Oh, you’re still eating regular cinnamon-sugar toast? How quaint. Hold onto your McCormick cinnamon shaker, because breakfast is about to get real. And caffeinated. I first discovered Blue Bottle‘s Cascara Butter Toast at their Brooklyn café, and fell in love with the combination of the lemony, earthy butter and sweet powdered sugar topping. Now I go out of my way to pass the shop just so I can order it. But even if you don’t live near a Blue Bottle, you can make the toast yourself. And you should. Here’s how it’s done.
Wait, what is cascara?
Not to be confused with cascara sagrada (just Google 😱), cascara is the skin of the coffee cherry (a.k.a. the fruit) that surrounds the coffee seed (a.k.a. the bean). Once considered waste within the coffee industry, it’s now being used to brew a coffee-tea hybrid with a gentler caffeine content, or mixed with fizzy water and simple syrup for a refreshing tonic.
Soo…what’s cascara butter?
At Blue Bottle, they use the cascara to make a thick syrup, which is then mixed into softened butter. That butter is what tops the toast, explains Scott Boggs, Blue Bottle’s Southern California Regional Director of Culinary.
Ohhhh yeah. Photo: Rose Hogan
Cool. How do I make the syrup?
At Blue Bottle, the cascara husk is steeped in a syrup then simmered until reduced to a viscous, thick consistency. To do this at home, make a basic simple syrup with a few tablespoons of cascara (you can buy it online). Mix the sugar and water together with the cascara, bring to a boil, stir until the sugar is dissolved, then remove from the heat and let cool before straining out the cascara. Although the basic simple syrup formula is equal parts sugar:water, for this purpose adjust the ratio to be 2 parts sugar to 1 part water. This will result in a thicker syrup, which will better incorporate into the butter.
To pull it all together, mix a bit of your cascara syrup into room-temperature, unsalted butter, along with a squeeze of lemon juice. Heads-up: The syrup will turn the butter a beige-brown hue. Spread it on lightly toasted bread (Blue Bottle uses a sourdough because the “earthiness can stand up to the flavor of the cascara,” according to Boggs) and top with a sprinkle of powdered sugar mixed with ground cinnamon.
Will this caffeinate me like a cup of coffee?
Cascara contains roughly 25% of the caffeine of a coffee bean, so steeping it in a syrup and using just a bit of that in the butter means the caffeine content in your toast is negligible. But it does add a floral and earthy flavor to butter. Plus, by using cascara, you’re helping cut down on the waste produced by the coffee industry. Or maybe it’s just delicious toast.