Thursday, March 21, 2013

Honey Butter

Today is the day that we will talk about butter in a very serious way.

Butter is a great thing. It adds body and flavor to pan sauces. It is the only thing that makes puff pastry the ultimate culinary vehicle. Without butter, cookies would be bland and scones would choke us half to death.

I don't want to take this any further. I just want to tell you about this Honey Butter.

The addition of sweet honey, spicy cinnamon, and soft vanilla extract takes ordinary butter and makes it extraordinary. It compliments sweet breads and homemade muffins in a way that will make you weak at the knees. You might want to bathe in it, and that's something you can do on your own time. If you want to put this on buttermilk pancakes, Lord knows I won't stop you. In fact, I'd really enjoy an invite to that breakfast.

This recipe is an easy way to elevate a breakfast or brunch table to the next level. It is an added touch of homemade that tells your guests (or just your family on a daily basis) that you truly care. Odds are you probably already have all these ingredients awaiting you in the pantry.

Last weekend, a couple of my good friends from college and I got together for a Sunday brunch. I was in charge of the carbohydrate and, since it was St. Patty's day and all, I made an Irish Soda Bread. But I couldn't leave well enough alone, and I brought a big log of honey butter over as well. HOLY YUM. So worth it.

The process of making honey butter is pretty simple. Take 2 sticks of butter and cut then into smaller pieces. I just sliced them by the tablespoon. Allow to soften just slightly.

Butter gets softened in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Honey, cinnamon, and vanilla extra join the party. You start drooling uncontrollably.

The butter mixture then gets wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and chilled for at least 2 hours.

Once the butter has set, you can use it as a topping for all sorts of baked goods. It would even be delicious as a quick snack on top of salty Ritz crackers. Leftover butter can be frozen for future use. And it all happens in 15 minutes. You know you want it.

Here's what you need for Honey Butter* (Print Recipe!)

2 sticks unsalted butter
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Here's what you do

Cut butter into 8 tablespoons slices. Set aside to soften about 10 minutes.

Place butter pieces in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Whisk on low speed for 3 minutes to loosen the butter.

Increase speed to medium and add the honey, cinnamon, and vanilla. Mix for 5 to 7 minutes until well combined.

Dump the butter mixture out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Tightly roll the butter to form a log. Be sure it is well wrapped or honey will leak out everyone!

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Freeze leftover butter, well wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to one month.

*Recipe from Alton Brown

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