As a homemade Christmas gift, I made butter and English Muffins to hand out. While this may sound complicated, both of these items are quite easy.
Before moving along, let me just say: Dear Pinterest, when I search for “homemade butter,” whipping up a stick of Land o’ Lakes in the mixer does NOT count. That is not homemade, even if you add some mix-ins. It may be yummy, it may be easy, but it is not homemade. What is more perplexing is that making legit homemade butter is so easy; I don’t know why one would cut corners. I mean this very literally: a five year old could make butter in minutes. You will need to have a jar with a tight lid that can withstand shaking. I have a kitchen gadget called the Buttercup Butter Maker especially made for butter-making, but it is absolutely unnecessary. A mason jar would be perfect (as long as you don’t have butterfingers and drop it. Get it? See what I did there?!).
My recipe below is for Cranberry Butter, but once you see how the process works, you’ll realize that the flavorings are endless. In fact, I made a cinnamon-honey butter as well, simply adding cinnamon and honey to taste. Other ideas include herbs or garlic. You’ll almost always want to add some salt, but again it’s all up to you. That being said, even the mix-ins for the Cranberry Butter (cranberries, honey, salt, and orange zest) can be adjusted to taste.
1 quart heavy cream, room temperature
2/3 c dried cranberries, chopped
½ c honey
4 t freshly grated orange zest
¼ t kosher salt
- First and foremost, the size of your jar will determine how many batches of butter you will need to make. Your jar should not be filled more than 1/2 to 2/3 with the heavy cream. If you overfill the jar, there will not be adequate space for the cream to agitate and it will not separate. My jar comfortably holds 1 cup of heavy cream with plenty of extra space for shaking.
- Set your heavy cream out at room temperature for 6-8 hours. Cold cream won’t work.
- Pour the room temperature heavy cream into your chosen jar – as mentioned above, just 1/2 to 2/3 full. Shake it. Shake it some more! Initially this will sound just like cream sloshing around. After about 2 minutes, you won’t hear a thing anymore, and you will probably think you’re done. Remove the lid and take a peek if you like – what you have there is whipped cream. Legit whipped cream (albeit unsweetened) that you could totally use for cupcakes. Or to eat off of a spoon. Add sugar and you’d be set. But we’re not making whipped cream, we’re making butter. So, screw the lid back on and keep shaking. After about another minute, you’ll hear sloshing around again. This is supposed to happen – what you have now is the butter separated from the buttermilk.
- Open the jar and pour the buttermilk into a bowl. This is actual buttermilk. Keep it and use!
- Rinse the butter in cold water, removing as much buttermilk residue as possible because that’s what will make the butter eventually go rancid.
- Again, screw the lid on and shake a little more. Remove the butter from the jar and repeat the rinse process. You may want to “knead” the butter in cold water just to make sure all of the buttermilk residue has been washed away.
- Set your butter aside in a mixing bowl, and repeat this process until the entire quart of cream has been churned into butter.
- Add salt, cranberries, orange zest, and honey to the mixing bowl and whip on medium speed until incorporated. *Note: if you are only making one batch (rather than the whole pint), any mix-ins can be added after the first buttermilk rinse and manually shaken into the butter at the end of the process in order to save this step.
- Fresh butter can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for about a week.
Want to make English Muffins, too? Here’s the recipe I used. I cooked them on my Cuisinart Griddle so almost no clean up either: Food Network English Muffins.