Recipe: Butter and Maple Blondies


04 May Recipe: Butter and Maple Blondies

According to my mother, I have loved butter ever since I was old enough to sneak a one-pound brick of it out of the grocery bag, quietly peel back the foil, lick off a good inch, rewrap the evidence and slip it back in the bag.

I think I was about 4.

Today, I consume fat far more responsibly and the cat is the one who sneaks licks of butter.

Although I use this dairy product prudently, my love of butter remains. I cannot imagine Christmas without rich, buttery shortbread. What would boiled lobster be without its melted sidekick? Just another bottom feeder. And popcorn? Don’t even think the word “butter-flavoured topping.”

So, when Stirling Creamery hosted an evening at Ruby Watchco to showcase their new butter collection, I just couldn’t say no.

Ruby Watchco in Toronto

Before this butter-infused evening I thought there were two kinds of butter — salted and unsalted.

And I was wrong. So very, very wrong.

Four kinds of Stirling butter!

In addition to the salted and unsalted versions, Stirling makes European Style Butter with 84% butterfat (compared to 80% with your average butter). One taste and I was back in my  Camden flat in North London. There’s Whey Butter, which has an earthy, slightly nutty flavour, and Goat’s Milk Butter. This one’s a bit like chèvre. It even “ages” in the refrigerator over a couple of weeks.

Throughout the evening, we tasted a sweet and savory dish using each of these four butters. Created by chefs Lora Kirk and Lynn Crawford at Ruby Watchco, these dishes were as innovative as they were delicious. These chefs managed to work butter into dishes in ways I’d never dreamed. While the calories were out of control, this butter binge proved once again that we are limited only by our imaginations. And possibly our waistlines. But this was a special occasion.

To begin, the cocktails used browned butter to sugar the rim. My only complaint was I was driving. Two sips in I had to switch to water (no butter and sugar rim on that drink).

This is the menu board. I’ll walk you through the dishes. For the record, there was no clear winner. Everyone at the event liked a different butter for a different reason. My clear favourite? See if you can guess…

Let’s begin.

Goat Butter: Salted Roasted Beef Tartar with Walnut, Goat Butter & Chervil Streussel.

Goat Butter: Chocolate Cupcakes with White Chocolate Butter Cream

Whey Butter: Poached Shrimp with Corn Pudding

Poached Shrimp with Corn Pudding - 60 seconds later

Whey Butter: Pan-Fried Pound Cake with Citrus Curd

Salted Butter: Hush Puppies with Honey Butter

Salted Butter: Last remaining... Brown Butter Sugar Pie with Butter Fried Raisins

84 Reserve: Sliced Radishes with 84 Reserve Butter and Rosemary Honey

84 Reserve: Maple Butter Blondies with Brown Butter Caramel

Any guesses?

Violas at Ruby Watchco. Something to look at while you guess...

My favourite was the 84 Reserve European-Style, but it’s not for every day. This version richer and (understandably) more expensive than Stirling’s regular salted butter, so I would save it for special occasions and use it only where it would be the star. Like on scones in lieu of clotted cream. Served to my British friends, who no doubt think of Canadian butter the way we think of American beer.

Until now.

Here is the recipe for Maple Butter Blondies. It’s decadent. It’s rich. It’s for special occasions. It’s worthy of Jo Marie’s maple syrup.


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No Comments
  • Melissa
    Posted at 19:08h, 11 May Reply

    Stirling Butter! Stirling Butter! I grew up on Stirling Butter. My Aunt owned a restaurant on the main drag of Stirling for many years and I spent many summer days there with the Stirling Creamery in the periphery of my childhood. My dad would buy a pound just for Christmas, Easter or Thanksgiving. This butter was not to be messed with, it was a family luxury and it was heaven!

    When I can find it here in my area I buy a pound just like my dad did. It is a glorious treat and it brings back memories. There is nothing like the sweet taste of this particular butter. Everyone thinks I am weird but store bought mass produced just does not compare. I wish I had been at the butter tasting. I had no idea there was an 84 Reserve, I must get some of this and try it.

    I better go, I need to get a pound of butter.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 13:13h, 12 May Reply

      Oh, I’m glad to find another butter fan! Love that your dad bought it for special occasions. That says so much.

      I discovered Stirling by mistake. I was out of butter and my small local butcher sold the brand. I was shocked at the price but bought it since I had no option. When I got home I was shocked again at how much better it was than the grocery store brand I’d been using. I thought I was being a “butter snob” and had my husband taste test the two butters and he picked Stirling hands down. Okay, we eat Stirling. I was sold on it long before I attended their event.

      You’ll love the 84 Reserve. It’s expensive, but cheaper than a trip to the UK.

  • Melissa
    Posted at 15:59h, 03 June Reply

    I hate to say it but is is awesome on corn. Corn and butter. We would have corn roasts every weekend that we could in the summer as soon as the corn was ready. Our neighbors, friends and family would gather at our house most weekends to eat corn, that’s it just corn! We would get a roaring fire going in the pit, fill a pot (the pot was crafted by dad himself) big enough to fit 3 dozen ears of corn with water, let it come to a bubbling boil and toss in the corn. My mom would line up paper plates, rolls of paper towel and two pounds of butter to roll our corn in and several salt and pepper shakers on our picnic table. Once the corn was ready we would all dive in, no matter how hot the corn was and hand roll it in the butter until deep melty grooves started to form and the cobs drip with creamy salty goodness. When we were lucky it was Stirling butter. It was awesome!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 23:23h, 03 June Reply

      Why do you hate to say it? Pure butter on fresh corn on the cob is amazing. I can’t imagine it without real butter. I’d definitely pull out the Stirling for that!

      And our all-corn meals sounds wonderful. The stuff memories are made of. We sometimes have nothing but corn and sliced beef steak tomatoes for dinner. Seasonal eating at it’s best.

      Thanks for sharing your story. I’m now craving corn.

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