Text: Nostalgia, 46% of global consumers like moments of indulgence where they pay no attention to nutritional intake

Healthier snacks are trending as we all look for a little boost, and our customers are beginning to seek out new flavors and experiences to make up for missed travel and outings. Nonetheless, the comfort food trend surges on with continued strength. Familiar childhood favorites and indulgent treats are where we turn to celebrate with friends and family, and they are what we reach for as a reward or pick-me-up in times of stress. Rich, nutty, buttery flavors fit the bill when it comes to providing customers with the nostalgic treats they crave and can easily become a part of more innovative options as well. 

 

Cookies with Gooey Caramel

Butter Classics: Caramel, Butterscotch, and Browned Butter

The enduring appeal of a rich, decadent caramel or butterscotch is undeniable; at the center of that is butter or, more specifically (and less romantically), fat and milk solids. When the right amount of heat has been applied, the proteins, sugars, and fatty acids in butter (and cream or milk) toast and develop a distinctive nutty flavor. When this process occurs without the addition of sugar or other ingredients, the result is, of course, browned butter (link to technique video).

These traditional iterations of buttery goodness are a perennial hit with customers of all ages, and not only do they pair well with many other favorites, but they can also be adjusted and customized to fit almost any flavor profile. 


 

 

Butter warming in a pot in order to separate solids/make clarified butter

Next-Level Butter Flavor: Buttermilk, Ghee, and Compound Butters

Are you ready to go a step beyond basic butter? Diversify your dairy and branch out into a new world of butter options.

Consider, for example, buttermilk. Its extra acidity performs wonderfully in baked goods, giving them lift and tenderness, but don’t overlook the rich, tangy flavor it can add as well. If your shop makes ricotta, the whey you’re left with is a great substitute for buttermilk and a great way to upcycle an ingredient!

Gaining in popularity is Ghee. This clarified butter with a unique nutty flavor originated in India. Traditional clarified butter is simply pure butterfat: the butter has been melted and the solids removed. To make ghee, the butter is cooked and the milk solids lightly caramelized before they are removed, resulting in a rich, intriguing flavor. Try swapping Ghee for vegetable or coconut oil in recipes for baked goods for an extra punch of buttery flavor.

Compound or flavored butters have long had a place in savory cooking. Making them a part of your breakfast or brunch offerings can take your menu to the next level. Further elevate your best-selling muffin with a side of cocoa-enhanced butter. Coffee or hazelnut butter with chocolate pound cake turns a quick snack into a moment of indulgence. Or try pairing a citrus-enhanced butter with scones or pancakes for a truly special breakfast.

 

Pecan Butter Donuts

No Dairy, No Problem: Plant-Based Buttery Goodness

Customers who are avoiding animal products or dairy, in particular, don’t have to miss out on the rich, caramel flavors they love.

The market for plant-based butters has expanded dramatically in recent years, and options are plentiful. Companies are producing butter with avocado, nut, and other plant-based oils that are a match for butter flavor-wise, and bakers and chefs can try different options to make sure the texture and quality of their products remain up to their standards.

This one might be a tough sell, but hear us out: Miso. White, Shiro, or Sweet Miso has a mild flavor and gorgeous butterscotch notes that pair well with strawberries, apples, and pumpkin, and make for incredibly sophisticated brownies.

Nut butters add flavor and richness without dairy.