For our final blog post of this holiday season, we leave you with a gift idea that is perfect year-round. Flavored butters, both sweet and savory, make excellent hostess gifts for just about any occasion – from a New Year’s Eve gathering, to a dinner party with friends or a fancy Mother’s Day brunch.
This Honey Sesame Butter is easy-to-make, with toasted sesame oil and sesame seeds adding tremendous flavor. Other sweet flavored butters, such as Bourbon Cherry Butter and Bittersweet Chocolate Orange Butter, are delicious packaged with fresh croissants. If savory is more your style, try Marjoram Shallot or Herbed Butter, gifted with a fresh baguette.
Honey Sesame Butter
Makes 1 cup flavored butter
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil*
3 tablespoons lightly toasted sesame seeds** (or a mix of black and white sesame seeds)
Salt to taste
Place the butter in a medium mixing bowl and, with an electric mixer (fitted with the paddle) or wooden spoon, beat until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides.
Add the honey, sesame oil and sesame seeds and beat to incorporate, scraping down the sides. Taste for salt.
Scrape into a small bowl, serving crock or butter molds and cover tightly; or shape into a long roll in grease-proof paper (plastic, wax or parchment) for storing and slicing as needed
This versatile butter turns simple vegetables into stunning side dishes – add a pat or two to green beans, snap peas, asparagus, carrots, and parsnips. The sweetness from the honey also makes it perfect for spreading on dinner rolls, breakfast breads or bagels, and for topping pancakes, French toast and waffles.
*Use toasted sesame oil and sesame seeds to bump up the sesame flavor.
**To toast sesame seeds, place seeds in a single layer in an ungreased shallow pan. Bake at 350°F for 5 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to cool.
Flavored butters can easily be packaged into a mold or crock, but for a more festive look, try using a season-appropriate cookie cutter. Simply place cookie cutters on a baking sheet covered in wax paper; scrape butter into the cutters, packing down to fill to the top. Cover the sheet with plastic wrap and refrigerate until butter is set. Then remove cookie cutters from the pan and package into individual clear gift bags, tied with ribbon. Add a gift tag with serving suggestions.