Thursday, January 31, 2013

Homemade Cinnamon Sugar Butter and Other Compound Butters

I love butter.  Who doesn't?  And butter can be impressive, too.  Did you know?!?  You've probably been to a steak house where your steak came out with a delicious, melting pat of herby butter, and it really added something to the meal!  Did you know you can make this butter at home, and it's REALLY EASY?!?

Hot French Toast
with Homemade Cinnamon Sugar
Butter with herbs, spices, pastes, zests or even vegetables and nuts is known as compound butter.  It can be used to "sauce" grilled or broiled items (like that delicious steak), add flavor instantly to vegetables or pastas, and can even be used as a spread for sandwiches or canapés. The great thing about compound butter, other than it being so tasty and impressive, is that it freezes beautifully so you can always have it on hand!

There are endless possibilities for compound butter...my favorites are Cinnamon Sugar Butter to use on toast/waffles/pancakes, hot bread or sweet potatoes, and simple Garlic and Parsley Butter, which basically can be used on absolutely anything, including dinner rolls, steaks and can even be used to baste turkey or chicken. 

Here are two simple recipes for both, each making 1/2 lb of butter (the equivalent of two sticks).

Garlic and Parsley Butter
1/2 oz garlic (about 3 small cloves), roughly chopped
3/4 bunch flat-leaf parsley (about 4 oz), stems removed
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 lb butter, cold, cut into small dice
  1. Place garlic, parsley and salt in a food processor with blade and pulse until minced and well blended.  (Alternatively, mince finely by hand.)
  2. Combine garlic-parsley mixture and butter in a stand mixer with paddle attachment and blend on medium speed until butter is softened and mixture is well blended.  (Alternatively, bring butter to room temperature and then mix ingredients by hand until well combined.)
  3. Place compound butter in a ramekin, butter molds, or roll into a log using plastic wrap.  Cover and refrigerate or freeze.  Bring to room temperature (with the exception of butter molds, which should be unmolded while still cold) before serving.
Mixing Up my Butter
Cinnamon Sugar Butter
2 tsp ground cinnamon
4 tsp granulated sugar or packed brown sugar
1/8 tsp nutmeg
pinch of kosher salt
1/2 lb butter, cold, cut into small dice

1.  Whisk dry ingredients together until mixed well.
2.  Combine sugar mixture and butter in a stand mixer with paddle attachment and blend on medium speed until butter is softened and mixture is well blended.
3.  Place compound butter in a ramekin, butter molds, or roll into a log using plastic wrap.  Cover and refrigerate or freeze.  Bring to room temperature (with the exception of butter molds, which should be unmolded while still cold) before serving.
Here are some other ideas to get your creative and salivary juices flowing...all you need to do is chop and add your extra ingredients until it looks right to you.  Don't forget salt!
  • Horseradish Butter instead of pre-made sauce for your next prime rib or steak
  • Sundried Tomato or Roasted Red Pepper Butter for any number of different sandwiches
  • Jalapeño Cilantro and Lime Butter for Arrachera or to spread on hot tortillas
  • Parmesan Butter to melt and drizzle over popcorn
  • Lemon Thyme Butter to serve over fish
  • Basil and Toasted Pine Nut Butter to toss with pasta and chicken
  • Smoked Paprika and Sage Butter to serve over pork chops