“How-To” Cooking – Compound Butter

Compound butter is nothing more than softened butter that has sweet or savory ingredients whipped into it. It’s typically rolled into a log, chilled and then sliced into pats that can be used to flavor food such as steaks, fish, vegetables, chicken, toast, waffles or even scones. The flavor combinations, both sweet and savory, are endless.

To make compound butter, take softened butter and mix in the sweet or savory ingredients. Transfer the compound butter to either parchment paper or plastic wrap and gently roll into the shape of a log. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before slicing into pieces for serving.

Cinnamon Maple ButterServe with pancakes, waffles, muffins or sweet potatoes

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tbs pure maple syrup
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Brown Sugar Cinnamon ButterServe with toast, pancakes, or French toast

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tbs dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Berry ButterServe with muffins, scones, waffles or pancakes

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cups berries, diced (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries etc)
  • Dash of granulated sugar

Garlic Herb Butter Serve with steak, fish or vegetables

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 tbs fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tbs fresh chopped herbs (basil, oregano, rosemary etc)
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Cilantro Lime ButterServe with Mexican inspired dishes

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tbs cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • Zest of 1/2 a lime

White Wine and Herb ButterServe with chicken, pasta, or fish

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tbs herbs, chopped (basil, thyme, tarragon, etc)
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • Splash of white wine

“How-To” Baking – Cutting In

Cutting in is a baking technique that is used most often when making pastry dough and pie crust. When you take a cold, solid fat (usually butter) and combine it with a dry ingredient (usually flour) the fat particles become coated in the flour thus preventing gluten forming proteins from joining together which create a tough dough. Cutting in helps to create tiny pockets of butter which melt during the baking process and create a light, flaky crust.

To cut in butter, simply cut up very cold butter into small, even pieces and sprinkle them over the flour. Using a pastry blender (a tool with 5-6 curved parallel blades) OR two knives combine the butter and flour together. With a pastry blender, rock gently back and forth until the mixture becomes crumbly. Scrape the blades as needed while combining. If using knives, hold one in each hand, blades touching, and cut though the mixture creating an “X”. Continue this motion until the mixture becomes crumbly.

When completely combined the mixture should resemble a dry, coarse meal with tiny pea sized pieces of butter throughout. If during the mixing process the butter becomes warm and greasy, place the bowl in the fridge for about 10-15 minutes to get it cold again and then continue mixing until combined.

Spring Chef Dough Blender, Top Professional Pastry Cutter with Heavy Duty Stainless Steel Blades, Medium Size

“How-To” Baking – Brown Butter

Brown butter (also called beurre noisette) will help to elevate any dish, sweet or savory. As the water within the butter evaporates the milk solids that are left behind will begin to turn golden brown from the heat. The result is a butter that is rich and nutty with a very fragrant aroma. Brown butter can be added to cakes and cookies and even things like savory sauces and pasta dishes!

In only takes a few minutes to make brown butter. In a light colored pan*, melt the desired amount of butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally. After 4-5 minutes the butter will begin to foam and bubble, keep stirring and watching it closely at this point. As the foaming begins to subside watch the color of the butter, once it looks slightly golden brown remove it from the heat and pour it into a bowl to cool. You will know the butter is browned and ready by the aroma, it should smell nutty and fragrant at this point. The brown butter can be strained to remove the dark brown milk solids or it can be used “as is”. Either way is fine, it’s simply personal preference.

*The lighter colored pan will allow you to see the color changes in the butter as it cooks and browns.

Brown Butter Chocolate and Vanilla Krispie Treats

18922607_10211713243859950_2446532969217654658_o.jpg

Although a super simple, age old recipe Rice Krispie Treats remain one of the easiest and yummiest desserts out there. It’s also one of my favorites!! Like most everyone, I use to default to making the traditional Rice Krispie Treat recipe that was always on the side of the box and while they were good I knew they could be better. I find the original cereal box recipe to be a little too dry and by the next day the treats were usually pretty hard.

A few years ago I came across a recipe for Brown Butter Krispie Treats and I jotted it down on a napkin and tossed it in my recipe binder. It’s since become my one and only “go to” Krispie Treat recipe and everyone always loves them. The brown butter and fresh vanilla bean is what really sets these treats apart and makes them sing!

I’ve tinkered around with the recipe over the years and this version is one that I thought would make for an interesting twist as well as a nice presentation. I used equal parts Rice Krispies and Cocoa Rice Krispies but feel free to play around with the ratios to find the balance that pleases your palate.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 18 oz of large marshmallows
  • 4.5 cups Cocoa Rice Krisipies cereal
  • 4.5 cups Rice Krispies cereal

Instructions

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. As the butter cooks it will begin to foam and then it will bubble and crack. Cook until it’s fragrant and brown, about 5-8 minutes.

Turn the heat to low and stir in the vanilla bean.

Add the marshmallows and continue to stir over low heat until completely melted.

Remove the pot from the heat and add the Rice Krispies, in three batches, to make it easier to stir and mix.

Lightly spray a 9X13 dish with cooking spray. Pour the mixture into the pan. Using a piece of wax paper, lightly sprayed with cooking spray, press down the mixture into the pan.

Allow the treats to cool 1.5 – 2 hrs before cutting and serving. Do NOT place in the fridge, they will become hard and dried out. Store at room temp in a covered dish and they will keep nicely for 3-5 days.

**TIP** – Do not throw out your vanilla bean pod. Scoop 1-2 cups of granulated sugar into an air tight container, bury the vanilla pod, and in a few weeks you’ll have “vanilla sugar” which is excellent in place of plain sugar in all of your baking recipes. Every time you have a used vanilla pod, throw it into the sugar container. The more pods, the stronger the vanilla flavor that will be imparted into the sugar.