Thanks to Mary Luz Mejia (@MaryLuzOnFood) and Sizzling Communications, I was sent 3 250g blocks of 84% butterfat European style Stirling butter to use and then blog about. Having missed a previous event where the all the types of their butter were showcased, I was excited to try it out. From living in France when I was younger, I miss that rich, creamy butter that is so good.
I thought about making croissants, but as it is the holiday season, I went with shortbread instead; dried cherry, dark chocolate chip shortbread. Then I gave it to my colleagues to taste test and give me feedback. I did not tell them which shortbread had which butter until after they tasted both.
I also used my new Cuisinart 13 cup food processor, thinking that it would help the process. I am not sure it did though. Both doughs were crumbly and did not form into a ball to flatten out easily. I (personally) want to refine the recipe as well. I had about 5 different ones to choose from in my recipe collection, all vastly different. I feel that there was something missing, though I was told by everyone that it was tasty.
So the comparison: Gay Lea unsalted butter vs. Stirling 84% butterfat.
Gay Lea: It seemed to mix better with the dry ingredients in the food processor. It was not as crumbly when rolled out but it did not easily form into a ball either. I baked this version in round pans so I could cut them into triangles. I found that the bottom of the pans were very greasy after, even through the parchment paper, which was not the case with the Stirling butter.
From my colleagues:
- Lacking a ‘sandy’ quality of shortbread
- Texture not as crumbly
- Liked it best
Stirling: It stayed in chunks within the processor, and there were even chunks of butter after baking. It was very crumbly when trying to roll out to be baked in a rectangular pan, which then could be cut into squares. The parchment was noticeably less greasy after baking.
From my colleagues:
- Light and crumbly
- More of a ‘sandy’ texture
- Tastes better, creamy
- Tasted more like shortbread
- More like traditional shortbread, crumbly and buttery
- Very rich
- Could taste the butter
From the opinions of my colleagues, I would conclude that the Stirling butter was the better butter in this recipe. Ironically, when asked which they thought was the higher fat butter cookie, they choose the Gay Lea one.
I found that the Gay Lea slice was indeed dense and not that buttery in flavour. The Stirling was less dense and had a very different flavour; not exactly buttery, almost nutty. It did taste less like a shortbread but had the better texture of the two and was much richer overall. So my summary would be that for a better texture, I would go with Stirling and will use it again for any of my baking
I do have 1 stick left over and will try it out with a warm baguette and some raspberry jam over the holidays.
Thanks again to Mary Luz, Sizzling Communications and Stirling Creamery for the butter. All thoughts and opinions are my own (and my colleagues).