this bean butter.

Some of you who’ve followed this blog for a while might remember when my immutable love of chocolate drove me to create this Chocolate Bean Butter, a rich, thick, softer, smoother, more quotidien version of the black bean fudge that made the rounds on Pinterest last week. I also loved the Carrot Cake Bean Butter I created for a guest post on Kelly’s blog.  This cinnamon pecan toffee bean butter marries my love of nut butter and beans. And we all know how much I love my nut butters–there are no less than five separate flavors of the stuff on this blog already–but the calories and fat in nut butter can add up pretty quickly (I’m sort of an expert on that). With bean butter, you cut the fat virtually in half without losing any of the richness or flavor. You also bump up the fiber and protein quotient. It tastes like an indulgent treat, but bean butter triggers no remorse when I smear it thickly on a rice cake, or add a huge dollop to a stack of pancakes.  It would also be fantastic as a filling rolled in crepes or used in a pinch as a frosting; just add a little extra milk and whip it up in the food processor to use atop cupcakes or sandwiched between cookies.

I absolutely adore this spread, and have been slathering it on pretty much everything lately; it’s been a lifesaver while I’m nursing my sore teeth. As it turns out, the HH wasn’t as much a fan as I was. Of course, given our natures, that didn’t surprise me in the least.

For all of you (or those with kids) heading back to school, welcome back! (Over here we start the day after Labor Day, which means I’ve got a short break before the next semester. Whoo hoo!). 😉

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I’m sharing this at this week’s Sightly Indulgent Tuesday. and Healthy Vegan Fridays.

Last Year at this Time: Triple Corn Pancakes (gluten free; ACD Stage 3 and beyond)

Two Years Ago: Cheryl’s Cold Thai Rice Paper Rolls (gluten free; ACD  Stage 2 and beyond)

Three Years Ago: Flash in the Pan: Zucchini Bread Oatmeal (gluten free; ACD Stage 2 and beyond )

Four Years AgoMusings on Food and Meme-ish fun (happy to say I’ve now mastered Number 84).

© Ricki Heller, Diet, Dessert and Dogs

[Disclaimer: this post may contain affiliate links. If you buy using these links, at no cost to you, I will earn a small commission from the sale.]



  1. wow! That butter looks SO SO good! oh my gosh!

  2. This looks incredible Ricki! I think I’m in love with it on sight 🙂

  3. I want some! Just the name alone had me quavering, but the photo really makes me want it. Badly.

    I used to be nonchalant about root canals, too. Until I read all the research, especially from the alternative docs and dentists. Hope you figure out the best solution for you, Ricki. I know that needing a root canal is a very unpleasant experience.


  4. Hi Ricki!
    Well, I ended up w/ a root canal too. I don’t think there was any way to avoid it. I chose not to take the antibiotics so that is a possible route. Also I am treating it now w/ clove and oregano essential oils so stay in touch. I don’t know what to believe on this stuff. Bugs me a lot. I’m thinking, “Hey! If these oils are antibiotic then shouldn’t they take care of whatever infection there might be lurking in there??”

    Wondering if garbanzos would work w/ this. I am making hummus today and would love to try this!!! Thanks!!!

    • Sorry about your root canal, Adrienne. I was also told that clove oil would be a useful (at this stage, to see if it can help with sensitivity). Keep me posted on your progress! Re: the bean butter, yes, I’m sure garbazos would work, but my personal preference is to use the other beans, which I find are milder and softer, so they result in a more appealing final product (to my taste buds, anyway). I was never a fan of the “sweet hummus” recipes I tried, but I do love the chocolate bean butter and now this one! But if you know you’re good with garbazos, go ahead, I say. 🙂

  5. Oh -I am for sure sharing this on my Facebook page!

  6. Yikes. One more question! Do I need lucuma? I have never bought it. Sigh.

    • It doesn’t taste anything the same without the lucuma. That’s the “toffee” component. It might be good as a different flavor altogether (ie, cinnamon-ginger, or something, if you want to play around), but it won’t quite be “toffee.” I think carob or even mesquite might be a nice alternative, though. 🙂

  7. Anna-Marie says

    so, what did you decide about the root canal? I read the Mercola thing too, clicked on links and am scared to go ahead with one – but can’t figure my options …

    but I love the recipe! thanks

    • I haven’t decided yet, Anna-Marie! I have a second holistic dentist appointment today–will let you all know! One of the options I was given (and this only works if the root is still alive and there’s enough tooth left under the crown) is to remove the crown, disinfect, and re-fill, then replace the crown. Apparently, sometimes that allows the inflammation in the root to subside and it can heal itself. If that’s not an option, I am considering either extraction with a bridge added after, or a “holistic” root canal (which uses a different method of sterilization). Big decisions! But the bean butter is a no-brainer, right? 😉

  8. I wish I was more like HH too – though I can do the 2am evenings if I didn’t have a small child about. Root canals are painful and expensive, but I had not seen this research before – a bit scary! Though the worst story I have heard was a friend who got a cheap root canal on holiday and found that they did the wrong tooth! Good luck with managing the pain – glad this bean butter is keeping you going – sounds interesting – I am still a bit wary about beans in sweet food but I like the idea of bean butter with a bit of nuttiness

    • Oh my gosh, your poor friend!! That is truly awful. So far, the pain has subsided about 90% (I’ve been using goldenseal mouth washes, which are antibacterial) but for all I know that means the root is dying, so not a good thing! Will see what Dentist #2 says today. I am so with you on the not liking beans/sweets for the most part, but for some reason I find the bean butters just divine. 🙂

  9. Rolled up in a crepe? Just the words have me drooling. My last pecans of the season are going into this recipe!

    • I haven’t tried the crepe idea yet, so please let me know how it works out if you give it a try! For some reason, I was thinking peaches cut up and rolled in as well. . . hmmm!

  10. Oh yum! I’m a nut butter addict. I can’t do the beans in nut butter, but love the flavor idea!

  11. What a gorgeous, unique recipe! I’ve been thinking lately that I need to cut down on the nuts a bit, I’m seriously addicted to cashew cream cheese right now! This is the perfect solution 🙂

  12. This sounds delicious. I’m guilty of eating nut butter with a spoon, I just can’t stop myself! I’m excited to try this version so I can eat away guilt free, what a great idea.

    Did you find a good holistic dentist in Toronto? I have been thinking about switching to one.

    • I do that too, Jesse, especially during my grain-free phases when I’m craving something sweet. I’ve gone to one dentist so far and about to see another tomorrow–will report back then. You can email me if you’d like the name of the first one, though: dietdessertdogsATgmailDOTcom. 🙂

  13. This sounds tasty! And now I can have double the amount of “butter” – LOL!

  14. Ha! You are describing my own contrast with many an ex-boyfriend perfectly! I’d personally get the root canal in a heartbeat, but the Type-A scheduling sounds like me, for sure.

    You and the HH seem to have negotiated differences healthily and sustainably, and it is all proof that some opposition is good in a relationship.

    And finally, what a lovely spread 🙂

    • Well, I *do* tend to over-think and overanalyze (plus I worry about everything)–so jumping right in to a root canal just isn’t “me.” 😉 But yes, I’d say the HH and I have managed to come to a peaceful coexistence together! 😀

  15. What a perfectly delicious healthy recipe, Ricki. I love it.

    I also possess a lot of classic type A personality traits (I also have type A blood) – Ha ha. I never stood a chance. 🙂

    I just read that article on how root canals generate toxins. Crazy! Keep us posted on your tooth.

    Be Well,

    P.S. I’m like you in that I search for alternative forms of healing before major procedures -and do A LOT of research. Case in point, I just had minor surgery yesterday (ovarian cyst removal), but I tried for 3 years to rid of it naturally through cleanses, fasts, diet, teas, herbs, etc. But alas I had to go with the traditional remedy of removal. But I was definitely my own best advocate through the process (for example, declining the intravenous antibiotics they wanted to give me “in case” of infection – no thanks)! I like how we can still have some control of how these procedures go. It also helps to have a good doctor who supports what you need and what you’re comfortable with. 🙂

    Good luck!

  16. I love the idea of cutting the nuts with beans. This looks so creamy and almost fluffy. I can’t wait to try it, and I’ll use my homemade sunbutter!

  17. “Type Z”. Love it!

    I have been on a bean kick this week. It looks amazing!!!!

  18. Haha, I agree with Cheryl. The Type Z comment made me laugh out loud! Sorry about your pain Ricki, though I’m glad you’ve found something soft and yummy to ease your troubles. I hope it gets sorted out soon so you can enjoy your break. Oh, and before I totally forget! I love this recipe and REALLY need to get some lucuma!

  19. Oh Ricki, this indeed looks delicious, but it worries me to think of you still in pain at this moment! I hope the right course of action for you presents itself soon, whether that be the conventional root canal or another option (I vote for magical sparkling pixies coming and tapping your mouth with iridescent wands).

  20. Ricki,

    What? Doesn’t everyone organise their lunch and clothes the night before? And of course spices have to be organised in alphabetical order…is there any other way? Makes me 🙂 to think we are alike in those ways!

    I’ve never tried bean butters, or Lucuma but your pictures make it look sooo good, I guess I will be trying them soon 🙂

    Best wishes with taking care of that toothache!


    • Thanks, Laureen! In my experience, people who organize their spices alphabetically, etc., think everyone does it that way. Everyone else thinks we’re anal. 😉 And thanks re: tooth–now it looks like the whole situation has changed according to the latest dentist! Gah!!

  21. Kathleen Johnson says

    I have been able to avoid a root canal for five years now. I used a magnetic pulsar I bought on eBay, did oil pulling, and used an herbal chrystal toothpaste. I have written a testimony about it on Curezone. I can find a link and send it to you or post it here, whatever you want. Just had another Xray a few months ago and all is well. I never tell the dentist who does the Xray that I had the abcess and a root canal was recommended. I just wait to see what he says about my tooth, lol.

    • Fascinating, Kathleen!! Please do email the link to me. If other commenters are interested, please leave a comment here and I can either forward it or ask you to post it then. Thanks so much! 🙂

  22. Oh, Ricki- you had me at toffee. That is one flavor I just don’t have enough of in my life! Thank you for this!

  23. Cinnamon, toffee, and pecans sound like such great flavors for a nut butter! Love the idea of using lucuma. I’ll have to order some and experiment

  24. Kathleen Johnson says

    Did you get the link I sent?

  25. love the toffee cinnamon butter. i bet i’ll have to eat loads of this when i get mine, which i have been postponing since 6 months now. if you do find some other options, keep us in the loop. i need to get 2 root canals and really i’d much rather not have those teeth. 🙁 i have no clue how my dad has had 9 done till date, though all after 50 and i am just mid 30. i think i inherited his teeth. grumble.

    • Good luck with it, Richa! My dad had his teeth all taken out fairly young (he’s 91 now, when dentures are more or less considered normal, but he’s had his for some time now!). I am also going to wait and see. If I do need to do it, though, I will likely go with the holistic approach.

  26. YUM. what a great spread! good luck with the tooth… i had one root canal a few years back, because a previous aweful dentist had nicked a nerve putting in a filling. #notcool

    • Shannon, that’s terrible!! Even with good dentists, it’s so difficult to know what to do because it’s always better to just keep your own teeth whole and the way nature gave them to you. . . but glad you got yours sorted out!

  27. Oh wow Ricki, this is amazing! I love how you upped the protein and lowered the fat- although I’d probably comsume a good chunk of this in one sitting, thereby negating any reduced fat benefits this nut butter should give 😉

    Sorry to hear about your teeth! I hope the holistic dentists give you answers more in line with your beliefs! And I love the little comparison of you and HH. Made me smile!

    Also, I LOVE your “Last year at this time…” things at the end of your posts! When my blog is a year old (a few months away still but I have high hopes!) do I have your permission to do the same? Such a great way to introduce new (and seasoned) readers to your older content!

    • Thanks, Gabby! 😀 I am sure I negated the lowered fat content many times over as I sat and ate this with a spoon on quite a few occasions. 😉

      And glad to hear that oil pulling worked for you, too. It’s one of the things I’m going to try.

      As for the “Last Year at This Time,” you are incredibly sweet to ask, but it’s not exactly trademarked material! 😀 I originally nabbed the idea from Smitten Kitchen (why not copy from the best, right?), and I’ve seen the same concept around blog land for quite some time now. But I WILL say “congrats on almost-a-year!” That’s fantastic!

  28. Oh and I’m totally with Kathleen- oil pulling has significantly improved my oral health!


  1. […] Cinnamon-Toffee Pecan Bean Butter – Part nut butter, part hummus/bean dip = Guilt-Free Awesomeness! I love the flavor profiles of this dip/butter and you could use it on just about anything or eat it directly from the bowl! […]

  2. […] Cinnamon Toffee Pecan Bean Butter by Diet Desserts and Dogs. I’ve never tried Bean Butters, or Lucuma, have you? Ricki’s photos make it look like something I want to dive right into. […]

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