I decided to lift my spirits this morning – quite literally. I wanted to see if butter could be infused with alcohol and how. It turns out yes and quite time-consumingly. Unless the weather was a factor today. I won’t know until I can attempt it again on a sunny and dry day. But I spent nearly 4 hours today making butter. I have 3 huge logs in the freezer of infused butter and a mason jar of regular in the fridge. I never could get it to stop sweating so I’m not sure how long it will last. Will have to do the sniff test prior to each use after about a week or so.
I was turning over flavor combinations in my head last night while trying to wind down for sleep. I indulged in a nap yesterday afternoon and over napped so I had a hard time sleeping last night. Plus I was in a super crafty state of mind, thinking about Christmas and parties and swags and butter combinations. So as I was drifting off, I decided on Bourbon Truffle, Cabernet Smoked Paprika and Chardonnay Herb.
I decided on cultured butter since the flavor profile was so much better and I added some yogurt (9 Tbsp) to 6 cups of heavy cream and covered it with a dish towel at room temperature overnight. (My mom has expressed a desire to make butter after my last butter post, but I can’t imagine her leaving heavy cream at room temperature overnight. My guess is she’s cringing right now.)
So I started with the Bourbon Truffle. I had a little bourbon left from last winter (aka “bourbon season”) that I’ve been keeping in the freezer for this little venture.
And thanks to my sister, I also have my hands on some very flavorful truffle salt. If you have never worked with or had truffles (I have never done either), you need to know the rookie mistake a lot of cooks make is overusing truffles. From various episodes of various cooking shows and competitions, I have seen chefs chastised again and again for using too much truffle oil, too much chopped truffle. I always wondered what it was about truffles that less truly is less. It is evident in the salt. There are only a few tiny speck pieces of truffle in the salt but it would be incredibly easy to overuse. The flavor is rich and earthy but also strong and pungent. Definitely use with caution.
If you read my last post on butter, you saw the picture of the waxy gloriousness stuck on the wire whisk. Today was not that day. My butter never seized any more than a slurry of sorts and had to be poured over ice and tossed until it firmed up and then pulled out of the ice and into the cheeseclothed strainer to be pressed. Weather? I looked everywhere online to see if rain/humidity affected making butter but I couldn’t find anything. It does affect baking and buttercream so I’m assuming this might be the issue. I also used much bigger batches of cream so that could have been a problem. And I didn’t freeze the stainless bowl this time since I was making multiple batches. But I did swirl ice around inside before each batch until the outside was cold. Everything still turned out, it just took a lot more work.
I made the butter as before and then did a final rinse with the freezer bourbon, cutting some into the butter. Since I had now incorporated liquid into the butter, I had to whisk it again to get the liquid back out. The point is to impart flavor, not liquid. I did not rinse again with the ice but added the truffle salt. One tiny spoonful. I worked it in really well, pushed through the strainer one last time and tasted it. Smoky bourbon flavor marries so well with the earthiness of the truffles. It would be amazing on a ribeye or flank steak. Score 1!
As an aside, I have to say the dogs didn’t mind all of the splattering of cream and butter slopping everywhere. It’s a messy process, to be sure.
I washed the greasy divinity out of everything and began again, this time incorporating 2Tbsp of cabernet and ½ tsp of smoked paprika. Honestly, I just totally pulled the measurements out of my behind. Next time I’ll add more cab for sure. I cut in the cab and paprika and put it back under the whisk to get the liquid out. I added some sea salt to this one because as I’ve mentioned, I do not believe in unsalted butter. It’s a beautiful pale coral color with a subtle smokiness. I can’t detect the cabernet but smoked paprika is a very strong flavor so I’m glad I only used a half teaspoon. It has a decadent flavor and I’m going to use it when making dinner tomorrow. It would be wonderful on vegetables or pasta. Score 2!
Next up is Chardonnay Herb. Again, this is greasy work. Rinse, repeat. Another batch of butter, cut in the chardonnay and a few twists of the herb grinder and mix well. Whisk out the liquid and press through the strainer. Add sea salt and mix, mix, mix. Taste test: Both the chardonnay and herbs are detectable but not overwhelming and this would be a lovely delicate butter for fish or chicken. Score 3!
There was enough cream left over for me to whip up another batch of plain salted butter for our regular use since the last batch is long, long gone!
There is now far too much butter in my freezer. I’m going to have to give some away. If you’re local and you’d like to try it, drop me a note. If you’re not local, I have no idea how to properly ship butter so you’ll have to make your own until I figure it out. Maybe blogging isn’t my calling. Maybe it’s Spirit Butter, ha! Until tomorrow, dear readers…
Happy reading, joyful cooking and spread the buttery love!