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Flash in the Pan: “My Life in Balance” Buttery Spread

[I’ve decided to offer a mini-post every once in a while, for a dish that comes together incredibly quickly, or else is so easy to make that no recipe is required.  Here’s today’s “Flash in the Pan.”]


What??? Another Flash in the Pan, back-to-back with the previous one?

Honestly, I was working on a post about cookies (a Gastronomic Gift to be shared next time, promise!) when I accidentally happened upon this amazing discovery.  I was so thrilled with myself that I just had to share it immediately! (Yes, you’re right, I really must get another hobby).

And, as today’s post title implies, my life has been rather out of balance lately.  Scrambling to complete a cookbook manuscript (oh, woe, oh, woe, I fear I may miss a deadline for the first time in my life!), marking student exams, preparing for the holidays and a visit from the CFO, tending to an injured Girl, my weight hopping between lows and all-time highs like critic’s reviews of Britney’s music–well, let’s just say I needed something to balance the mood.

And, as serendipity would have it, this recipe filled the gap.  This is my version of a creamy, smooth, spreadable, nonhydrogenated, trans-fat free, yellowish in color, firm-when-refrigerated-but-not-melty-when-room-temperature, spread-it-on-bread or melt-it-on-a-pancake, tastes-rich-and-incredible, all-purpose, homeade and waaay-cheaper-than-that-famous-brand BUTTERY SPREAD.

Well, as you know, many a great invention has been discovered by accident.  I think most people are aware of the accidental discovery of Post-It Notes (for which, apparently, the inventor was never properly compensated).  On the other side of the sticky/non-sticky spectrum is the unintentional discovery of a new substance even slicker than Teflon (though, of course, we’re all aware that any kind of nonstick cookware can emit deadly gases, right?).  Or how about the monumental “mistake” that was the development of penicillin? My sinuses thank you, Alexander Fleming.

And yesterday, this entirely fortuitous concoction was created in my kitchen.  I was so shocked after I turned on the little food processor (I have one of those “Mini-Prep” processors for small batches) and saw the result that I did an internet search to check who else had already come up with the same recipe.  It seemed too simple!  Too easy!  Too good. 

I found lots of coconut oil-olive oil based mixes,  Bryanna’s low-fat “Corn Butter” and a great-sounding recipe in Alisa’s new book, Go Dairy Free, but nothing like this.  At first I thought the tofu in the recipe might be a problem (well, it is for those with soy allergies), but I checked out the Earth Balance website for a list of ingredients, and since it, too, contains quite a bit of soy protein, I assumed this would be fine (and that accounts for the similarity in appearance between the two, I imagine).  A little tweaking, and I found my new favorite spread!

The only caveat I’d offer with this spread is that, made from coconut oil, it is, after all, mostly fat (specifically, saturated fat). Unlike the prepared spread, though, this contains no canola oil (which can be controversial) or other additives.

I don’t know if this would work as a butter substitute in recipes other than baked goods, but please, give it a try and let me know!  Also, since I’ve never tasted Earth Balance, I don’t know if the flavor of this spread is similar or not.  I do know that I really enjoyed it on bread (even though I was never a butter-on-bread kind of gal in the old days), and that  the HH loved this so much, he ate three pieces of bread with it and proclaimed, “Hey, this is good stuff, man!”**

It may not balance the chaos in your life, your chakras, or even your budget–but I bet you will still love this buttery substitute!


* Actually, Elsie’s stitches came out this morning!  The vet said all is fine and it looks as if the gash has healed really well.  The HH and I are bracing ourselves for a day as referees at the dog wrestling marathon that will inevitably occur.

**Well, he didn’t actually use the word “stuff”–his was a little more colorful–but this is a PG blog, after all.

Looking for a way to bake with this spread? Try Marzipan-Topped Shortbread Cookies

Last Year at this TimeSpelt Pizza with Caramelized Onion, Artichokes and Chard


© 2008 Diet, Dessert and Dogs


31 comments to Flash in the Pan: “My Life in Balance” Buttery Spread

  • What a great idea!!! I love it and it’s so much healthier than regular butter =)


  • NO SOY?!?!??! You rock, Ricki!


  • Waaaaait, scratch that – I stupidly missed the tofu. At least it’s STILL a healthier spread!! 🙂


  • i’m really curious to see how it works out if used in baking etc. Hope someone gives it a try! (I myself likely won’t make it because of the soy, but I still think its really nifty that you came up with this!)


  • Jes

    Oh my word–I can make homemade Earth Balance now?! This could be dangerous…


  • what a find! and hopefully your girl is doing well


  • I love accidental discoveries!

    I used this for a previous post title, but it’s worth quoting again: “Accident is the name of the greatest of all inventors.”

    -Mark Twain


  • You’re an inventor! How cool is that!? I believe that chocolate chip cookies and tarte tartin were also “mistakes”. And ginger ale. I love tasty mistakes!


  • Sounds like your life will never be the same again – I am not much of a butter on bread type of girl either but every now and again it seems right – but you didn’t tell us what were you attempting when you made the fortuitous mistake?


  • Oh this looks good – I can’t wait to try it (I even have all the ingredients on hand). Nat is working away from home for a week though so it would be not a good idea for me to make it until he gets home (even though its healthier than butter – still probably not good for me to eat it all in a week!!!)

    I will let you know how it goes.


  • That is beyond an awesome idea… Thanks so much!


  • i gotta get some coconut oil… who knew about the post its? haha! glad elsie’s would finally healed well 🙂 and hope the craziness subsides soon for you!


  • Liz

    Genius! Pure genius! And please don’t get another hobby; I enjoy eating your recipes and reading your blog too much 🙂


  • This is very smart!I love this idea.


  • I am so in awe of people who can come up with things like this. And saving some money is just the icing on the proverbial cake — thank you!


  • Ricki, I want to build you an altar and worship you daily! It looks so buttery! I can’t believe it’s not butter! Teehee!

    Good luck with the deadline and YAY for Elsie! Enjoy the inevitable dog wrestling marathon!


  • that is so cool that you made a buttery spread recipe. can’t go wrong w/ nutritional yeast!


  • YOU are so freaking beyond Brilliant, homes. You DA Boommmbb squad and I cannot WAIT to make this recipe!

    I liiiive for your amazing recipes!


  • I’ve never been so sad to be soy free 🙁 It looks great!


  • you? you totally rock.
    and oh, I so hear you on missing deadlines. we should probably email one another to exchange spazzing out stories and such.


  • My fudge didn’t turn out as pretty as yours,but it tasted delicious, it was a hit with everyone, thanks for posting the recipe 🙂


  • Oh wow! That looks great!


  • Brilliant! I could certainly use a cheaper alternative, considering how much of it I tend to slather on to toast. 😉


  • I’ve never indulged in buttery spreads, but this is such a clever idea and it looks like a fantastic substitute.


  • You never cease to amaze me, Ricki!


  • What I miss most is warm bread and creamy butter. I will definitely have to give this one a try even though I do my best to avoid food that comes in quotes- you know like ‘buttery’ spread that has no butter or ‘meat’ balls that has no meat.


  • VeggieGirl,
    Sorry about the soy! But I guess that Earth Balance has soy, too. What do you use instead?

    I tried it in Marzipan-Topped Shortbread cookies, with good results! It’s not great for sauteeing, though, as the soy part will brown on the bottom of the pan. 🙁

    A little dangerous when freshly blended and stir soft and creamy. . . I ate more bread after making it than I had in maybe 2 months!! (well, I don’t usually eat ANY bread, but you know what I mean. . . ).

    Yes, I’ve heard that about CCCookies! Tarte tatin? Who knew?!

    I’ll post the original recipe in a day or two. . . more cookies! 🙂

    Can’t wait to hear!

    Thanks so much! Craziness is beginning to subside already. . .

    Thanks so much! But I still think a hobby would be nice!

    Cookbook maven,
    Thanks so much for your comment, and for reading! Hope this helps with the budget somewhat 🙂

    Thanks for the blush-inducing compliment :). And Elsie is right back at it–yay!

    Thanks so much for your comment! Yep, it sure hit the spot for a buttery spread, I have to admit. (perhaps a bit too much. . .).

    I’ve been thinking the same thing–will email!

    Glad it tasted good, anyway! The trick to clean-cut squares is to refrigerate it first 🙂

    I’m the same way. (Except the quotes here are around “My Life in Balance” and not the “Buttery”–many fewer unnatural ingredients that way! (though you’re right, no actual butter in this one). 😉


  • Mm…where you do you find unrefined coconut oil? I love my coconut flavored coconut oil, do you think that would work too, just give a coconut flavor? Or will it do something weird?


  • This sounds really interesting! I bet my son would get a kick out of making his own “butter”. I had an online friend that swore by a homemade millet based “butter” that she made. I lost touch and don’t have her recipe.


  • Ms Derious

    Oh my, I’ve just made this and it’s lovely 🙂

    I’m a newish vegan, and I’ve not been impressed with any of the dairy free spreads I’ve found in the UK. This is perfect. I think too nice (for me) to use to bake with as coconut oil is so very expensive, but I’ve just had this on fresh home made bagels, and its wonderful 🙂


  • I do enjoy Earth Balance but I don’t enjoy the cost of it. This sounds amazing and I can’t wait to try it. Now I’m kicking myself for getting rid of the mini food processor I never used.


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