After recently discovering that an 11th-century Norwegian king once collected a bucket of butter from each of his subjects as an annual tax, I posed the question: What would you do with all that hard-churned tax payer butter?
For me, the answer is simple. I’d appoint chef Thomas Straker—the mastermind behind the internet-famous “All Things Butter” video series—as Minister of Butter and allow him to make his best compound butters for an entire (hypothetical) kingdom.
If you aren’t familiar with Thomas’ butter series, its allure becomes apparent after watching just one, 15-second episode. The premise is fairly straightforward (each episode, Thomas makes a new compound butter) but, of course, that’s what makes it so great. By simply adding a few extra ingredients to the butter, Thomas transforms otherwise average dairy into a limitless canvas for flavor, creativity, and technique.
It also helps that his videos are fun to watch. Thomas pairs a quick, well-curated, and easy-to-follow buttermaking montage with the uniquely satisfying sounds of a rumbling food processor and his British accent, creating a final cut that is both engaging and informative. While I could spend many more paragraphs highlighting the joys of his show, my kingdom yearns for compound butter. To help Thomas in his demanding role as Minister of Butter, I’ve identified his seven best butter recipes, because, in this fictional kingdom, every day of the week deserves its own type of butter.
1. Salt & Vinegar Butter
Adding chips to a sandwich is good, but salt and vinegar chips blended in butter and smeared on a sandwich is better. Plus, I like to think this recipe works with just about any chip—it’s hard to imagine Bugel Butter being anything but spectacular.
- Ingredients: butter, salt and vinegar potato chips
2. Tequila Butter
This reminds me of all that is good about Ina Garten’s Tequila Lime Chicken. Acidic, spicy, and filled with herbs, this butter adds an exciting finish to any meat or fish.
- Ingredients: jalapeño, lime zest, freshly squeezed lime juice, cilantro, tequila
3. Chocolate, Coffee, Caramel Butter
This butter opened my eyes to an entirely new way of flavoring crepes, French toast, and waffles. It also looks really cool when it melts and that matters to me.
- Ingredients: cocoa powder, coffee, sugar, caramel
4. Bloody Mary Butter
File this under “things that sound terrible but actually are quite delicious” along with Baked Alaska, moose tracks ice cream, and sour cream cake. Of course, once you move past the name and focus on the ingredients, this butter starts to make a ton of sense—spicy, sweet, and decidedly briny, it’s exactly what I want to shmear on a toasted bagel.
- Ingredients: smoked salt, celery salt, Worcestershire, Tabasco, black pepper, tomato, olive oil, tomato paste
5. Wild Garlic Butter
Ramp (aka wild garlic) season is upon us, and this vibrant butter is the ideal way to celebrate. Perfect spread onto sliced baguette or folded into an omelet, this butter is striking in both appearance and flavor.
- Ingredients: garlic, parsley, salt, lemon zest, ramps
6. Biscoff Butter
Re: flavoring breakfast treats with compound butter. This “recipe” is nothing more than a combination of regular butter, salt, and store-bought Biscoff cookie butter blended using a hand mixer. That’s it. That’s the recipe.
- Ingredients: Biscoff cookie butter, salt
7. Roasted Chicken Skin Butter
On the opposite end of the effort spectrum lies a chicken skin butter that you could plan an entire party around. Seriously, if you take the time to remove the skin from a whole chicken just to combine it with butter, you should appropriately celebrate your effort with friends, crusty bread, and your favorite white wine.
- Ingredients: chicken skin, chicken fat, salt, olive oil
Have a favorite compound butter recipe? Let us know in the comments below!