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Dec 7, 2008 11:58 AM

Overly Browned Butter, is it trash?

I'm whipping up a batch of browned butter shortbread cookies and in my noble quest to accomplish something as allegedly easy as browning butter, I managed to overly brown the first batch!! Apparently, butter goes from brown to burnt in a heartbeat!!

I made a second batch for the shortbread that looks nutty, perfect and delicious. I'm curious if the first, very dark batch should just be tossed. I saw somewhere on the internet that even "burnt" brown butter made a great sauce or topping for fish (?).

Does anyone have any ideas/recipes/thoughts on my brownish/black butter? Trash?

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  1. Taste...if it tastes burned, toss.

    Also, caramel goes from brown to burned very fast, FYI.

    1. You may have accidentally made black butter! If it's not burnt, you are right, it's a fish sauce.
      Here's a recipe with salmon from Epicurious

      1. Browned butter is also good with veggies, esp full-flavored root veggies. But as previous posters have said, brown (even very , very dark) is OK, black is not--it's just plain burnt. But you have to taste it to determine whether it's usable.

        If your recipe doesn't call for shocking the pan, you might try that the next time you're browning butter for any purpose. Put about an inch of cold water and a few ice cubes in something large enough to dip your pan into (roasting pan, kitchen sink). When the butter gets to where you want it, dip the bottom of the pan into the water, and the pan contents will immediately stop cooking.

        1. My mom makes something called "semn" which is kind of like ghee. It is made by browning butter and then straining it into a container and depending on what region you live in you refrigerate or not. I would refrigerate rather than experiment to find out.
          She mainly uses it on skillet and other oven type breads...just spreads it on the bread and it melts when put on bread just out of oven or skillet. She also I think uses it on bottom of skillet (in place of something like butter) before pouring the bread batter.
          Here is an online link that has more info on semn. Also it was mentioned to me that to let it brown to whatever desired brownness (med brown -dark brown) you want.. The following site indicates coffee been color is burnt: