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Although this has not been a “traditional” part of bread baking, I like to make a flavored butter now and then to serve alongside, especially if I’m bringing the loaf to a potluck or to a friend’s house to share.   It’s just kind of a fun thing to do, and sort of adds to the uniqueness of bringing a fresh loaf of home made bread to a gathering.   You might ask if a flavored butter wouldn’t mask the flavor of the bread that I’ve just gone to the trouble of making.  I find that the taste of the whole grain bread stands up to the addition of a flavored butter.   Sometimes people tell me that homemade bread reminds them of something they ate as children, and they may just want to enjoy that early taste memory without any other flavoring.   For that reason, if I bring a flavored butter, I like to bring an unflavored as well.   At any rate, the bread is the star, so whatever additional spread will help folks enjoy a second piece, I figure is an acceptable thing.

So here are a  couple of easy butters that are really nice for a brunch or afternoon gathering.

The first one came from a cookbook that was copyrighted in 1988 which is probably about the time that I acquired it, called Wake Up and Smell the Coffee.  It is filled with recipes collected from B & B’s that the author visited throughout Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.  I have made many of the recipes and never found one we didn’t make again.  I always make notations on recipes that I’ve used, with the date and a comment.  Above this recipe is written, “Dee-licious.  Doubled made ~ 14 oz. orange butter.”

Orange Butter

1/4 # (1 stick) salted butter, softened  (Land O’ Lakes makes really good butter, did I mention?)

1 3-oz. pkg cream cheese, softened

1/3 c. powdered sugar

2 T. orange rind, grated.  (bottled orange zest just doesn’t taste the same)

1 T. frozen orange juice concentrate

When butter and cream cheese are at room temperature, mix all ingredients until smooth.  Serve at room temperature topped with a sprinkle of extra orange rind.  Store, covered in the refrigerator.  If this is crumbly after refrigeration, bring to room temperature and mix again.

I am sorry that I do not know where I found the following recipe.

Honey and Spice Butter

Put 1/4# room temperature butter into a bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until softened.  Add 2 T. honey, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon and 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg.  Stir until well combined.  Serve in a ramekin.  Store in the refrigerator.

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