There are a number of foodies in my life. So this year, I’m going to try making butter and gifting it in nice Mason jars. Want to know how I know that making butter is actually quite simple? One time, I accidentally made it.
I was cooking dinner for my dad’s birthday, and I baked his favorite, blueberry pie. Our source for local dairy was selling heavy cream, and I bought some for whipping. Okay, maybe I’m used to processed supermarket cream, but I had that cream under the hand mixer for about 30 seconds before IT HAD SOLIDIFIED. And, there was milk in the bottom of the bowl. You could call it, ahem, buttermilk. Could it be that the lump in the bowl was a sugary butter? I stared at it for a few minutes, willing it to collapse into soft foamy peaks of whipped cream. But that ship had sailed. I gave up and asked the spouse to run out for Redi whip from the corner store. So, while it was $6 down the drain and a humbling experience, I learned that making butter is easy.
I found a delightful recipe in an old book my mom had discarded called “The Gift Giver’s Cookbook” (1971) by Jane
Green and Judith Choate. Bitten blog also posted a similar recipe in April.
If you happen to know what herbs the intended recipient likes, you can add these too. Herbes de Provence always smell impressive, although beware of overwhelming the butter. Dill is a nice fresh taste. If you really want to impress, or you feel cheap just giving butter, you can make a loaf of bread to accompany the butter. But I suggest keeping it simple. If you, like me, have old ribbons lying around from Christmas presents past, tie a ribbon around the jar. If you also, like me, have a family member who went through a Getting Things Done phase, commandeer their label maker, find a nice homey font, and go to town.
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup ice water
2 large ice cubes, chopped
salt to taste, if desired
Place cream in electric blender. Cover and whip at highest speed. When cream is whipped, add water and chopped ice cubes. Cover and blend at highest speed at least 2 minutes, or until all cream has turned to butter particles. Pour contents of blender into a sieve to drain. When all water has drained through, place butter in small bowl. Add salt, if desired, and knead with a wooden spoon until butter is smooth. Place in covered butter crock or plastic container in the refrigerator.
Note: For variety, you may add to the butter a clove of garlic, a tablespoon of grated orange or lemon peel or a small quantity of any ground herb you wish. Add the flavoring when you add the water and ice.