In Honor of Butter.

July 22, 2009

After a hiatus from writing (not from cooking, I assure you) I have no other option but to blog due to my fierce love of butter. When love is true, it cannot be quiet, or hold back its sweet romances in the night. The love of this light yellow milk solid is the beginning and end of any good meal. Julia Child loved butter, and so do I. (She lived to be nearly 92, folks. Fear not the butter!)

And I look to the Food Lover’s Companion for a expose on butter, a place to begin understanding this luscious magical substance:

“Made by churning cream until it reached a semisolid state, butter must by U.S. law be at least 80 percent milk fat. The remaining 20 percent consists of water and milk solids. The USDA grades butter quality based on flavor, body, texture, color, and salt…”

The more milk fat, the better! I turn to Land O’ Lakes Unsalted. Everyone says, and I agree, BUY GOOD BUTTER!

Tonight, butter begins with a shortbread cookie.

This cookie was invented for the love of butter. It is a little cookie with little more than 5 ingredients, 1 of which is an ENTIRE stick of unsalted, pure butter. Mind you, the recipe yields only 8 cookies. An entire tablespoon per cookie! This cookie is not for the weak of heart, not for the dieter, not for the dreaded margarine user. This cookie is for a glass of cold milk, an evening snack, and a true-blue-butter-lover. Enjoy the rich sweet, melt in your mouth goodness right out of oven. Let the light crumb linger on your tongue and thank the good Lord for butter.

shortbread cookies


(adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook)

1 stick fine, unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup superfine sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (I beg you to use the real thing, no imitations here!)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup all purpose-flour

Put a rack in the middle of oven and preheat to 375 degrees.

Blend together butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a bowl with a fork until well combined. Soft flour over butter mixture and blend together until a soft dough forms. (I used my hands here.)

Transfer dough to an ungreased baking sheet. Pat into a 9-by-4 1/2 inch rectangle. Crimp edges decoratively with tines of a fork and prick dough all over. Score dough crosswise with the back of a knife into 8 pieces.

Bake shortbread until edges are golden, about 15 minutes. Cool on baking sheet on a rack for 10 minutes, then cut into slices (while still warm) with a sharp knife. transfer to rack to cool completely.

Enjoy while warm, with a glass of milk and your kitty sitting near by.

Note: The shortbread keeps in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.


3 Responses to “In Honor of Butter.”

  1. Clarissa said

    Shortbread is one of my favorite things, Abi. We share a love of butter, I think. (although it shows on me!!) 🙂

    I make my shortbread in much the same way, only without the salt. I’ll have to try it and see what it adds, it is just a small amount, but you never know!

    Someday it would be great to share a piece of shortbread and a cup of tea sweetened with a drop or two of raw honey with you!


  2. Clarissa said

    P.S. You inspired me and I baked a batch tonight. With 6 of us sharing, it is all gone now, but it was delicious with my tea! 🙂

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