Bye, Bye Boring Butter

By Rebecca Vitkus

Long gone are the boring old days of standard butter and peanut butter spreads! We have emerged into the age of the alternative butters, and with so many options to choose from, there is no end to the culinary possibilities. Whether you’re using a substitute to avoid allergic reactions, gain health benefits or just try a new food, there is definitely a new butter for you.

Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookie Butter may be the very item that launched alternative butters into recent popularity. With the increase in Trader Joe’s stores around the nation, cookie butter is becoming more easily available to adults and kids everywhere. Cookie butter is made of crushed cookies mixed with vegetable oils to form a peanut butter-like consistency and a sweet taste, with almost a gingerbread flavor. There is even a seasonal Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookie Butter! Although it definitely seems like dessert, many people spread cookie butter on bagels or waffles, use it as a dip for pretzels or veggies, or melt and drizzle it as an ice cream topping. Once you taste it, though, you won’t have any problem devouring it alone.

Apple butter is known as a Southern breakfast staple, and once you’ve tried it, there will be no question as to why it is so popular. This special butter is made by slow cooking apples with cider or water until they caramelize, almost like applesauce with extra sugar. Though not as healthful as organic applesauce, apple butter is a great source of iron, and it has a much longer shelf life as a preserve. It is usually used like a jam on toast and biscuits or as an ingredient in baked goods.

Whipped butter is a more traditional way of enjoying your dairy goodness. Although it doesn’t have any fun or exciting flavors added to it, many people do not realize how useful it is. The texture of whipped butter is light and fluffy, making it ideal for spreading on toast or crackers. It is not recommended for cooking or baking, but it does have fewer calories than standard butter, so it makes a great alternative when used as a substitute.

Sesame seed butter, more commonly known as tahini, is made from finely ground, toasted sesame seeds. It is popular in many Middle Eastern cuisines, and its smooth, thin texture makes it the perfect sauce or salad dressing. Studies have shown that tahini reduces total cholesterol levels, and it contains a healthy amount of fats needed. Tahini is usually free of additional ingredients, so there are no trans fats or hidden sugars to be found.

Almond butter is one of the new, trendy health foods on everyone’s grocery list, and it’s for a good reason. It contains about seven times as much calcium as peanut butter does, plus around 50 percent more magnesium. Almond butter can be used as a direct peanut butter substitute on sandwiches, with apple slices or even in cooking and baking. However, like peanut butter, almond butter is often made with additives and sweeteners, so check the label before you make your purchase.

Coconut butter, which is not the same as coconut oil, includes coconut meat as its main ingredient. It can be used to make fudge and peppermint bark, and it provides a richer texture than coconut oil does. The best part of coconut butter is that it’s fairly simple to make at home, so it’s easy to try it out for yourself!

Sunflower seed butter is made exactly how you would think — by grinding sunflower seeds into a paste. One tablespoon of sunflower seed butter has 99 calories and contains lots of vitamin E. Add it to toast for a nutritious breakfast, use it as a sandwich condiment or even add some vanilla to make a sweet dessert spread.

Pumpkin butter is the perfect seasonal snack. It can be made from scratch with fresh pumpkin puree and a few additional ingredients, so make as many jars as you can eat! Try mixing it into oatmeal, blending it into smoothies or even using it as a pie filling.

Pistachio butter is a great way to enjoy your pistachios without having to go through the hassle of cracking them open. This butter may not be beautiful, but it sure is delicious. Try using unsalted pistachios and substitute the butter for peanut butter in sandwiches or dips while enjoying its unique, buttery consistency.

Love the yellow stuff?

Make Your Own Butter!

You’ll need:

– Glass Jar with lid
– Heavy Cream
– Cold water

Step 1:

Pour the cream into your jar. You want enough cream to fill it about 1/3 to 1/2 of the way full. Make sure to secure the lid tightly on your jar and start shaking! After a minute, you’ll notice the sloshing noise stops as the cream begins to thicken.

Step 2:

After about 7-10 minutes, open your jar and check your results. If the contents look like whipped cream, it’s because it is! Shaking the cream causes a chemical reaction that results in whipped cream. Grab a spoon and have a taste! Keep shaking; you’re halfway there!

Step 3:

Within another 5-7 minutes, you will hear liquid sloshing again in you jar. No worries; that’s the buttermilk separating from the solids. Keep shaking and once your butter starts to solidify into a single mass, you can open your jar and pour off the liquid buttermilk. Strain it and save it for cooking! To finish, you will need to rinse your butter under cold water, kneading it as you do so. This will remove the last of the buttermilk and prevent your butter from going rancid quickly.

Step 4:

Slather your homemade butter on some bread and enjoy! Store your butter in a covered container or wrapped in wax paper in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Giggle Tip: Enlist the help of a friend so you can each take turns shaking the jar for two-minute intervals. It’s a workout!

Check out the science behind what happens to cream atwww.seriouseats.com/2014/10/the-science-of-whipped-cream-butter-creme-fraiche.html