I’m a big proponent of small upgrades. A spoonful of chili crisp on rice, a swipe of nice mustard on a sandwich, a sprinkling of flaky salt on chocolate chip cookies. It doesn’t take much to elevate simple recipes and make them feel a little more special.
One of my favorite upgrades is mixing tasty stuff into butter (what some call compound butter). Butter is already wonderful, of course, but add some herbs, spices, or a drizzle of honey, and it’s next level. It feels fancy, but you’ve hardly done a thing.
For a quick brunch upgrade, I love making strawberry butter. I got the idea from Selma Morrow, a former coworker who is an amazing cook, and I’ve never looked back. You need exactly three ingredients: butter, fresh berries, and powdered sugar. (I usually also add a pinch of salt because I only have unsalted butter in my fridge.)
Throw everything into the food processor and let it run for about five minutes. That sounds like a typo, but trust me. At first the berries will break down and release their juices, which makes the mixture look a little curdled. Fear not! After a few more minutes, the berries blend into the butter and the mixture turns a lovely shade of pink and emerges from the food processor light and fluffy.
If you don’t have fresh berries, strawberry jam is a good substitute (just skip the powdered sugar). The butter will have a more muted flavor and color, but it’s still delicious, with a deep, honeyed berry flavor.
I’ve also had good luck making blueberry butter, and suspect that blackberries and raspberries would be successful, too. I might get wild this summer and give some extra ripe peaches the butter treatment.
The berry butter is wonderful on any and every breakfast carb—biscuits, pancakes, waffles, French toast, muffins, bagels, and toast of all kinds. The recipe scales up easily, and if you end up with extras, just dollop the butter into a log shape on a piece of parchment, roll up the paper, twist the ends tightly, and stash it in the fridge or the freezer. Pull it out on Tuesday morning when you’re staring down at sad toast. I guarantee it’ll make your day better.
Berry Easy Strawberry Butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup (2 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large strawberries, quartered
Pinch kosher salt (optional)
Place all of the ingredients into a food processor set with a blade attachment. Blend until smooth, about 5 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed. The mixture will look curdled midway through the process, but will smooth out.
SWAP IT OUT: No berries? No problem. Swap in 2 tablespoons strawberry jam or preserves for the fresh fruit and skip the powdered sugar. Blend until smooth, about 30 seconds.