Sophisticated cooks know how to make magic with compound butters.
Many casual cooks discovered the joy of strawberry butter at restaurant brunches, and learned how easy it is to make at home (here’s more about compound butter, also called flavored butter and finishing butter).
Epicurean Butter is a terrific line that makes anyone an instantly-better cook. But before we get to it, a seasonal message:
Now that it’s holiday season, go for holiday flavors: brandy, cranberry, hazelnut, pecan, pumpkin spice, sage, and so on. We have a variety of recipe variations below, but we’ll start with one that few people can resist: Cranberry Orange Butter.
COMPOUND BUTTER: SWEET OR SAVORY
Sweet compound butters are delicious on breakfast foods: bagels, muffins, toast, pancakes, waffles etc. They also are delicious on crackers or biscuits for snacks or with a tea break.
Savory compound butters are used to give flavor to proteins and vegetables, and to make quick pan sauces.
All compound butters can be made in advance and kept in the fridge, rolled into a log and covered with plastic wrap. This is what professional chefs do. When they’re needed, you simply cut off what you need.
The following recipe, by Baked Bree, was sent to us by Go Bold With Butter.
Also check out Bree’s Cranberry Walnut Pie, another seasonal treat.
RECIPE: CRANBERRY COMPOUND BUTTER
You can make this ahead and store in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
Make extra to bring to family and friends.
You can also make our version, Cranberry Maple Butter, with maple syrup. The recipe is with the variations below.
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup cranberries, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Zest of one orange
 Cranberry butter, a sweet spread for the holidays.  Use the leftover cranberries to create eye-catching flower vases and tea candle holders (both photos courtesy Baked Bree).
1. WHIP the butter and honey with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the remaining ingredients and fold in until combined.
2. TRANSFER to a small serving bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Brandy Butter: 1/2 cup butter, 1/4 cup superfine sugar, 3 tablespoons brandy, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Cream the butter until light and fluffy, then beat in the sugar a bit at a time. When the mixture is very white and frothy, beat in the brandy and vanilla. Makes 3/4 cup. Substitute rum or Grand Marnier.
Cinnamon Butter: 1/2 cup butter, 1 cup honey (substitute superfine sugar if you don’t like honey), 1 tablespoon cinnamon (add more to taste). Makes 1.5 cups.
Cranberry Butter #2: 1 cup butter 1/3 cup cranberries (fresh or frozen) 1/4 cup maple syrup 1 tablespoon orange zest (optional) Makes 1.5 cups. Great for pancakes and waffles.
Ginger Orange Butter: 1/2 cup butter 1/2 cup orange marmalade, melted over low heat 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 1 tablespoon crystallized ginger, finely chopped.
Maple Butter: 1 cup butter, 1/2 cup maple syrup. Makes 1.5 cups.
Pecan Butter: 1 cup butter, 1/4 cup packed brown sugar or 1 teaspoon honey, 1/2 cup finely chopped toasted pecans. Makes 1.5 cups. Substitute almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, walnuts. To toast nuts: Spread nuts in a pan or on a baking sheet and place in a 400°F oven for 10 minutes. Cool, remove any skin from the nuts and chop them. For a savory version for potatoes, vegetables and proteins, use 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest instead of the sugar. Makes 1 cup.
MORE FLAVORED BUTTER RECIPES
 Epicurean Butter: We have several different flavors in our fridge right now.  Organic Cocoa Coconut Butter won the top prize in its category at this year’s Fancy Food Show (photos courtesy Deli Market News).  Beyond sophisticated uses, simply spread savory compound butter on bread and vegetables (photo courtesy Kraft).
TOP PICK: EPICUREAN BUTTER
We have long been enamored of Epicurean Butter, a line of compound butters created by a professional chef for the home cook.
The flavors cater to both classic and contemporary cuisine, with butters in savory and sweet flavors.
The home cook is now empowered to finish and present meals like a fine chef, just by taking the lid off the tub of butter. People who think they have modest cooking talents should not be surprised to hear applause at the table—just by adding a pat to a grilled protein or making a quick pan sauce simpy by deglazing the pan.
Not to mention, serving the butters as gourmet bread spreads.
The company makes an assortment of flavors:
Sweet Compound Butters: Caramel Sea Salt, Cinnamon & Brown Sugar, Coconut Lemon, Maple Syrup, Organic Cocoa Coconut, Pumpkin Spice
Savory Compound Butters: Chili Lime, Lemon Garlic Herb, 100% Organic Roasted Garlic, Roasted Garlic Herb, Sea Salt & Black Pepper, Tuscan Herb, Black Truffle, White Truffle
A few of these makes a great gift for a cook.
Yummy With The Bread Basket Or A Glass Of Wine
In addition to topping savory foods, savory compound butters can be used as a bread spread at the dinner table or with drinks.
We especially enjoy serving them as an easy hors d’oeuvre with aperitifs, spread on thin slices of baguette or fancy crackers and topped with a garnish (capers, chopped fresh herbs, olive or peppadew half, etc.).
You can pre-spread the bread or crackers and serve them on a tray; or place the butter(s) in a ramekin in the middle of the bread/crackers and let people spread their own.
that finishing and compound butters are what often take a normal at-home meal up to restaurant quality. Available in 3.5 oz. tubs and some in the newly introduced 1 oz. single-serve packets, these butters are all rBST-free
Head to EpicureanButter.com for more information.