Recipe: Browned Butter

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Last Thanksgiving an uncle brought two small bowls of creamy brown butter, speckled and flecked like quail eggs. We had never seen butter like this, and the taste came as something of a revelation.

It possessed the rich nuttiness of dark caramel, without the sweetness. It tasted roasted and full of warmth - cool on the tongue, like regular butter, but with a full flavor that had hints of walnuts, burnt sugar, and toasted bread. It was utterly delicious. We had to stop ourselves from eating it with a spoon.

Turns out this is really a simple thing: cook down a stick of butter until it's brown. Combine with another stick of butter, salt to your taste, and whip. Put on everything.

Click for step-by-step photos and recipe...

Browned Butter
about 3/4 cup

1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste

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• Cut both sticks into small cubes. Set one stick aside in a heatproof bowl.

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• Melt one stick in a cast iron or heavy skillet.

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• Let it melt over medium heat and cook until the bubbling foam subsides and brown flecks appear on the top. The butter will look rather unappetizing - foamy and scummy on top. (Don't be fooled - it's delicious.) When the butter has turned dark brown, take off the heat.

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• Let cool for a few minutes, then pour over the other stick of butter. Refrigerate immediately.

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• When cool, add salt and whip in a food processor or with a mixer until creamy and smooth.

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