I have fallen in love. Of course, I fell in love with my adorable husband, Jamie, almost 23 years ago and it has been magical. But my new love has consumed me. It’s all I can think about! I need this new love day and night and in everything I do.
My new love is Brown Butter. I don’t know if I will ever want to bake with plain butter again. The French call it beurre noisette and they use it in sweet and savory dishes alike. Vegetables, pasta, omelets, chicken, pastry, you name it.
I guess I should have spent more time in France because I don’t recall ever tasting brown butter before. But now I know that I will never be able to live without it!
First, you must use UNSALTED butter. By melting the butter in a light colored pan and boiling it, you will see that it becomes foamy. Once it is melted and starting to foam, swirl the pan constantly over the heat to ensure that the butter doesn’t burn. You will start to notice solid flecks at the bottom of the pan – these are the milk solids that are separating from the fat. Other cultures use this method of cooking out the milk solids and browning them as well. If the liquid and solid are separated, the liquid is known as clarified butter – called ghee in South Asia and samna in the Middle East and used in many recipes.
Continue to swirl the butter in the pan over the heat until the solids are brown and the liquid turns an amber color. This is why you want to use a light colored pan! I got lucky on my first attempt and didn’t burn the butter but I used a dark pan and couldn’t see the amber color.
Luckily, you also smell when it is ready when your house is overtaken by the beautiful nutty, warm scent! Remove the pan from heat and immediately pour the butter and the solids into a heat proof bowl. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, until it is solid again. At this point, you can keep it in the refrigerator as long as you want. Just pull it out and use it as you need it. To use in my Brown Butter Buttercream recipe, bring to room temperature before use.
I have begun to brown a few sticks and keep it in the refrigerator, ready to be used for whatever recipe calls for butter. The flavor of brown butter is nutty and rich and perfect in cupcakes, cookies, buttercream or whatever you can dream up!