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Nov 13, 2010 07:39 AM

Brown(ed) butter, that magical nutty ingredient...what do you do with it?

I was looking for a thread to bump that was specifically on brown butter, but couldn't find one, so here goes. What does brown butter get up to in your kitchen? I like it in pretty much any baked good featuring nuts, in madeleines, and in the German cookie, Heidesand, for which I mean to hunt up my friend's recipe to post. It also adds great flavor to a scallop dish I came up with - scallops seared in butter, taken out, a bit more butter added and allowed to brown, scallops back in and toasted sliced almonds, a few capers, and the juice and grated rind of a lemon added, simmered briefly. The almonds and butter and scallops all speak to each other very nicely.
How about at your place?

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  1. Oh, as a dressing for ANY green vegetable, with some crushed hazelnuts or almonds sprinkled on top is probably the frontrunner for us. I've made a browned butter flan that was outrageous. I also like to brown butter lightly and toss with crumbs and nuts of any kind and use to crust a rack of lamb, with some tarragon thrown in for fun. If you brown the butter for your bechamel and use it in a green vegie lasagna, it's magical (I like this one in a spring-vegie lasagna with sheets of pasta, 'cause I'm lazy like that.)And if anybody out there reads this, I'm still trolling for a cookie recipe made with browned butter and molded with teaspoons, then stacked with a fudge filling. I saw it in a magazine and can't remember which one for the life of me, and there are waaay too many of them to try to get through, or the Holidays will have to be delayed. And those scallops sound divine.

    8 Replies
    1. re: mamachef

      Was it this recipe:

      Spoon Cookies - it was in Gourmet 2005. I have been meaning to try it ever since but haven't gotten around to it. They sound divine!

      1. re: biondanonima

        biondanonima, you are my BFF. Can't believe you found it. I am sooo making these.

        1. re: mamachef

          Ha - I didn't even have to look! Ever since I saw this recipe it's been at the top of my "To Try" folder on Epicurious, yet I STILL haven't found the right occasion (we're low-carb so I only really do cookies at holidays). They just look like melty brown butter heaven nuggets, what could be better????!!!! Please let us know how yours turn out!

          1. re: biondanonima

            I have made this recipe many times now and it is to die for. Really good. Also easy I don't bother with the fudge filling. I think it would kind of distract from the great browned butter taste. This is my gift for friends going on trips or events. I store them in tins. The flavor intensifies after a couple days stored.

      2. re: mamachef

        OOH, brown butter bechamel in a veggie lasagna sounds brilliant! I'm always ladling the stuff over fish, green beans and broccoli to get the family to eat those foods, but putting those yummy green things in a carb-y casserole would be positively deadly. That's going on my list of dinners to throw together in my not-quite-finished kitchen this week. Thank God for Whole Foods' fresh lasagna sheets!

        1. re: mamachef

          I've only used browned butter in baking and occasionally with pasta -- I don't know why, but it never occurred to me to use it as a sauce for vegetables! Green leafy vegetables with browned butter sounds delicious.

          My absolute favorite application for browned butter is Suzanne Goin's hazelnut brown butter cake, topped with chocolate ganache:

          SO GOOD. I made it as my birthday cake this year and now that I have a stand mixer, I might start making it more often! (Especially since I'm still bitter about the fate of that cake... I brought it to a relative's house, and after seeing it they went out and bought a "special cake" from Whole Foods -- okay, so I had to slap on the ganache at the last minute and it didn't look so pretty! -- and then, after everyone inhaled my cake and no one had touched the "special cake," they asked if they could keep the last slice and my husband said yes before I could say anything. To add insult to injury, they insisted we take home the "special cake"! This year NOBODY is going to get my leftovers. Anyway, you can see I feel strongly about this cake!)

          1. re: Pia

            This sounds fantastic. I emphasize entirely on the cake issue! Must make. Thanks.

            1. re: Pia

              That looks amazing. I might have to add that to the Thanksgiving menu. Thanks!

          2. Game on, (brown/ed) buttertart! I only recently discovered the magic of this ingredient. So far, rolling sweet (surprise!) in this kat's kitchen with:

            Martha Stewart's pumpkin cookies with brown butter icing--these are seriously delicious and a must-add to your cookie repertoire (even if you're pumpkin'ed out right about now--you know who you are--HA HA!).

            and Brown Butter Marshmallow Treats
            Not just any butter, mind you, but cultured butter (also new to me). It's the old school recipe from the side of the Rice Krispies box, with just one additional tablespoon of butter, browned...oh and a sprinkling of salt, too. Damn, but they go down easy!

            I've clipped recipes for ravioli in a brown butter sauce (with orange), but have yet to give 'em a try...though am happy to wander to the savory side of brown butterdom. And if anyone is interested, I can dig the recipe out of my file to share.

            Your scallop dish sounds lovely, by the way.


            3 Replies
            1. re: kattyeyes

              Cultured butter is heap delicious. What one do you buy? Rice Krispy treats are something I adore, these must be smashing.
              What was that about pumpkin?

              1. re: buttertart

                I found Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery butter in my local Stop & Shop. It is quite special...never had anything like it.

                I dare you NOT to make the treats with brown butter...they're irresistable (unfortunately!). I ate my way through the better part of two pans' worth...and now I must go walk my @$$ off somewhere. ;)

              2. re: kattyeyes

                I have made sweet potato ravioli with browned butter infused with sage-you add the sage leaves right at the end when you turn the heat off and the flavour is quickly infused. A very light (tasting) sauce for a rich pasta.


              3. I find brown butter works nicely in pasta dishes, like raviolis and gnocchi. .....great on sea foods and fish.....and pretty good on even a steak.

                1 Reply
                1. re: fourunder

                  I have a recipe to try this week for pumpkin browned butter mac n cheese. It uses pumpkin (obviously), a little browned butter and aged cheddar along with the usual milk sauce.

                2. Good topic. I think browned butter is going to be the next big trend. I like it savory with pasta/gnocchi or sweet. I love this browned butter toffee blondie from Martha Stewart--always a big pleaser:


                  5 Replies
                  1. re: chowser

                    Those sound awfully good, thanks for pointing them out.

                    1. re: buttertart

                      It was posted here years ago and I finally got around to making them a few months ago, in little cupcake holders. People went on and on about them and asked for the recipe. LOL, it was mostly gym people who don't eat things like that but as one said, "They're really THAT good" when she asked for the recipe. I've made them often, since, and people rave about them every time. They're a nice change from brownies that you see often.

                      1. re: chowser

                        chowser -- these sound really good.

                        what kind of cupcake holders do you mean? Do you bake the blondies in them or just cut them when cooked and put them in?

                        and do you use heath bits for the toffee or something else?

                        sounds really good.

                        1. re: karykat

                          I use the cupcake papers--so most of the bite is edge. I've used mini ones and large ones. I'm loving the decorative papers right now that don't need muffin tins. I have also baked up a big pan and then cut on diagonal and put in the holders. It's prettier but far more work, and less chewy crust.

                          I use heath bits when I can find them, ground up Skor or Heath bars when I can't.

                  2. Cook some pasta (my favourite is a pumpkin ravioli from a local shop). While it's cooked, melt butter, throw in some chopped hazlenuts, cook a minute or so, throw in a wackload of sage leaves, cook until sage is crispy and butter is brown. Add to pasta, put on a little parmesan, and you are now in pasta heaven.

                    1 Reply