Valentine's day is fast approaching and it seems stores are sticking with the age-old assumption that chocolate and/or flowers and/or jewelry = Valentine's Day. I don't have anything against that - in fact I think any excuse to splurge on some gourmet truffles you've been eyeing on Instagram (I can't be the only one who does this) or whip up an extra decedent chocolate dessert is a good one.
But what about the other things that make life so wonderful and delicious? Chocolate is great, but what about butter? Most baked goods rely of the magical powers that only butter possesses. Think about it! Where would croissants or shortbread or Swiss meringue buttercream be without really good butter? Margarine sure isn't stepping up to the plate on those tasks (sorry margarine.. I'm sure someone, somewhere loves you).
This Valentine's day I say surprise your loved ones with treats made with best thing that's happened to baking since flour and sugar: butter!
1. Brown Butter Brioche
Brioche is made by enriching dough with eggs and lots of butter. By 'lots' I means LOTS! The butter is equal to half of the weight of the flour (and you can find recipes where the flour and butter are equal weights...whooaaa butter). This particular recipe calls for the butter to be heated until it's golden and nutty and delicious before using it in the dough. Its bread for people who are serious about their butter.
Get the recipe: Brown Butter Brioche
2. Hand Pies
Nothing says "Be My Valentine" like flaky, buttery pastry with a fresh strawberry filling. It doesn't hurt that these little guys are cuter than the average pie.
Get the recipe: Strawberry Hand Pies
3. Home-Made Butter
Ok, so this isn't a treat made with butter, but any butter-lover would adore receiving homemade butter for Valentine's day (plus it's ridiculously easy to make). The result is creamy and super fresh tasting - different from the butters at the grocery stores. That's because most butter is cultured, while yours will be made from fresh cream.. a deliciously different flavor profile. I don't recommend baking with your homemade butter (well, you can but the results might not be that consistent) but I do suggest smearing it on toast, muffins, crackers, and anything else you can get your hands on.
Get the recipe: Homemade Butter
4. Salted Butter Breakups
This beautiful thing is big shortbread slab made with Stirling Churn84 served whole so you and your valentine can break it apart. Who can pass up a crunchy-on-the-outside-tender-on-the-inside sweet and buttery treat laced with hints of salt? Nobody, that's who.
Get the recipe: Salted Butter Breakup
5. Chocolate Babka
If Valentine's Day just isn't Valentine's Day without a little bit of chocolate, then this chocolate babka is for you. Dough enriched with butter is rolled up with semi-sweet chocolate, butter (of course), and cinnamon before being baked into the best smelling thing to have ever come out of your oven.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Babka