Thanksgiving Recipe: Compound Butters With Better-Than-Homemade Rolls

published Nov 17, 2014
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(Image credit: Nealey Dozier)

Flaky biscuits and light-as-air yeast rolls have been adorning the Southern table since the beginning of time, served alongside an array of homemade chutneys, relishes, and spreads: simple pleasures that have become as traditional as our saccharine-sweet iced tea. But more and more it seems that hot-from-the-oven baked goods have become relegated to special occasion fare. Thankfully Southerners know a good thing when we taste it, and my family (among many) have Sister Schubert’s to thank for the return of our daily bread.

(Image credit: Nealey Dozier)

Many of the best Southern recipes are handed down from generation to generation, and Patricia “Sister” Barnes is certainly no exception. While baking side-by-side with her grandmother as a child, Sister quickly gleaned a gentle baker’s touch and an enduring love for the communal table. But it was more than just recipes that she and her “Gommey” shared, it was the memories made that were truly everlasting.

Gommey’s recipe for yeast rolls would remain a Schubert family favorite, however it wasn’t until Sister offered them at a holiday food fair held by her church that the good news really begin to spread. In the next few years that followed the orders doubled, then tripled, until pretty soon her home kitchen couldn’t keep up with the roaring demand. Word spread quickly in small towns and big cities throughout Dixie, and it wouldn’t be long until Sister Schubert’s Parker House-Style yeast rolls would become a much beloved Southern essential.

(Image credit: Nealey Dozier)

Sister Schubert’s beloved yeast rolls have helped my family create plenty of fond memories of our own. I once smuggled tins of her sausage rolls to California to help spread the word out West, and I would often beg my mother to have a hot pan of yeast rolls waiting for me when I would return to my Alabama home. I never stop looking for new ways to show them off, whether it’s slathering one in spicy pepper jelly or sweet tomato jam, or stuffing ‘em full of apricot-glazed pork tenderloin or salty country ham.

For extra special occasions I gussy them up with a few of my “fancy” butters. Here are my two favorites — vanilla honey and savory roasted garlic — to add to your holiday spread.

Show your appreciation for your family this Thanksgiving by passing these spreads with Sister Schubert’s yeast rolls to share the Southern warmth. And then, you can capture your favorite moments from your gathering in a virtual needlepoint! You can also enter for a chance to win a gift basket from Sister Schubert’s – one for you and one for the loved one of your choice – filled with a holiday and decorating book, a bread basket, Sister Schubert’s rolls and coupons, and beautiful holiday tabletop items! Talk about sharing!

(Image credit: Nealey Dozier)

Vanilla Bean & Honey Butter

Yields: 1/2 cup

1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons good-quality honey, or to taste
1 heaping teaspoon vanilla bean paste
Pinch of fine sea salt

Combine butter, honey, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment and beat until light and fluffy. (Alternately you can place the ingredients in a medium bowl and mash it with a rubber spatula until smooth.) Serve at room temperature.

Sage & Roasted Garlic Butter

Yields: 1/2 cup

1 large head of garlic, kept intact
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/ 2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400°F.

Remove any loose, papery outer layers from the head of garlic. Slice about 1/8 to 1/4-inch off the top of the head to expose tops of the cloves. Drizzle the cut surface of the garlic with olive oil and wrap entire head in aluminum foil. Roast the garlic until soft and caramelized, about 1 hour. (More or less depending on the size and age.) Cool slightly.

Using your fingers, squeeze the roasted garlic paste into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and sage and beat until light and fluffy. (Alternately you can place the ingredients in a medium bowl and mash it with a rubber spatula until smooth.) Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature.

Recipe Notes

Make a double or triple batch of these butters to send home as favors for your holiday guests. Transfer a portion of butter to a sheet of parchment paper, placing it on the edge closest to you. Fold paper over and roll into a cylinder, like sushi. Twist the ends and refrigerate until firm. Tie the ends with twine and add a cute label. Voila! Instant parting gift.

(Image credit: Nealey Dozier)