In my world, that part of December is reserved for the birthday celebration of our twins, so even if I wanted to do so, my "spare time" is booked solid.
That is why I've developed recipes that can be made in minutes and frozen till gifting occurs.
Even better, having them done means my meal preparation is a bit simpler for the remainder of the time till the big holiday rolls around.
Making ahead for holiday presents means I need to get started now!
These compound butters are the first gift I make, simply because they store in the freezer till I gift them with a batch of Baked gluten-free scones or the scone mix in a pretty jar.
What in the world is a compound butter? and you do WHAT with it?Compound butters are mixtures of herbs, fruits and/or citrus peels blended into great quality butters.
For Savory mixtures- grated cheese, minced roasted nuts or booze might be added.
For Sweet mixtures- honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar or plain old cane sugar will be added, along with a bit of booze or nuts occasionally.
They are the perfect finishing touch to fish or chicken, fabulous melted on a steak.
Obviously, those are the savory versions although cranberry orange butter with a touch of honey works incredibly well on white fish.
People will think you slaved to create this amazing combination after work, not knowing the secret lies in your freezer awaiting its debut.
The sweet butters are perfect to complement pancakes, waffles or baked goods, even one as simple as toast.
I've even made "fancy" frostings in a pinch by stirring in a bit of confectioners sugar to a well seasoned sweet compound butter.
So this series is one that makes my life happy and simple too.
But you have to gather a few items before you get started.
You'll need a wrapping paper for the roll of butter if you want to gift it. Parchment paper works perfectly fine but just doesn't have the WOW factor of a beautiful gift.
We used to have a Diaso in Bellingham but it closed a couple of years back. It is one of my must stop places when I get into the International District in Seattle.
If you don't have a Diaso within reach, you can form your butters into fun shapes and wrap in cellophane.
There are many, many silicone shapes available.
Budget is always a concern when you are making a present. After all, when you add up the number of teachers, coaches, mail carriers, animal sitters, house and office cleaners and assorted other folks who deserve a treat at the holidays, the list can be long.
So purchasing your wraps at the dollar store is just prudent, especially when it is so pretty.
I've got a few inspirations on my Gifting board on Pinterest, follow along as I find more inspirations for the season.
Follow Dr. Jean Layton's board Gifting - Wraps and Recipes on Pinterest.
Mango Honey Compound ButterBy Dr. Jean Layton,
Cook time: 10 minutes
Yield: 1/2 cup
1/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
3 tablespoons dried mango slices I used Earthbound Farm Organics since they are just mangos without sweetener added.
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1. Mince mango into fine pieces.
2. Warm honey, add the fine pieces of mango and simmer till tender. Allow to cool.
3. Blend together all ingredients
4. Wrap in waxed paper and freeze
When I'm making butters as gifts, I start from 2 full pounds beaten in my big mixer and play with flavors and textures in smaller amounts till I'm satisfied with the results.