Simon Day trials the new Sunbeam Mixmaster Hand Mixer with its unique HeatSoft Technology to make some bespoke butters, and share his recipes.
Butter makes everything better.
A cob of sweetcorn glistening in fat, whipped butter melting on McDonald’s hotcakes, white popcorn turned golden, a dripping crumpet, a potato transformed into something heavenly, a croissant creating a shiny patch in its brown paper bag.
Butter is a powerful and versatile flavour vehicle. The fat releases the potential of other flavours and delivers them through a dish. Butter’s fatty goodness is textural too. It coats the tongue and mouth in velvety richness. Our taste buds are designed to search out high energy-density foods, and that’s why they light up with joy when they find butter.
I first tasted the glory of butter at primary school. My mum would make chocolate chip cookie mix, roll it into balls and freeze them. Each morning I’d pull a ball of dough from the freezer and put it in my lunch box. By lunchtime I’d have a beautifully thawed ball of sugar, butter and chocolate ready to eat.
I remember the first time I truly realised the power of butter. I was working in a high-end modern Australian-Japanese fusion restaurant in Melbourne and after frying the thick cuts of wagyu steak in a heavy skillet, the chefs would drop a big nub of butter on top and briefly blast the steak in the oven. The chunk of meat would emerge bubbling in the melted fat, the steak’s rich savoury flavour now delivered through a golden amplifier.
It was a revelation when I moved to Paris and learned the French don’t eat cheese on crackers, but on baguette with a thick smear of butter.
Perhaps the most revealing example of butter’s power is when someone exclaims in delight at the smell filling up a kitchen. “What are you making?” they ask, like you’re some kind of Michelin-starred chef. “So far, just butter and onions,” you reply.
Butter’s versatility means it can be easily enhanced, and its natural abilities mean simple recipes are suddenly greater than the sum of their parts. And with the Sunbeam Mixmaster Hand Mixer’s unique HeatSoft technology – which gently brings ingredients to room temperature while mixing for smoother and faster baking and cooking – it just got even easier. By gently heating the ingredients during mixing it allows you to soften ingredients as you go. I judge people who don’t keep their butter at room temprature. However, if you do forget to get it out the fridge, the new Sunbeam hand mixer makes it fast and easy to melt.
To celebrate the joy of butter, here are some of my favourite infused butter remixes.
ROASTED GARLIC & HERB BUTTER
Garlic butter is one of the great culinary items in that even in its most basic, trashy format, it’s still delicious. I’d be happy serving supermarket garlic bread baked in the oven to the Queen because I know it’s that good. This recipe lives at the other end of the spectrum, and is perfect for making a good meal great.
Using roasted garlic elevates and smooths its flavour and makes its incorporation into the butter easy. Another benefit of roasting the garlic is it stops the flavour overwhelming your breath and the scent doesn’t taint your fingers.
Use this butter to finish meat and seafood. It’s perfect for lamb racks, or dressing a whole snapper. Drop a big slice on the top of a roast chicken as it rests.
- 200g butter
- garlic bulbs
- fresh parsley
- fresh rosemary
- fresh thyme
Start by putting whole bulbs of garlic on a baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast at 150°C for 45 minutes, or until the outside starts to colour. Let them cool and squeeze the tender cloves out of the bulb like giant pimples. It’s incredibly satisfying.
Use as many bulbs as your palate directs. In my opinion, the more garlic the better and I like to use at least four big cloves for every 100g of butter. (You can preserve the leftover garlic in a jar covered in olive in the fridge.)
In a large mixing bowl, mash the garlic into a paste with a fork. Roughly chop the parsley and rosemary and pick the thyme and add to the mixing bowl. Using the Sunbeam Mixmaster, blend the butter into the herb and garlic mix, gently melting it to a malleable consistency, and season with salt and pepper.
Use immediately, or store in the fridge for up to three days, bringing to room temperature before serving.
I first tried treacle butter at the Tasting Shed in Kumeu, West Auckland, the week before Easter. Smeared on crusty sourdough, the savoury-sweet dichotomy was delicious. The chef was kind enough to gift me a container full of the sweet bronze butter. The next week it was the perfect pairing for hot cross buns. It’s also really easy to make.
- 200g butter
- 200g treacle
Use the Sunbeam Mixmaster to blend the treacle and butter, gently warming the butter as it’s mixed, then refrigerate. Bring to room temperature and serve on fruit loaf, hot cross buns or crumpets.
In 2009 a study confirmed the existence of taste buds that pick up the umami flavour, the magical “fifth taste” after salt, sweet, sour and bitter. It’s that inexplicable savouriness in cheese, mushrooms and soy sauce that makes those foods feel almost addictive. My favourite ingredient heavy in umami is miso paste. Made from fermented soybeans, it has a delicious salty and subtle yeasty flavour. I like adding it to everything: soup, roast vegetables, even peanut butter.
Mix miso into butter to create an umami condiment that takes your savoury dishes on a distinctly eastern journey.
- 200g unsalted butter (the miso brings the salt)
- 4 tablespoons of miso paste
Use the Mixmaster to blend the butter and miso, gently warming the paste and butter with the hand mixer as it’s stirred. Use immediately, or refrigerate.
Bring to room temperature before serving, and use it to dress teriyaki marinated steak, stir through fried rice, or use to cook an omelette. Put it straight on your toast and you’ve got Japanese Marmite.
The French use butter better than perhaps any other culture, especially in their baking. While living in Paris I’d judge my croissant based on how transparent the brown paper bag was by the time I got home. The pâtisseries turned butter into art, the mille-feuilles and éclairs as beautiful as they were delicious.
In France, I fell in love with the delicious simplicity of crêpes. Forget Nutella and cream, they’re best as simple as possible, garnished with lemon and sugar. Then I saw Auckland’s own French baker, Jordan “The Caker” Rondel, post a picture to Instagram during a trip to France of a crêpe garnished with raspberry butter. I had to try it, so I made it myself. C’est magnifique.
- 100g frozen raspberries
- 2 teaspoons icing sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 200g butter
Let the raspberries partially defrost in a bowl (if you’re impatient, then just rely on Sunbeam’s HeatSoft technology to melt them as you go).
Use the hand mixer to blend the raspberries, sugar, cinnamon and butter, gently warming the mixture with the hand mixer as it’s stirred. Use immediately or refrigerate.
Bring to room temperature before serving. Smear a liberal amount over a hot freshly made crêpe.
It’s really good on pikelets too.
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