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  Homemade Fancy Butter
by Julie Anne Eason

Keep kids busy and give them a sense of pride as they help prepare the holiday feast. Homemade butter is a true holiday treat, and you don't even need a butter churn. All it takes is some cream, a jar and lots and lots of kid energy.

Homemade flavored butters also make great gifts during the hectic holiday season. A jar of garlic herb butter and a loaf of French bread make quick work of last-minute appetizers (garlic toast-yum!)

Step One: Make the butter
You can do this step a week or more before Thanksgiving. It's great anytime your child gets antsy and needs to be "doing" something. Get a baby food jar or any clear container and fill it half way with heavy cream. Make sure the lid is on tight, then give it to your child and tell them to shake it. After about 20 minutes of shaking, lumps of butter will magically appear. Depending on your child's age, they may get tired before the butter appears. Encourage them to keep going, but if you're in a hurry you can finish it in your mixer. You will have a little liquid leftover, that's buttermilk and can be saved for making pancakes in the morning.

Step Two: Flavor the butter
Flavored butters are a special treat. They can be sweet or savory, depending on your taste. Honey butter is a family favorite in our house, but garlic-herb butter (in the photos) is a close second. You can use your homemade butter for this, or just a few sticks you pick up at the grocery store. These flavored butters taste best after they've been mixed for at least a day. So, don't be shy about making these ahead of time. If you're making the butter from scratch, add the flavoring after the butter is finished and you've strained off the buttermilk.

Honey butter recipe
Use a one to one ratio of honey to butter. So, if you're flavoring a half-cup of butter, use a half-cup of honey. Just mix the honey into pre-softened butter until it's completely mixed through. If you're making molded butter pats, do that step now. Then chill to re-harden the butter. Some variations include pumpkin spice honey butter (just add a pinch of pumpkin pie spice) and almond honey butter (add a dash of almond extract to the mixture.)

Herb butter recipe
You can use just about any herb mixture you like to make herb butter. My family loves garlic, oregano, basil and a little salt. But feel free to experiment with your favorites. Dried herbs work just fine. Crush them up and add to softened butter. Mix until the herbs are worked all the way through the butter. If you're molding the butter, do that step now. Then chill to re-harden the butter.

Step Three: Mold the butter
Fancy pats of butter have adorned holiday tables for generations. And they're so easy to make. All you need is a candy mold or shallow ice-cube shapes. Soften the butter ahead of time, use a dull knife or the back of a spoon to fill the molds, and put the whole tray in the freezer for ten minutes or so until the butter is hard again. Pop the butter out of the tray onto a piece of waxed paper and fill the tray again. Store the pats in the refrigerator until it's time to eat. Or, if your fridge is full, fill a bowl with ice and lay the pats on top of the ice to stay chilled.

Don't be surprised if your family asks for fancy butter more often than just holidays. It's an easy craft, so have your kids make up a big batch and freeze some for later. Better yet, pre-butter some bread and freeze it. Then you can teach them to cook delicious garlic toast later.

More You Might Like:
Turkey Cupcakes for Thanksgiving
Cute Carrot Cupcakes for Easter
Valentine Cupcakes
St. Patrick's Day Cupcakes

About the Author:
Julie Anne Eason is a freelance craft and sewing writer and mom of three wonderful kids. Making butter is a huge holiday hit with her family. You can read more by Julie Anne at her website where she writes about Dritz dress forms, Brother CS6000i sewing machines, reviews sewing tables and cabinets and more. Magazine on Facebook

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