how to brown butter

October 26, 2011

Browned butter is liquid gold. It is the King Midas of the baking world and makes even the most humble of cookie stand out.

I learned how to make browned butter the hard way. I spent a few too many times fanning a blaring smoke detector with kitchen towels, cookie sheets, brooms, junk mail, couch cushions – should I keep going? You get the idea.

But when all my cookie sheets were back to where they belonged, and after all that burned butter gone bad was forgotten, I did it. I browned a perfect pan of butter, and now I put it in everything I possibly can. Good thing it makes almost everything better. It is also a great shortcut for when you want cookies but have no patience to wait and let your butter come to room temperature. Double score!

What I learned for browning butter is to keep a medium low heat, use a wood spatula to really get the butter bits moving around, and to not try and paint my nails while doing this. Focus is key. And butter.

We’re doing this.

Measure out what your recipe calls for.

Heat over a medium low heat until it melts down.

Keep melting. Resist the urge to text.

As it melts it will begin to foam, and then as it cooks, bits will start forming on the bottom of the pan. Scrape up the bits! No emailing! Keep scraping!

Look at those bits – those are your flavor bombs.

When you get brown bits, turn off the heat and let cool. Done. Browned butter. What do you do with all this browned butter? Two words. Pumpkin snickerdoodles.


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jean Sullivan January 31, 2012 at 6:46 pm

So, Lillie, have you ever tried putting the browned butter in the fridge and, after it’s resolidified, using it in a recipe that calls for chilled butter?

Are you interested in a recipe for butterscotch pie? I have my mother’s recipe – very ancient you understand . . . laughing . . . and it is very good . . . with a delicious pudding filling.


Lillie February 5, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Hi! I would LOVE the butterscotch pie recipe! Chilled brown butter is great in most recipes but I would avoid using it in pie crusts, scones, etc., or anything where you need the butter to be very very cold.


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