Full, unvarnished disclosure here (and I think author Lucy Vaserfirer will understand): When I first received a request to review a new cookbook called Flavored Butters, I scoffed a little. I don't do many book reviews period, and this one in particular seemed unlikely. Because . . . butters? The entire cookbook is filled with recipes for different flavored butters? Someone call Paula Deen, am I right? Har har.
But then I looked through the cookbook. First, Vaserfirer's gorgeous photos caught my eye. But secondly, as I browsed, I realized that there are a lot of things you can do with butter. It dawned on me: this is totally my kind of thing. These recipes aren't for complete meals, but for key components that you could use to customize your food and build your own new recipes. That is so Willow Bird Baking! So, a little humbled, I jumped on board for a Flavored Butters blog tour!
I chose to use a very different kind of butter (cookie "butter," which is like peanut butter except it's made from speculoos cookies!) to make a cookie base for trying a couple of Vaserfirer's flavored butter recipes. My cookie butter cookies came out soft and delicious, ready for a schmear of coffee butter and salted caramel butter. The coffee butter was rich and indulgent and, to me, tasted like a breakfast treat. The salted caramel butter was butterier (to use a precise term), almost like a sweet butterscotch spread. Both were delicious -- especially when schmeared on the still-warm cookie butter cookies! I imagine they'd be great on fresh maple or butterscotch scones. I have tons of ideas for the other butter recipes in the book, too! Flavored Butters retails at $12.95, and for me, it's worth at least that much for the spark of inspiration alone. The 50 butter recipes are an added bonus.
Recipe by: Lucy Vaserfirer, Flavored Butters Yield: 8 servings
If a cup of coffee with your breakfast just isn’t enough, then spread this butter on your toast or scone.
Ingredients: 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar (I used demerera sugar; more on sugars) 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
Directions: Grind the turbinado sugar to a fine powder in a mortar and pestle or a spice mill (or the back of a spoon, in a pinch). Blend together the sugar, butter, and espresso powder in a medium-size bowl. Form into a log and refrigerate until firm before slicing and serving, or use another shaping method (see pages 16-17 in the book). Or smear on warm cookies, of course!
coffee butter and salted caramel butter
Salted Caramel Butter
Recipe by: Adapted slightly from Lucy Vaserfirer, Flavored Butters Yield: 8 servings
This creamy butter is such a treat that it shouldn’t be reserved for the breakfast table. Spread it on vanilla cupcakes or sandwich it between chocolate cookies.
Ingredients: 1⁄4 cup sugar 3 tablespoons water 1⁄4 cup heavy cream 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened 1⁄4 teaspoon fleur de sel or other finishing sea salt, or to taste 1⁄8 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions: Combine the sugar and water in a small, heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil, brush down the sides of the pan with water, and boil until caramelized, 5 to 6 minutes. Once the sugar starts gaining some color, swirl for even cooking. The sugar will be fragrant and have a deep amber color when it is caramelized. Remove the pan from the heat, slowly stir in the cream until smooth (be careful -- it will spatter), and let cool to room temperature.
Blend together the caramel, butter, salt, and vanilla in a medium-size bowl.
To use as a butter, form into a log and refrigerate until firm before slicing and serving, or use another shaping method (see pages 16-17 in the book).
To use as a buttercream frosting, let soften if needed and spread onto cooled baked goods, swirling decoratively.Or smear on warm cookies, of course!
The cookie butter cookies I used as a vessel for my flavored butters actually led to yet another review -- this time not a cookbook review, but a cookie butter review! There are two major cookie butter camps: those who love Trader Joe's Speculoos Cookie Butter Spread, and those who love Lotus's Biscoff Spread.
I'm always looking out for you guys, so I conducted the very scientific experiment pictured below. I'll spare you the rigorous and detailed methodology in favor of a quick summary: I took lots of bites of each cookie butter. Here are the results.
Trader Joe's Crunchy Speculoos Cookie Butter: This cookie butter has more of a cinnamon and spice graham crackery flavor and was less crunchy. Lotus Crunchy Biscoff Spread: This cookie butter has more of a honey graham crackery flavor, tasted more buttery, and was more crunchy. The final result? Though I love both cookie butters and will demolish both jars with gusto, the Biscoff Spread has my heart. Want to win a jar of your own? I'm giving a few jars away in order to "spread" the love. Use the form below the recipe to enter to win. (Unfortunately, I can only ship to the continental U.S.) One year ago: Ten Willow Bird Coconut Recipes Two years ago: Strawberry Cheesecake Stuffed Amaretto Cake Pops (on Pretzel Sticks!) Three years ago: Toasted Almond Cake with Mascarpone Cream and Amarena Cherries
Cookie Butter Cookies
Recipe by: Adapted from Housewife Eclectic Yield: 24 cookies
These warm cookie butter cookies are delicious right out of the oven, or schmeared with coffee butter, salted caramel butter, or even a little extra cookie butter!
Ingredients: 1/4 cup shortening 1/4 cup butter, softened 1/2 cup sugar, plus extra for rolling 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/2 cup crunchy cookie butter (Trader Joe's Speculoos Spread or Biscoff Spread) 1 egg 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 3/4 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Directions: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and cover two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, shortening, and two sugars until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Add the cookie butter and egg and combine. Add in the flour, baking sodar, and baking powder, and mix until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and roll in sugar. Place about 2 inches apart on a baking sheet and bake for 7 minutes. Remove from the oven and gently remove from the pan to a cooling rack so the bottoms don't get too brown. Cool completely and spread with coffee butter, salted caramel butter, or more cookie butter!