Along with peanut butter and jelly, chocolate, and macaroni and cheese, bread and butter is one of those things that I could quite conceivably live on for an extended period of time. Not much can beat a warm, fresh hunk of bread slathered with soft butter. For most of my life, butter was always butter. Except for when my grandma would sneak a leftover stick of margarine onto her butter dish. I could totally tell it was different and I was not happy. Ick! Other than that, I never knew anything other than regular butter.
That all changed at some point years ago when I was eating at a restaurant and a basket of bread was delivered to the table with what looked to be regular ol’ butter. Ah, but it was not your average butter! It was distinctly sweet, and when we asked what it was, the server said it was honey butter. My mind was blown and my taste buds threw a party. After having it at a couple of other places, I finally realized I could make this fabulous stuff at home, and not just honey, either. Pretty much any flavor I wanted.
Compound butter is the perfect way to jazz up dinner rolls or your traditional piece of toast in the morning. It’s really easy to make compound butter, and only takes a few minutes. Below is a quick instructional on how to do it, along with recipes for my three favorite compound butters (cinnamon-vanilla, herbed, and honey).
For this tutorial, I am using my herbed butter, but you’ll follow the exact same method for any type of butter you choose to make. First (and most importantly), you want to start with really soft butter. Let it sit out until it’s completely softened at room temperature; the softer the butter is, the easier it will be to incorporate your add-ins. Cut up the butter in a bowl, add a pinch of salt, your herbs or other flavors, and then fold and mix it together with a rubber spatula until everything is evenly distributed.
Next, dump the butter out onto a large piece of plastic wrap and shape it into a log, wrapping it tightly and sealing the ends.
At this point you can use the butter, but I recommend refrigerating it for at least 2 hours so the flavors have some time to meld together.
Below are all three of the butters – herbed, cinnamon-vanilla, and honey. I am tempted to slather the vanilla-cinnamon butter on everything. It makes everything taste like a piece of cinnamon bread (or a cinnamon roll)! The herb and honey are fabulous for dinner rolls (hello, jazzed up holiday table!) or just plain old bread-and-butter (my speed). I have included the recipe for each variation below… be sure to try them all out and share your favorite!
Are there any other flavored butters you enjoy?
A general recipe for creating compound butter - use your favorite combination of ingredients!
½ cup unsalted butter, very soft
Pinch of salt
For Herbed Butter:
1 tablespoon minced rosemary
1 tablespoon minced sage
1 tablespoon minced thyme
(Or, 3 tablespoons of your favorite herbs)
For Honey Butter:
1 tablespoon honey
For Vanilla-Cinnamon Butter:
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out and added to the butter, pod discarded
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. Place the softened butter in a medium bowl, cut into pieces and add a pinch of salt.
2. Add your herbs or flavorings and use a rubber spatula to fold and mix until the add-ins are completely incorporated and evenly distributed throughout the butter.
3. Transfer the butter to a piece of plastic wrap. Shape and roll it into a log about 6 inches in length. Twist the plastic wrap at the ends to seal. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving to allow the flavors to meld. (Alternatively, you can transfer the butter to a small bowl or ramekin and cover with plastic wrap.)