Savory & spicy compound butter for veggies, meats & toasts

Mole butter in a ceramic dish with star anise and spices

There’s no easier way to add flavor and character to vegetables, mushrooms, toasts and meats than with a complex compound butter that you can make ahead of time and keep in the refrigerator or freezer to pull out and use for a quick and inspired meal. We love the smoky rich flavor combined with a toasty, nutty crunch of this fragrant combo.

Pro tip: You can fill an ice cube tray with the butter and freeze, then simply pop the butter cubes out and store in the freezer. Voila, you have single servings to use as needed right at your fingertips.

Mole butter in a ceramic dish with star anise and spices

Garlic Nut Butter Ingredients

1/2 lb unsalted butter softened to room temperature

1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder we use Valrhona

4 large cloves fermented black garlic or roasted garlic, pressed to soften into a paste-like consistency with the back of a teaspoon. Roasting and fermenting brings out the mellow sweetness of the garlic and curbs the sharpness of its flavor.

2 tsp paprika or chipotle, smoked paprika

good pinch saffron, broken up in palm with fingers

1/2 teaspoon anise

1/4 cup finely ground toasted nuts like almonds, hazelnuts or pine nuts, or a combination

1 tsp smoked sea salt


Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl until evenly mixed throughout.

Transfer to a covered crock or container and store in the refrigerator.

To freeze individual-sized portions: Using a spatula, fill an ice tray with butter (it will leave the scent and flavor of the spices and butter, so use an ice tray that you single out for culinary purposes and not ice cubes) and freeze. Pop out and keep in a ziplock freezer bag or airtight container and use within two months.

Mole butter in a ceramic dish with star anise and spices

How to make cultured butter


4 cups heavy cream or sheep milk

1/4 cup culturing agent, either unsweetened/unflavored whole milk cow, or sheep or goat milk yogurt, or cultured sour cream or creme fraîche


Combine the cream and culturing agent in a glass jar with a lid and leave on your countertop at room temperature, about 70-75ºF, for 24-48 hours to ferment. The mixture will thicken and become more tangy and sour the longer it ferments.

After the mixture has fermented, put it in the refrigerator for about an hour to prepare it for churning.

Transfer the mixture to a chilled stand mixer bowl and fit the mixer with a whipping attachment, or transfer to a chilled bowl to use a hand mixer.

Whip on medium speed until the cream is fluffy and holds soft peaks. Continue whipping on low speed until the butterfat and the buttermilk start to separate and the butter looks grainy, continue until the butter sticks to the whip and has clumps completely separated from the butterfat.

Strain through a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth while gently squeezing out as much liquid as possible, and conserve the buttermilk for other recipes.

Gently knead the butter by hand on a cool surface (stone works well!) to remove all of the bubbles of buttermilk trapped inside, which can leave a funky flavor. Once the butter is smooth and pliable, wrap in parchment, bees wrap or wax paper and refrigerate.

How to use your Compound Cacao Butter

• melt over steamed or grilled vegetables, roasted meats

•cook mushrooms in the butter (shiitakes, porcini and portobellos are our favorites)

•stir into mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, soups or warm black beans

•melt on toast or a warm croissant and sprinkle with a tiny dash of raw cane sugar or brown sugar

•spread onto a tortilla and add cheese to make a spicy quesadilla

•spread on corn on the cob

•substitute for the butter in a baking recipe like cookies or shortbread, or in the crumble for an apple crisp

•try this recipe for a summer veggie galette.

Pasta Mushroom Picada and a glass of white wine

Pasta with mushrooms browned in the Garlic Nut Butter and cooked with a splash of white wine, finished with crumbled feta