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Jul 5, 2012 10:23 AM

Clarified butter for Brownies?

I'm planning on cooking a batch of brownies (from the MIX) and was wondering if it would be OK to substitute the butter for clarified butter (ghee).

If so, should I add something to it? I read a little extra sugar and an egg white to compensate, but I'm complete kitchen/baking beginner, so I have no clue.

Also, if it is ok, should I substitute for the same amount? Let's say the recipe asks for 1/4lb (random number, I have no clue), do I throw a 1/4lb of clarified or would I throw the equivalent of a 1/4lb yielded from regular butter?

I'm at a complete loss. I want to cook these brownies as a little surprise for my wife but she absolutely hates butter and only eats clarified (I don't understand it either), so sorry if anything sounds rather dumb.

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  1. Frankly, I wouldn't make any adjustment. The clarified butter simply reduces the milk fats and water. The water will evaporate during baking and the milk solids shouldn't make enough difference to be concerned with. Just make sure you use unsalted butter. Are you relying on a vegan recipe?

    7 Replies
    1. re: todao

      No, just using one of those Betty Crocker Originals mixes.

      1. re: powerhousenick

        I'm bumfuzzled as to why a cake mix would call for clarified butter. I would just sub straight up as tadao said and not worry about it. (I don't know what it would have to do w/ vegan either, btw)

        1. re: danna

          The recipe does not call for clarified butter, the wife does. I don't understand her logic and gave up on questioning it.

          I am considering just using regular butter to avoid any unpredicted results.

            1. re: powerhousenick

              oh, I'm sorry, i completely misunderstood. anyhow, my answer is the same: they are interchangeable in this application, so have at it. Brownies are very forgiving creatures...except for what they do to your figure ;-)

              1. re: danna

                Or ...i could be wrong...see discussion here that made my head spin

          1. re: powerhousenick

            Well, if your wife simply hates butter, looks like you're stuck with clarifying the butter before you use it in the recipe. It's really not difficult to do. You're a great guy if you'd do this as a special treat for your wife.
            Here is (IMO) a simple set of instructions on how to accomplish that:
            Just remember that the key to success is keeping the heat low.
            If you're not sure you want to clarify the butter, just use a good quality vegetable oil. It should work OK.

        2. Brownie mixes - and many scratch recipes - usually call for oil, not butter. I have used melted butter instead of oil. It works fine for brownies. Solid butter (recipe will call for room temp) is different since the water it contains becomes steam during baking, and as such contributes to the batter rising or the pie dough flaking, and to the texture of the finished product. If the mix calls for solid butter, using melted or ghee will give you a denser brownie - not that that's a bad thing! Sub ghee one for one with oil or melted butter. Better yet, use virgin natural coconut oil, which liquefies at 78F. It adds a hint of coconut flavor and contributes to a fudgy texture. I heartily recommend Ghirardelli DARK CHOCOLATE Brownie Mix.

          1. use the butter

            edit: and for what it's worth, I'm a salt lover myself and bake more often than I admit to. although I buy unsalted & regular butter, I usually grab the salted for baking and yes > even in mixes. that's just me, I'm not suggesting you do the same or I'll get Cyberslapped ;(

            1 Reply
            1. re: iL Divo

              I also don't think unsalted butter is so key to brownies. Box brownies probably have more salt than scratch so the results might be a TAD salty, but nothing unforgivable, maybe even delicious for us salt lovers.
              OP, I really wouldn't stress this one. Box mixes are pretty forgiving. People do all kids of things to cake mix - even subbing nothing but diet soda for the oil, water, and eggs, and still they get "cake'. Brownies range in texture from cakey to chewy to super fudgy dense. I don't think you can lose here with clarified butter.

            2. In culinary school I was taught not to use clarified butter in baking but I don't recall hearing a reason.