In the coziness of winter, we opened up our latest recipe contest, Your Best Recipe Starring Butter, for submissions.
The recipes poured in like liquid
gold ghee over the past few months; below are the five butteriest.
But before we get into that, a reminder of what we were looking for: Your Best Recipe Starring Butter is all about recipes that simply would not be without butter. That would not puff, crisp up, crumble, and crackle without butter (a minimum of 1 stick, to be specific). We were looking for the recipes you make when looking to enrobe family, friends, dinner guests, everyone (!) with a butter-ful hug.
The pastry comes together in one bowl (!), while the apples bubble away in a cast-iron skillet of butter, sugar, and miso (think salted caramel, but better). The hardest part is flipping the tart—but if a few apples slide out of place, it's nothing a scoop of ice cream can't hide. As for how it tasted, managing editor Brinda Ayer, upon pulling this baby from the oven, sped off:
"Tastes super buttery! Really foolproof and delicious!"
While the original recipe made for an enticing gochujang-spiked butter, our tasters wanted...more. We quadrupled the sweet and funky chile paste, and nixed all else (but the butter, of course). The grassiness of butter compliments the funkiness of gochujang so perfectly, we were left wondering where this stellar combo had been all our lives, and are already dreaming of other uses for this butter: Hot wings? Popcorn? Glazed shrimp?
Table for One columnist Eric Kim noted, mouthful of buttery toast: "This recipe could win."
This recipe exemplifies fat's unique ability to carry flavor. Heady aromatics like coriander, cumin, and annatto seed simultaneously bloom in—and infuse—browning butter; when chilled, the roux solidifies, making for incredibly cute, handy butter blocks of flavor.
Strategy & Finance Manager Annalee Leggett wrote, "As a closet bouillon cube fan (eek!) I was very excited for this recipe."
As mentioned, fat is great for blooming and carrying flavor—lemony sumac perfumes every inch of this dough, but, the reverse is also happening here: Somehow, these taste all-the-butterier because of lemony sumac.
Our tester, director of client services Shannon Muldoon, dipped the first few cooled cookies in white chocolate before realizing, well, they didn't need it. They were absolutely perfect—rich, lemony, simple and elegant—as is. "My boyfriend ate four biscuits right away," she wrote. "The butter in the shortbread absolutely sung."
Our co-founder Amanda Hesser found herself on an ultimately delightful baking roller coaster:
"Soooo....I had concerns about it because you make a crumble-like mixture but add a single beaten egg to it, which isn't enough to bind the mixture into a dough. But, it works! It feels like a very old-fashioned treat (none of the crunch and grains and salt you'd find in a modern bar), and one worth preserving. And if you want to play around with it, you could definitely add chopped nuts, some oats, and salt. I'm sure Sossie Beile wouldn't mind."
Please join me in congratulating the finalists in the comment section below!
Stay tuned as we’ll be announcing the top two finalists on 12 p.m. ET on Apr. 1, which is when we’ll need your help: testing, and tasting, and casting your vote. Remember, this time, the winner will not only win virtual bragging rights but a real. life. prize.