Brown butter is amazing alchemy. Simply heating butter until the milk solids in it turn nutty brown and richly fragrant, changes it completely. Nothing is added or subtracted, but the flavour of butter is totally transformed. Browning butter gives me the same little thrill as melting sugar into caramel, revealing a complexity and depth in an ordinary ingredient.
Recipes for browning butter often call for straining the browned solids off of brown butter and discarding them. This just seems so wrong. The brown solids are where all the lovely flavour lives. They are salty, toasty, nutty and (obviously) buttery. So this recipe is basically the exact opposite of discarding the solids. Instead, increase the solids, isolate them and use them as their own special ingredient. Milk solids make up just a tiny part of butter, but you can amp them up by adding a whole bunch of skimmed milk powder when you make brown butter. Way more brown butter flavour to go around.
These flavour bomb crumbs will last in the fridge basically forever. You can sprinkle them onto pasta with toasted breadcrumbs and parsley, fold into ice cream with some toasted pecans, stir them into cake batter they make just about everything better.
brown butter crumbs:
- 1 pound butter
- ½ cup dried skim milk powder
In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Stir in the milk powder, whisking thoroughly to break up any clumps.
Cook, stirring constantly, until the solids at the bottom of the butter turn toasty brown. This will take 5-10 minutes, be patient and don’t stop stirring. Brown butter can turn from a rich hazelnut to a smoking scorched mess very quickly.
When the butter is nut-brown, remove from heat and strain the solids through a fine mesh sieve. Chill the butter in a airtight container, and the solids in a jar. Once cooled, break up the crumbs with a fork into little crumbs. If you want very fine crumbs, blitz them for a couple pulses in a food processor.
Stay tuned for a couple more ways to use these delightful little flavour bombs, coming soon.