Hibiscus Butter might seem like something inedible, but I assure you it’s delicious.
I first encountered hibiscus as an edible flower back when I was exploring cocktail recipes in Death & Co.s fabulous recipe book. The advent of craft beers has inevitably lead to craft cocktails. And because I’m older, wiser and less able to recuperate I’ve turned to making one or two great drinks as opposed to indiscriminately imbibing anything willy-nilly.
However, this post is not about how to make delicious syrup from whole dried flowers. This post is about how to make yummy butter. Here’s the deal, you can use hibiscus tea from the supermarket. But your butter will turn purple as the tea infuses into the butter. If you order your flowers or get them in a supermarket with the proper ethnic makeup to carry such in stock, your butter will be a light pink. I believe it is the additional ingredients most manufacturers put into hibiscus tea, but I could be wrong. Maybe they have access to super top secret hibiscus flowers which turn purple upon infusion. Because with both the tea and the dried flowers that is what you will do.
You bring your butter- a full pound- up to a slow simmer until completely melted. Take it off the heat. Put either 20 bags (about 1/4-1/3 cup loose leaf tea) of hibiscus flower or 4-6 dried flower into the butter. Let it cool a bit. Test after 15 minutes or so. If the flavor isn’t strong enough, let it steep another 5 minutes. Keep checking every 5 minutes until the butter reaches your desired flavor.
As a side note, if you’ve never tasted hibiscus, it is sweet and tart. When you taste test your butter, if you add a sprinkle or two of sugar granules to offset the tartness, you’ll get a better idea of how your butter will fare in various recipes.
If you wish a smooth butter, strain through a cheesecloth while the butter is still runny and viscous. Make sure you squeeze out each last drop. If you want little flecks of flower in your butter- only recommended for the actual flowers, not the tea- make sure to pulse the dried flowers BEFORE including it to steep in the butter. At this point, you can use this butter as is in any recipe which calls for melted butter. Or you may place this into a container in the refrigerator and let it solidify to use as a butter cream base.
A fabulous way to use this butter is in shortbread and other delicate dessert recipes. And who knows, maybe you’ll be inspired enough to make this into sugar and also full flower syrups. They are a beautiful addition to any table.