Sunday, April 11, 2010

Better butter, at your fingertips

When it comes to home cooking, I tend to struggle with the one or two missing ingredients from my pantry or fridge, and it usually ends up with an unplanned trip and expenses at the grocey store.

One of those on my list? Unsalted butter, called for in a lot of recipes but always forgotten on my shopping trips.

I had an easy solution yesterday. In less time than it would take me to even drive to the store, I had freshly made butter on hand. And it was amazingly easy. Here's how.

I had a leftover pint of heavy whipping cream that I'd bought a week or two back for other intentions. As it was close to the sell-by date, I had two choices: Make a dish far heavier than I'd really want for dinner or get creative. I pulled out my mixer and dumped in the cream.

My 4-year-old loved helping spin the mixing bowl as the cream blended and changed to a pudding-like consistency, then to whipped cream and a bit later into butter. All told, it was likely 10 minutes of having the mixing bowl at the "whip cream" setting. When the cream clung to my spoon upside-down, it was ready. We scooped it into 1/4 cup size-mounds - perfect for many recipes - on a cookie sheet and froze it. The pint made 2 1/4 cups of butter, which I've now got ready in my freezer for future.

We ended up using some last night, and I have to say, it was far better than what we'd end up getting at the grocery store - plus it saved the stress of having to make the drive.

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