Serendipity: the discovery of something valuable by happenstance, unexpectedly, without searching for it.
That’s what happened this weekend. I hope all of you who celebrate Thanksgiving had a great holiday, even if it was simply quiet peaceful for you.( I read that even a fellow blogger in Ireland got in on the spirit with a turkey and trimmings!)
My husband and I had a great Thanksgiving with my cousin who came in from out-of-state with her husband and two kids. We gathered at my sister’s with her two daughters, son-in-law, grandson; my brother, our two sons, a son’s girlfriend and our three grandkids. We missed our daughter-in-law, who had last her father a couple of weeks ago, and her sister had a baby a couple of days before, but we readily accepted that her family needed her presence.
The next day , my cousin & family and we with our grandson, went over to my sister’s to see her, her daughter and my brother; I took a buffet over to her place…(I won’t even attempt to go into the dynamics of why they just didn’t come to my place.)
I’ll be putting up more about the foods over the holiday, but two new and concurrent discoveries are dancing in my mind.
Despite the fact that we had homemade pumpkin, pecan and apple pies at my sister’s house, made by my former restaurant/bakery partner,(my niece Jennifer), along with her incredible cherry-nut bread and biscotti-to-die-for, my sister had made two kinds of pound cake and a small batch of cookies. I had Banana Bread, Corn Muffins, Chocolate Chip Muffins, Blueberry Muffins and Pineapple-Coconut mini Cakes. I also had Greek Yogurt Cake, Greek Apple Cake,(no,I’m not Greek; those recipes, more and the story of them will be future posts), but I caught my cousin eating a store-brand chocolate chip cookie from the stash I bought to keep the grandkids happy while I painted the walls before the guest arrived. I knew I had Lemon-Pecan Shortbread cookies in the freezer,(which can stand alone), and I also had some of my Basic Cut-Out Cookies there, uniced, but out they came.
I had mentioned around the thanksgiving table that I had seen a fantastic idea in another blog; Cookie Dip. At Kitchen Addiction they made a Ginger Cookie and a Pumpkin Dip; you could go as basic or as sweet as you’d like. What a wonderful idea! [See it here: http://www.a-kitchen-addiction.com/soft-baked-ginger-cookies-with-pumpkin-pie-dip/%5D
Since I did not have the time to hunt-down the recipe,(it is one a zillion I have bookmarked), and did not know if I had the time or the ingredients, I decided to quickly whip cream with a little caramel sauce.( I almost always have a jar of Mrs. Richardson’s Butterscotch Caramel in my fridge.) It was delicious and everyone loved the dip the cookies.
Caramel Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon thick caramel or butterscotch topping
Place in a bowl and whip.
Could it be easier?
Instead of caramel, you could use honey, or a little sugar, with a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg or a small amount (1/2 tsp.) vanilla, almond or other extract of your choice.
Now, for the serendipitous part:
With all the talking and visiting and food on the buffet, I lost track of the whipped cream dip. If you are only used to using whipped cream in a can, well-whipped cream will last for a couple of days in your refrigerator. [No one is allowed to use the words Cool Whip to me when speaking of food, especially in a recipe. It has no business in anyone’s life and I will not tolerate it…do you hear me????!!! Ok,I’m cool now.]
If whipped cream starts to loosen in texture, it can be re-whipped quickly. I actually have a little hand-held plunger device that ‘whips ‘ and serves cream, but I had forgotten all about it. The cream stores in it and you can re-plunge it if it starts to separate. I am glad I not remembered it because…you’ll see.
When I started to close things down, I saw that the whip cream had started to ‘weep'(separate),I felt the bottom of the bowl and it was still cool, but not cold. I put the cream into a jar and being groggy from excitement, work and too much food, I shook it, thinking it would likely get into a whipped-like state again.
Are you ahead of me? Do you know what happens to cream that is shaken? It churns.
I found myself with a solid lump, surrounded by thin milk. I had caramel butter and buttermilk…and they were delicious.
I have made flavored butters by softening sticks of butter and adding roasted peppers and/or spices; when my sister made broccoli that was very doused in butter ,I made a stick of broccoli butter as a joke,(she used it). But I may try my hand at more flavors using this method. The texture of this was out-of-this-world!
Same as for Caramel Whipped Cream, but let stand until the chill is off and whip or shake vigorously in a wide-mouthed jar until you have a solid lump.(If you put it in a narrow-mouthed jar, you won’t be able to get it out.)
Pour off the milk,( add to regular milk or put it in your coffee; you’ll thank me.)
Take a clean kitchen towel and press all the remaining liquid from the butter.
I considered pressing the butter into a mold;(most of our ancestors had butter molds and the antique ones are quite collectible). I was going to use a silicone candy mold, a seashell or even a small, deep cookie cutter but I didn’t. I kept the small amount I had accidentally made from the left-over whipped cream and made it into a flattened ball and chilled it.
And, after letting it sit at room temperature to spreading consistency, the flavor really came out and it was wonderful with a cup of tea, a Cornbread Muffin and Whole wheat crackers:
Caramel Butter is easy, delicious and makes a lovely gift.
This would make an excellent homemade gift for those with little confidence in their abilities. (Keep reading here, People; I’m here to help.) Team it with a batch of muffins, an assortment of nice crackers, (with tea, in a basket would be lovely; with a nice teacup, even better); or even a package of good-quality muffin mix and you there you have something nice to give.
Feel free to freeze the butter before giving, if you think it will not become immediately refrigerated, or if you are traveling with the gift.
Let me know if you give this a try. I think you’ll be very pleasantly surprised. I sure was!