Better Butter

We’re in for another “mini” post today! I won’t be going over a dinner meal, but what you’ll get out of this can certainly be used (or should I say “spread”?) from dish to dish.

I’m gonna talk about homemade butter. Wait! Before you sigh in disappointment, let me stress that this method can actually make so much more than butter. Yes indeed, having tried it a few times myself, I have ended up with at least 3 different products from this trick:

– Butter (obviously)
– Whipped cream
– Devonshire cream/clotted cream (my personal favorite.)

The idea behind this came from a wonderful blog called “2 Little Hooligans.”
Credit: http://www.2littlehooligans.com/2011/05/11/how-to-make-butter-in-canning-jar/

If you take a look at the method in the link above, you’ll find it’s as simple (and yet not so simple) as shaking a jar filled with heavy whipping cream until – yes – you basically get a nice ball of butter. 😮

First time I found this, I read over it a few times, unable to believe that I could actually make my own butter just by shaking up some heavy whipping cream.
But, I knew for sure that whatever happened, the cream would certainly thicken. And I’m an incredibly curious person, so I decided to give this a try, even though I was dubious. I added about a teaspoon and a half of sugar, figuring that I probably wouldn’t end up with butter, but at the very least I would have some whipped cream and then nothing will have gone to waste.

Well, I followed the directions on the blog as best I could, and if you already read through it, you know what comes next…
I shook the jar for 20 minutes (or at least as close to 20 minutes as I could. That step in the process is no joke!) And I can easily say that that is the hardest part of this method. My arms were sore the next day – no joke!

Even so, I figured since I had come all that way, I might as well keep going (translated: keep shaking. -__- )
My efforts were rewarded when the cream began to look exactly how it did in the blog. That encouraged me, so I followed the steps down to the very end.

I won’t give away the method here, as you know, but the long and short of it is this: it really does turn into butter!
Maybe there are some of you out there who have done this before, or even who have been doing it for some time and are shaking your heads at me – but come on, I’m still a newbie and I thought this was pretty amazing! XD

Gorgeous ball of ivory deliciousness!

Gorgeous ball of ivory deliciousness!

The best part is, because of the sugar I added, it seriously ended up tasting like Devonshire cream.
I love Devonshire cream, but get it very seldom because it’s expensive. So when this turned out to at least taste exactly like it (if not being actual clotted cream) I was ready to do the happy dance. It cost me, what, almost $4 for the heavy cream. All the Devonshire cream I’ve come across is never less than $7 for a pretty small amount, compared to what I made in the jar. In this case, I’m fine with not being a purist and going for what tastes exactly the same, if it’ll cost less. XD

Confession time: I did end up buying a device at the local Kitchen Store that makes butter-making ten times easier (…Ok, I admit I forget the technical name for this device…) But, point is, if you don’t want to spend money on a butter-maker, mason jar shaking is the way to go! Definitely experiment with this one, it’s a blast. Add sugar and make whipped cream, or – as the blog mentions – add chives and use it to spread over steak. Flavor it with cinnamon, make unsalted butter; the possibilities are endless, and that’s what’s so fun. 🙂

On a side note, the liquid you’ll strain out of the jar is actual buttermilk, which you can use to make pancakes if you feel so inclined. It also tastes waaay better than buttermilk you get from the store. I don’t know about you (and no offense to anyone who actually likes the store kind), but I absolutely despise store-bought buttermilk. It’s way too sour. But the kind you’ll get from making butter at home tastes, to me, like what buttermilk should actually taste like. (I’ve always been kinda curious about buttermilk, so the first time I tried it, I was really disappointed. But this version is so much fresher and sweet-tasting.)

Anyway, if you aren’t afraid of shaking a jar for as close to 20 minutes as you possibly, physically can, I think you’ll have a great time seeing your little butter ball come to life. ^_^

 

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‘Berry Beautiful!’

Hi all. I think I’ve allowed enough time for people to get over their “Thanksgiving hangover” – so, hopefully you all will be able to stand the mention of food yet again. 😉

I’d like to share a super fun, super delicious recipe that turned out better than I thought (aesthetically speaking.)

Today I’ll be sharing the wonderful experience I had making a Triple Berry Pie – artists’ style!
Credit: http://www.instructables.com/id/Triple-Berry-Pie-Its-diVine/

Now I’ll be honest and admit that – unlike the recipe above – I did not make my dough from scratch. >_> I don’t need to tell you that Thanksgiving can get a little hectic when you’re one of the only people doing the cooking (even if you are only going to serve 3…) But I don’t mind owning that, yes, I was a little lazy as well. Can’t blame everything on the holidays, I guess.

I was both excited and a little nervous about taking this one on. And if you took a look at the finished product in the link above, you know why.
But, qualms aside, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be! Berry pie is one of my favorite holiday desserts (apple and pumpkin are fine, but you really have to spruce them up in order for me to really like them.) When I found the picture for this recipe on Pinterest, I knew I had to make it, no matter what it asked me to do. I vowed that whatever it took, I would re-create the pie in the image above. And I did!

(Again I apologize for the low-quality image. It was a busy day and I used my phone to get them.)
As I said, I didn’t make the dough from scratch, but if you’ve got the time and patience, by all means follow the recipe in the link and do it the traditional way. 🙂

I “cheated” and bought the 2-pack Pillsbury pie dough. It turned out fine, and as you can see, the dough was perfectly “workable.” XD
Obviously, the fun part about making this pie was cutting out the shapes – which I had to do from scratch with a small, sharp knife (I didn’t have any cookie-cutters for the job.) So if you’re worried about having to go out and hunt for flower and leaf-shaped cookie-cutters, fear not: there’s nothing a little old-fashioned carving can’t do.

In a nutshell, all I did was lay down the first crust on the bottom of the pan (to state the obvious), and used the second crust for the shapes. The biggest thing this recipe is guilty of, is being tedious. Now if you do so happen to have flower and leaf-shaped cookie-cutters, more power to you. But it took time cutting out not only all the leaves on the vines and the side of the dish, but also the flowers and their centers as well. So take into consideration, even though this recipe is completely doable, give yourself ample time to complete it so that you don’t mess up. ^^

Out of the oven!

Out of the oven!

That’s really all there is to it, folks. 🙂 Just do it the way you would a standard pie! Only reserve the top crust for the fun part, which is decorating. 🙂

Little side note: I’m not a big fan of pie crust, and more often than not I just end up eating the filling, whether it be apple or pumpkin pie. (I know, weird, right?) But, because the top crust on this pie was more thin and less chunky, it absorbed some of the filling, making it nice and…well, juicy. Instead of getting a mouthful of thick, dry crust, I ended up with a light, thin layer of berry-doused dough. To each their own, of course, but I really liked it that way!

So, don’t be daunted by the picture like I was. It’s nothing more than a matter of cutting and placing just right on the pie so it won’t sink. And after all, practice makes perfect. I definitely plan on doing more pies like this in the future, and you can only get better.

Happy cooking!