As a devotee to using the best quality ingredients available which also fit your budget, I wondered in my February 9, 2012 blog post called, Quality Ingredient of the Week – Butter, “when is it worth spending over $18 for a pound of butter?” Food experts claim that butter made from the cream of cows who are grass-fed is best; and that butter coming from the Normandy region of France is the best in the world. My sister, good friend, A, and I decided to test this claim by using my sister’s favorite shortbread recipe, baking it with three types of quality, unsalted butters. We then had the awesome chore of tasting and evaluating our results, all over a superior cup of Monkey Picked Oolong tea which A. steeped for us. We were quite serious in our approach to this experiment. Our evaluation focused on which taste we preferred and “was the priciest butter worth it”.
The results are in…..drum roll please….
All three made scrumptious cookies and on their own would be enjoyed.
The cookie made with the California Challenge brand butter had quite a different texture than the Irish and French butters, more dense and smooth. Not so crumbly, probably due to having a bit more moisture in the Challenge brand butter than the Kerrygold and President European brands. We liked the crumbly texture and more buttery taste of the European butters. The French brand did finish with a bit more buttery taste than the other two.
In the end, the question of whether it is worth spending over double the price per pound for the French butter versus the other two
resulted in a big…”depends on the audience you are serving these to,” but, probably not worth using the French butter for this purpose. Save it for another usage. A big “yes” on the Irish butter, as my sister said, she likes how “the cookie crumbled” (pun intended) using that European butter. And it was not significantly higher in price than our local California butter.
The next day I had a couple other friends do the taste test and one overwhelmingly preferred the “not as crumbly” cookies but went for the smoother, denser texture of the California butter.
It was a great excuse to bake with friends and drink tea.