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Recipes

This Three-Ingredient Butter Is What Your Corn Muffins Are Missing

A warm, sweet-spicy combination that can revolutionize your butter.
By Published Aug. 23, 2022

A little over a year ago, I set out to develop a recipe for sweet, moist fresh corn muffins for Cook’s Country. While researching, I stumbled upon a recipe for cardamom cornbread in Asha Gomez’s cookbook, My Two Souths: Blending the Flavors of India into a Southern Kitchen (2016). The cornbread was delightful.

Since I was after a pretty straightforward—or maybe better said, cornforward—recipe for the muffins, I didn’t want to add cardamom, which has such a distinct flavor, to the batter. But I loved the combination of perfumy, sweet, slightly spicy cardamom with sweet corn, so I decided to develop a recipe for a cardamom compound butter to go with the corn muffins. 

What Is Cardamom?

Cardamom, a spice from the ginger family, is sold in pods, as shelled seeds, or ground. The flavor is hard to explain but easy to recognize. It has a citrusy, sweet, herbal warmth. It’s often used in curries, rice pudding, and chai. The spice blend garam masala typically has a good dose of cardamom.  

It’s not a cheap spice. In fact, cardamom is the third most expensive spice in the world (behind saffron and vanilla) because it is hard to harvest. But thankfully a little goes a long way. 

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10 ingredients. 45 minutes. Quick, easy, and fresh weeknight recipes.

How to Make Cardamom Butter

In the case of this butter, a bit of ground cardamom mashed with a stick of butter, salt, and brown sugar creates a delicious compound butter that is far greater than the sum of its parts. You get a salty, sweet, complex mixture that’s great slathered on those aforementioned corn muffins but also worth keeping in the fridge to spread on toast or biscuits, smear over a piece of roasted salmon or chicken, or toss onto freshly popped popcorn.  

Cardamom–Brown Sugar Butter

Serves 12 (Makes about ⅔ cup)

Total Time: 15 minutes

This recipe is inspired by Asha Gomez's cardamom cornbread in her book My Two Souths: Blending the Flavors of India into a Southern Kitchen (2016). Serve with our Fresh Corn Muffins.

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • ¼ cup packed (1¾ ounces) light brown sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon table salt

 

Using fork, mash all ingredients in bowl until fully combined.