Recipe: Mom's Spreadable Butter (& Mom's Spreadable Garlic Butter)

Growing up there's one cookbook that everyone in the maternal side of my family had and most of them used, Laurel's Kitchen. My mother's copy is dog-eared and full of notecards and post-it's and a few years after I moved out on my own she found a battered but still usable copy on ebay that she sent to me. I've since found a paperback copy in a thrift shop that I picked up for 50¢ so I could have less clutter on my counter. It's one that I consider essential to the modern kitchen because it really is a great cookbook for anyone who enjoys good food, vegetarian, pescetarian, or otherwise. You can now get your own copy of The New Laurel's Kitchen on Kindle or as a paperback.

Since becoming a vegetarian in the 70's—before I was born—my grandmother has always been an advocate for a healthy body and more eco-savvy living. She's had a pretty big impact on in my life in respect to mind + body + world attitudes. But here we are four decades later and the vegetarian umbrella has evolved considerably. While she still calls herself a vegetarian, the fact remains that Nana is what is now known as a pescetarian. So while visits to Nana's never included bacon or chicken soup we had salmon burgers and buckwheat pancakes with butter.

When I was a teenager, my mom and I made double batches of Better Butter weekly. We were very much omnivores and any attempt at meat-free meals was met by serious drama from my step-dad, but even he enjoyed this one. It also became really popular with members of our church and I remember people asking how it was made many times. Now people ask me...

But as much as I like the original recipe in concept, I don't particularly care for the oil choices in it: safflower, soy, or corn oil. Yuck.

Mom always made hers with vegetable oil—I'm assuming that choice was because we were pretty poor and it's cheap—and I don't really care for it either. So I thought as I was recently whipping up a batch, that I'd share how I've adapted it. Since it's one that's been passed down through 3 generations of moms in my family I've dubbed it, Mom's Spreadable Butter.

Mom's Spreadable Butter

2 cups butter (4 sticks)
2 cups oil*
4 tablespoons non-fat dry milk
4 tablespoons water


1/2 teaspoon soy lecithin**
1 teaspoon salt

Place sticks of butter in blender and let sit until soft. Add oil, dry milk, water, and if using them the lecithin and salt. Blend until smooth. Pour into air-tight containers and keep refrigerated. Makes approximately 4 cups.

* Now... oil choice is where this gets interesting. I like to use just extra virgin olive oil if I only plan to use it for spreading on toast, pancakes, and that sort of thing. But that does get kinda expensive. If I plan to do any cooking such as sauteing or baking with it I like to go half extra virgin olive oil and half canola oil. While it's a bit controversial, as a less expensive option, canola oil has health benefits and a higher smoke point. (This article pretty much sums up why I choose it when I need to stretch my budget but choose what works best for you). I'd love to see what adding coconut oil to this would do but still not sure about how the flavor mix would work or the temp issues would mesh. An experiment might be in order! ☺

**Soy seems to be equally controversial of late and the purpose the soy lecithin serves here is non-essential—it just helps the finished product stay solid longer when you have it out on the table during a meal. It can be a little difficult to track down and the lady at the local place I went to for it argued with me about how it's said (you're wrong lady! It is les-i-thin, not les-i-TIN!). Look for Bob's Red Mill Soy Lecithin Granules, they can be used for lots of things so unless you can find another, smaller package than this they won't get wasted.

A further note... about my blender. You might giggle when you read this but years ago my MIL went to a co-worker's party and had a blended margarita. In my naivety I assumed since she enjoyed it she might enjoy making them at home. So I picked this blender up for her for whatever gift-giving event was going on... and she never used the damned thing.

When mine broke I asked her if she minded if I took it since she'd never used it and I knew she'd probably have offered it if she'd remembered it was collecting dust somewhere in her closet. She happily handed it over and I LOVE it for this purpose! The wave motion does a great job of blending it and the Smoothie setting works fabulously to give it a nice smooth finish without needing to dissolve the dry milk in the water. If you can get one with this kind of motion it's worth it, they're not very pricey and great for all kinds of stuff... I've even used it for baby food.

If you overblend the ingredients a bit don't worry. Just gently tap the container(s) on the counter to get the air bubbles to surface before storing. I recommend glass air-tight containers because the butter can soak up food smells from the fridge or any that have soaked into your re-usable plastics from other stored foods.

Want nutritional info for this one? SparkRecipes has a nutrition info breakdown for a similar version that will give you a rough idea depending on how you choose to make it.

One of the other reasons I loooove making this is that you can do cool stuff with it. When I made the batch for this recipe's photos I thought it would be cool to save some for an experiment!

The result is this delicious Garlic Butter...

Mom's Spreadable Garlic Butter

1 ½ cups Mom's Spreadable Butter (unrefrigerated)
1 tablespoon garlic infused olive oil
1 tablespoon dried minced garlic

Place all ingredients in blender and blend just until dried minced garlic is evenly distributed.

Isn't that easy? I'm hoping to try a honey butter and a basil butter at a later date but you could probably do great things with blueberries or minced fresh herbs like thyme or sage.

Since making this I've used it for french bread at a pasta dinner, on toast for garlic toast, and to saute vegetables. It was really delicious with french beans!

When I actually made the Garlic Butter I used my Tastefully Simple products because I love them but as I know there are similar products in the grocery that you may prefer... I made the actual recipe feature 'generic' terms. I used Garlic Garlic seasoning blend and the Roasted Garlic Infused Oil in mine.  Either way it's a great way to impress guests and save time if you like to make garlic bread with pasta.

I hope you give one of these a try, especially if you love having people ask you how you made something. ;)

For the sake of legalities, I have to note that I am a Tastefully Simple Independent Consultant. The Tastefully Simple products I featured here in my recipe can be purchased through my website if you'd like to try them in your version of it.

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