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One of the reasons why I like the holidays so much is because I like to cook and I like to eat. The feasts are where it’s at and if it’s a holiday without a ham, turkey, or barbecue going, I probably don’t have a ton of interest in it :)
Last year Christmas was odd. I went to my parents house and my dad cooked steaks. Now my dad cooks amazing steaks. Truly… steakhouse quality at home. It’s likely because as an engineer he researches everything and looks into the science of it all. After all, how the meat reacts to different kinds of heat and temperatures and whatnot, that’s all science, right?
My job was to make the desserts and I did that with gusto. We had a cake, 2 pies, and a Butter Santa! Now I thought that darn butter Santa was cool as all heck and when I showed it to my dad he just kind of shrugged. It was a small Santa simply because how much butter does 3 people need for one meal!?! I put it in the kitchen and told everybody (all two people :) to leave it alone so I could photograph it with our Christmas food in the background.
But when I went into my parents’ kitchen to snag some photos of the butter I found that poor Santa had been offed… Santa’s head buttered my dad’s English muffins shortly after I had arrived :)
This year I decided to make a Butter Turkey. And I decided to do it AT HOME and take the photos AT HOME! I know with Thanksgiving just tomorrow you don’t have time to order a mold and have it delivered and yada, yada, yada, but you can always pin this post and knock the butter business out of the mark NEXT Thanksgiving. Or even this coming Christmas!
Supplies Needed to Mold Butter:
- 3d Mold for Candy or Similar (here is the Turkey Mold we used)
- 2″ Binder Clips
- Large Bowl with a Lid
- Butter (our Turkey weighs in at 33 ounces)
- Bamboo Skewers
The coolest thing about molding butter is that you can make it absolutely any shape you can find in a 3d Mold. We’ve made a butter Santa, butter Easter bunnies and now a butter turkey! In my experience pretty any mold by the brand Cybertrayd is awesome and they have molds in all sorts of designs and themes.
To keep the 2 pieces together all you need are some humble binder clips. They’re inexpensive and you can find a lot of ways to use binder clips at home beyond just using them to hold 3d molds together for badass butter shapes. My parents always used them to keep bags of potato chips closed and I use them to clamp lots of crafts together while glue is drying or whatnot. And there’s the whole office stuff use like, you know, holding papers together and all that boring jazz :)
How to Mold Butter:
The best butter to mold is softened butter.
Softening butter is so easy… Just take it out of the refrigerator and let it come up to room temperature. When you can easily push the back of a spoon through the butter it’s ready to go.
Because when butter gets soft it gets greasy and slippery, it can be a mess unwrapping a softened stick. I like to unwrap the cold butter and toss it into a large bowl with a lid and leave it on the kitchen counter at least overnight to get nice and soft.
When you’re talking about pounds of butter, it’s best to get your molding done right the first time!
In my experience, melted butter doesn’t always set back to the opaque and milky butter we know and recognize. Sometimes you get an entire piece of a somewhat transparent butter, or patches of transparent bits here and there that just doesn’t look right. If you don’t let your butter soften at all, you can’t push it into all of the nooks and crannies of your mold. Flat out, the best way to mold butter is by using softened butter.
How to Prepare Your 3d Mold
A 3d mold comes in 2 pieces. You fill each half of the mold and put them together to form a single molded butter. On the mold you’ll have bumps that fit together from one side to the other (see on the turkey’s back, behind and in front of his legs?) These bumps guide you so that you have the 2 pieces together just right.
When molding butter you want to put binder clips as close to the edge of the design as possible. This prevents butter from seeping at the seam causing an unsightly line around the finished butter shape.
Using a pair of strong scissors, trim around the two sides of the mold together at the same time. Make sure you cut away enough that the clip clamps right up to the edge of the design, but not so close you don’t have enough to clamp onto. Once you’ve got binder clips as thick around that shape as possible it’s time bust out the butter.
How to Fill a 3d Mold with Butter
Using a spoon, rubber spatula, or a butter knife spread a thin layer of butter into the mold. Take care to push the butter into all of the nooks and crannies.
Flip the mold over regularly to make sure that you’re getting good coverage. Fill in any gaps or holes as you work for the best results.
Continue to fill the mold levelling the butter to fill in each half as evenly as possible.
As you fill the mold you might develop an odd bubble. Tap the mold on your work surface to pop bubbles. For more ornery bubbles, use a wood skewer bobbling it up and down much like a needle on a sewing machine a few bobs in the bubble should fill with butter.
Two Molds, One Molded Butter Later
Once both sides of the mold are filled to your satisfaction and leveled, smack both of them together. Use those notched bubbles around the shape to make sure that the molds are placed together correctly. Clamp with your binder clips working around and around. If butter gets on the outside of your mold making it slippery, spot clean with a paper towel and vinegar.
FYI – the lights in my kitchen apparently are as hot as Hades. As left my butter mold placed together and left it on my stainless steel kitchen island, the lights above began to melt the butter! See where the yellow is darker? That’s melted butter. On that side of my turkey there are some spots where the butter isn’t creamy looking, but more wet and shiny. Which is why all of my photos are taken from the other side :)
Once you’ve clamped everything together to your satisfaction, place your mold in the freezer, at least overnight.
Once the molded butter is out of the mold, you can use a knife to trim away any excess butter along the seam that might have formed.
A Few Quick Butter Molding Tips
- Mold softened butter for the best results. Work with natural light without strong rays on your work surface to keep your butter the right consistency. If using overhead lighting, place some butter out as a test and see if the light will melt your butter as you work.
- Same goes for heat vents. I never realized that I had two vents pointed directly at my kitchen island until my grandmother wanted the heat turned to 76 and I had that air blowing right onto my butter!
- Freeze your butter once molded. It will make it super easy to release from the mold and will help it hold its shape if travelling. It doesn’t take long for the butter to thaw back out so leave it in the freezer until you’re headed out or until people are headed over.
- If your molded butter doesn’t come out as well as you would like, simply allow the butter to soften and start over. It will soften more quickly if you cut the shape into chunks and spread it out a bit.
And THAT is how you mold butter into an awesome Thanksgiving Butter Turkey! (or Butter Santa, Easter Bunny, Valentine Hearts or anything else!)