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Browned butter adds a special flavor

March 24, 2017

Cathie Campbell/For The Madera Tribune

Browned butter adds something extra to quick breads.

I love the flavor of food that has been made with browned butter.


You must watch butter carefully when you brown it because it can burn and be ruined very quickly. Even when I am doing something as simple as pouring butter over popcorn, I like to let the melted butter brown a little bit.  Just as when I have something under the broiler, I dare not look away or get distracted. (I have ruined more than a couple of things by letting them burn into black blobs under the broiler and setting off my smoke alarm.)


I have put together some recipes that feature browned butter, so I hope you find something you really like.
 
Browned butter blondies


Browned butter mixture:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 large egg 
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
1/3 cup flour

 

Blondie mixture:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more 
2 1/4 cups flour, plus more 
1 1/2 cups pecans, coarsely chopped 
1 1/2teaspoons baking powder 
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt 
1 3/4 cups packed light brown sugar 
2 large eggs 
1 teaspoon vanilla
Vanilla ice cream, for serving

 

  1. For browned butter mixture:  Cook butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, until the butter starts to become foamy. Allow the butter to brown, cooking about 5 to 8 minutes total. Pour the browned butter into a medium bowl and allow to cool slightly. Add egg, brown sugar, vanilla and salt; beat until the mixture is light and falls back onto itself in a slowly dissolving ribbon, about 3 minutes. Fold in flour.

  2. For the blondie mixture: Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 13-by-9-inch baking dish and dust with flour. Toast pecans on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until slightly darkened and fragrant, 8 to 10 minutes. Allow pecans to cool.

  3. Whisk baking powder, salt, and 2 1/4 cups flour in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat brown sugar and 1 cup butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating between additions; mix until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in vanilla. Reduce speed to low and mix in dry ingredients. Fold in half of pecans. Scrape two-thirds of batter into prepared baking dish; smooth the top, making sure batter gets to the edges. Alternating, dollop brown butter mixture and remaining batter on top. Smooth and sprinkle remaining pecans over all.

  4. Bake in preheated oven until blondie mixture is golden brown and firm (a tester will not come out clean), 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool before slicing. Makes about 24. Serve with ice cream, if desired.

 

Old fashioned browned butter cookies
From the folks at Land O’ Lakes.

 

1 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
Decorator sugar

 

  1. Melt 1 cup butter over medium-high heat in heavy 2-quart saucepan. Continue cooking, watching closely, until butter foams and just turns a delicate golden color (3 to 5 minutes). Immediately remove from heat; refrigerate 30 minutes.

  2. Preheat oven to 350. Combine browned butter, sugar, egg and vanilla in bowl. Beat at medium speed until well mixed. Continue beating, gradually adding flour, until well mixed.

  3. Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in decorator sugars. Place 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Flatten with tines of fork.

  4. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Let stand 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets. Cool completely. Makes 42 cookies.

 

Browned butter salmon with honey and garlic


4 tablespoons butter or ghee
4 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 small cloves garlic, minced
4 salmon fillets
Sea salt, to taste
Lemon wedges, for serving

 

  1. Preheat oven to grill or broil settings. Place butter in an oven-proof skillet (or a normal frying pan if you don’t have one). Cook over medium heat, swirling pan occasionally and stirring continuously for about 3 minutes, or until the foam settles; the butter begins to change in color to golden brown and has a nutty fragrance. Add the honey, lemon juice and garlic; stir well and cook another 30 seconds  to 1 minute until the garlic is fragrant. Remove from heat. Pour out half of the browned butter from the pan (liquid only) and reserve for later.

  2. Add the salmon steaks to the butter in the pan; sear each fillet (skin-side down if there is any skin) for 3 to 4 minutes or until golden. Flip each fillet; transfer pan to the oven to broil  or grill for about 6 minutes.

  3. To serve, season with salt to taste; drizzle with the reserved brown butter sauce. Makes 4 servings.

 

Browned butter cranberry banana bread


6 ounces unsalted butter, melted and browned, to make just over 1/2 cup of melted butter
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 large eggs
3/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 1/4 cup mashed ripe banana (about 3 medium bananas)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 1/2 cups whole fresh cranberries


For the crumble:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
1/2 cup flour
3 tablespoons lightly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

 

  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350. Spray a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and line with parchment paper, leaving about two inches of parchment paper to hang over two sides of the loaf pan. 

  2. Brown the butter. Set aside to cool. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cardamom. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, mashed bananas, vanilla and yogurt. When butter has cooled, whisk in the browned butter. Add the wet ingredients, all at once, to the dry ingredients. Fold together, making sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl to moisten well. Fold together ingredients, but don’t over stir. Fold in the cranberries.

  3. To make the crumble, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and rub together with your fingertips until crumbly.

  4. Spoon batter into prepared pan. The pan will be very full. Leave out a spoonful of batter if you’re worried about the bread baking over. You can make a few muffins with the scooped out batter. In preheated oven, bake the loaf for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to rest in the pan for 15 minutes, before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.

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