Hello my friends!
It’s Sunday and I hope you’re ready for some Spring sunshine and frothy cappuccinos. Maybe treat yourself to a donut. Treat a friend to a donut. Do things that make you smile.
I’ve been missing my California home these days. Something about California air just feels familiar and settling to me. You can take the girl outta California… but you can’t take California outta the girl (no matter how many times I try to say y’all). Above photo by Jon Melendez (who just made a Jambalaya Pizza!!).
Enjoy this beautiful day.
Here’s the easy of the Internet this week:
• We need to keep talking about this California drought business: are almonds and other nuts really drought villains?
• An art director on Why She Wears The Same Thing To Work Everyday. In my world it’s more like, Why I Wear The Same Dress For A Week Straight: laze and convenience and security.
• 5 Things You Should Know About Hillary Clinton. Bonus thing: she’s a boss.
• From the series “Why I Teach”: Why I Teach My Students To Be Brave.
• Positive Thinking Doesn’t Work, Here’s What Does. I mean… with a title like this you haaave to click, right? Spoiler alert: write a list and make a plan.
• “There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy and the tired.” 50 of the most beautiful lines in The Great Gatsby.
• Women Answer Questions Men Are Too Afraid To Ask. On bras and why it takes us so long to get ready… straight face emoji.
• It’s Spring and I feel like now is the time to put root vegetables in our desserts. Don’t worry… it’s cool. It’s going to be good. I promise! Chocolate Beet Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting and Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting.
• Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms with Crispy Goat Cheese. I’d eat my fill.
• What if your name was Beyonce… but you weren’t Beyonce. Are You Beyonce, Beyonce, or Just Regular Beyonce? It’s complicated.
Have a most lovely Sunday!
Hey friends! I’ve been here, there, and everywhere lately eating dang near every single thing I can get my hand on from New Orleans, north to Philadelphia. This week I’ve been in Philadelphia where I’ve found GOOD everywhere I’ve gone: good people, good coffee, seriously good bagels, good donuts, and what might be one of my favorite places in the country: The Reading Terminal Market.
The Reading Terminal Market is Philadelphia’s indoor public market, packed to the gills with fresh produce, local meats and fish, Amish baked goods, quality coffee, cannolis like whoa, and the best roast pork sandwich is all the land. I love the Reading Terminal Market because the quality and range of food is bonkers… I can nerd out about food around every corner of this market… but the people that fill the stalls, aisles, and countertops are free of food-person pretensions (eye roll) and just there because they know what’s good. It’s the most wonderful place.
Here’s a look inside:
Every countertop has people gathered. Dutch Eating Place for lunch ooorrr the best Roast Pork Sandwich with broccoli rabe and peppers from DiNic’s Roast Pork and Beef. Seriously with that sandwich… outta control.
Fresh fried donuts at Beiler’s Donuts and Salads. To the right of those donuts is a giant hot oil bath for the dough. This is my kind of beauty.
So many Amish donuts to choose from. The Apple Fritter! Don’t go without it.
Every juice you could ever imagine from Lancaster County Dairy.
What are we going to do with all this fish?
Every single cut and chop and link at L Halteman Family Country Foods.
Roasting coffee at Old City Coffee. I dream of having a coffee roaster like this in my basement. Also, I dream of having a basement.
They take their grilled cheese and olives very seriously at Valley Shepard Creamery and Meltkraft Grilled Cheese.
The bread at Metropolitan Bakery is gorgeous, and they also know a thing or two about homemade fig bars and canneles!
As a west coast girl, I can safely say that I don’t know enough about cannolis. Thank you Termini Brothers Bakery for the education. I’ll never be the same.
Roast pork. Cannolis. Loaves of bread. Fresh fried donuts. Coffee. Ice cream and candy and juice and meat and fish and every-dang-thing. What’s really nice is the gathering. The way people sit and chat and hold their babies and take a moment to eat and be while the world bustles around them. The Reading Terminal Market is special.
I hope your day is great!
These cookies are asking for your attention. Not so much begging or pleading, but asking nicely for you to pay attention.
They’re here to tell you that they’re a little to big, a little too sweet, have a little too much bacon, and yea… too much chocolate, too. They’re crisp and they don’t care about your affection for chewy. They’re gluten-free, but really… they never needed gluten in the first place. They’re the boss. They know it. Don’t play.
Get on the bandwagon before these cookies raise their voice. Nobody wants that.
See also: Peanut Butter Bacon Pancakes. Sorry. Also, not sorry.
These cookies are so easy you’re going to feel like you’re cheating… like you’re getting way with something… like you’re part human and part bacon-cooking genius. (Because bacon-cooking geniuses aren’t human. We all know that.)
Peanut butter plus two sugars: granulated and brown. A one to one ratio. Once cup peanut butter and one cup sugar.
We’re off to a good start.
An egg too.
Maybe a dash of vanilla extract if you’re feeling extra fancy.
And we can’t forget the baking soda.
But that’s it!
There’s no flour in these cookies. They’re the ultimate in gluten-free because there never was any gluten to begin with!
The cookies stick together with the magic of peanut butter and egg. It’s a baking science that we should just acknowledge, accept, and appreciate.
The cookie batter will be rather thick, a bit greasy (don’t be scared), and maybe a bit grainy, too (still don’t be scared).
Add chopped bacon and chocolate: generous and aggressive.
Rolled into large balls making sure to get lots of bacon and chocolate in each cookie.
Rolled in sugar. That’s just the way of the peanut butter cookie.
Big, stacked, sweet, salty, peanut butter-y GOOD!
If you’re still reading this please stop. Stop right now and go make these. They will win you friends, lovers, allies, and admirers. These are true words.
- 1 cup chunky or smooth peanut butter
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- about 6 slices of bacon, cooked, cooled and coarsely chopped
- 1 large handful dark chocolate pieces
- granulated sugar for coating cookies.
- To cook the bacon, place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and lay uncooked bacon on top of the foil in a single layer. Bake for 12-15 minutes until cooked through, browned, and crisp. Remove from the oven and place on a plate to cool before chopping for the cookies.
- Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine peanut butter and sugars until well combined. Add egg and baking soda and mix until well combined. Fold in cooked bacon and chocolate pieces.
- Roll into large walnut sized balls and if you’d like, roll the dough balls in granulated sugar before placing on the cookie sheet and creating a cris-cross pattern with a fork.
- Bake for 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool on a baking sheet for five minutes, then transfer to… your mouth.
Happy Easter! Happy Spring!
How are you feeling this week? Standing with both feet on the ground? Wearing a good scarf? Beating back allergies? drinking too much coffee? Me too. All of the same.
Last week I was in Nashville. This week I’m eating and coffee-ing my way through Philadelphia. I’ve run away from home. That’s the long and short of it.
(picture above from HubBub Coffee.)
What happened in the world and on the Internet this week? These things, I think:
• Amazon’s new Dash Button. Household items, reordered at the touch of a button. But doesn’t this take away from standing in line at the grocery store on a Friday night buying a bottle of wine, tampons, cat liter, and a box of mac and cheese? I feel like there’s real glory in that. Now… either I’m getting old or I’m just in a constant state of “who are we and what have we become”. The Horror of Amazon’s New Dash Button.
• “As we increasingly outsource our memories to devices, we may be forgetting the pleasures of imperfect recall.” Remembrance of Things Lost.
• Completely heartbreaking and totally inspiring: Teenagers Facing Early Death, On Their Terms.
• Almonds are drinking all of California’s water. 10% of California’s Water Goes To Almond Farming
• Should Grown Men Use Emoji? (straight face emoji)
• Weekend read about Mad Men as we enter the final season: The Shock of the Pretty.
• Billy on the Street with David Letterman. Thank you!
Have a lovely day, my friends! Catchya tomorrow!
Can you even remember who you were before you knew that we could turn donuts into croissants and croissants into donuts? I can’t remember either. None of that time must have been important. It’s like life before Instagram… can we even call that life?
What if we add cheese to croissant donuts? What kind of maniacs would we be? Like mad scientists with cheese on our lips and honey mustard in our hair.
Well… here’s how!
Golden brown. Melty cheddar. Not a care in the world… well, fewer cares at least.
We need to talk about puff pastry because not all puff pastry is created equal.
This recipe works best with square-shaped, definitely all-butter, thawed puff pastry. I love Dufour which is a little pricey, but totally worth the dollars. It’s made with butter, not weirdo fats. I like butter. I’m an enthusiast.
Tri-folded square-shaped puff pastry is also handy in terms of how we’re going to fold cheese into this business.
Two pieces of puff pastry are thawed to a cold room temperature then carefully unfolded and slightly rolled out on a lightly floured work surface.
Sliced cheese (I used colby jack, but sharp cheddar would also be great) is placed onto the puff pastry. You can also grate the cheese if you don’t want to slice it. Just get some cheese on there. It’s not rocket science (I mean… right?).
Good idea: Spread a bit of whole grain mustard on top of the cheddar and puff pastry. Added flavor and great glue as you place the other piece of puff pastry on top of the cheese layer.
The two layers of puff pastry with cheddar and mustard sandwiches in between… the whole thing is folded into thirds.
The puff pastry should be relatively cold. Not firm, just a bit of a chill. It will make rolling the filled dough easier. If your puff pastry (or kitchen) is too warm, just pop the dough in the refrigerator for a few minutes.
Roll the filled puff pastry to about 1/3-inch thickness.
Just roll gently. Try not to tear where the cheddar and puff tasty come together.
Two biscuit cutters: one big, one small. That’s what makes a donut.
Cut circles into the cheddar filled dough. These little jammers are hitting the fryer!
Never underestimate the power of a donut hole, especially if it’s filled with cheddar. In fact, you’ll want to slice more little donut holes from the excess donut.
Fry as much as you can, really.
Now… hot oil frying isn’t as scary and daunting as you might think.
I used a large heavy-bottom pot with about 2-inches of canola oil. A fry thermometer is essential. It’s really important to know how hot your oil is as you’re cooking so you know that your donuts cook and brown without absorbing too much oil.
As the donuts cook, you’ll find that some of the cheese cooks out of the donut. Don’t worry. There will still be plenty of melty goodness in the donuts when the come out of the oil.
Fry. Flip once or twice. Get golden. Remove. Drain on paper towel. Bring the oil back up to temperature. Fry another batch.
That’s how this goes.
Warm croissant donuts are lightly glazed with a mixture of whole grain mustard and honey. If you have chives on hand, chop those up and sprinkle your donuts! That’s the best idea.
Enjoy warm or at room temperature the day they’re made. They’re delicious. Call somebody… you can’t be the only one all up in this goodness!
- 2 sheets square shaped, all butter puff pastry (I like Dufour)
- all-purpose flour for dusting the counter
- 9 small slices cheddar cheese
- 3 tablespoons whole grain mustard, divided
- 1 tablespoon honey
- fresh cracked black pepper
- chives for topping (optional)
- canola oil for frying
- Allow the puff pastry to come to a cool room temperature. Puff pastry can defrost in the refrigerator overnight or come to room temperature on the kitchen counter in about 30 minutes.
- Separate and unfold the puff pastry. Be careful not to tear the puff pastry as you unfold it.
- Place on a lightly floured work surface and gently roll with a rolling pin to extend the dough on all sides to about a 1/8-inch thickness. Roll the second puff pastry in the same way and set aside.
- Place slices on cheese on one piece of the rolled puff pastry. No need to cover the entire surface with cheese, just spread it across the rolled puff pastry.
- Spread the cheese topped puff pastry with just about 1 tablespoon of mustard.
- Add the second rolled sheet of puff pastry evenly on top of the cheese and mustard. Lightly press.
- Fold the right third of dough across the center, and the left third of dough across the center.
- The dough should still have a faint chill to it which will make it easier to roll. If the dough is too warm, place it in the fridge for about 30 minutes before rolling.
- Roll dough out to a 1/3-inch thickness. Roll gently, being sure not to tear through the puff pastry and expose the cheese.
- Use two round biscuit cutters to cut the circles. The large round should be about 3-inches in diameter and the smaller round should be about 1-inch in diameter. Cut large circles of dough out and cut smaller circles out of the large circles. We’re going to fry all of it!
- In a large, heavy-bottom saucepan with a candy/fry thermometer attached to the side, heat oil to 350 degrees F.
- Fry the donuts and holes in small batches, flipping one or twice, until the donuts are golden brown on all sides.
- Remove from the fryer and allow to rest on a sheet of paper towels.
- Continue to fry until all of the donuts and holes are golden.
- In a small bowl combine 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard, honey, and pepper. Stir and lightly brush onto the warm donuts. Sprinkle with chives, if using. Enjoy immediately!
The trees are starting to flower. Strawberries are starting to fill the shelves at the grocery store. Easter candy is taunting me at every turn. The combination of cut grass and sunshine feels extra special. It’s Spring, y’all!
(Still experimenting with the word y’all. Hold on tight.)
Now, it’s not that I need any more cookbooks on my kitchen shelves. It’s just that I can’t help myself. These cookbooks feel like works of art to me and everyone needs some kitchen inspiration.
Here’s what I’m loving, besides Pistachio Crusted Asparagus with feta and parsley… just sayin’.
• Date Night In This thoughtful cookbook from Ashley Rodriguez of Not Without Salt is exactly the right book to reach for when it’s time to open a bottle of wine, hop in the kitchen, and chat-cook… a technical term for getting all up in the kitchen and connecting. Wonderful for both romance and friendship.
• Seven Spoons from Tara O’Brady is just gorgeous! The recipes are unique, but not too outside of the box to not feel comforting. I have the Braised Beef Short Ribs on my shortlist.
• Food 52’s Genius Recipes is a staple in my kitchen. This book understands my needs for the perfect pasta sauce on a Wednesday night when all I want to do is eat popchips and pink wine. This book inspires dinner everyday.
• I’m very protective of my good bowls. I have three of them. They’re almost as wide as a place, with a shallow but helpful lip. Perfect for when you want to eat aggressive amounts of pasta, or an embarrassing amount of beans and rice. These bowls + The Sprouted Kitchen Bowl and Spoon. I’m all set.
• I was in Charleston, SC last week and wandered into biscuit heaven: Callie’s Hot Little Biscuits. So buttery. So fluffy. So substantial. It was pretty perfect. So… Callie’s Biscuits and Southern Traditions
• We can never go wrong with a good cookie. Cookie Love from Mindy Segal. Elevated, fool-proof and extra delicious cookies. Don’t forget the salt.
• Aimee Wimbush- Bourque of Simple Bites has written a lovely book about food, homesteading, and family. It’s enough to just abut convince me to plant a tomato tree. I have a black thumb… are they even called tomato trees? Brown Eggs and Jam Jars
• The amazing and brilliant Christina Tosi and her sweet sweet life. Milk Bar Life: Recipes and Stories
• Sasha Martin cooked a meal and fed her family from every country in the world over the course of 195 weeks. It’s the story of food and forgiveness and it’s really beautiful: Life From Scratch
• It turns out that photographers and indie rock stars can make some pretty beautiful and inspiring cookbooks! I have this book pre-ordered and would like to invite you to dinner. K? Twenty Dinners
• Also on my pre-order list is The Dirty Apron Cookbook. Simple dinners, confidence building technique, and plenty of flavor inspiration.
Oh, also… here are some of my favorite cookbooks from last summer. And… now I want ceviche and donuts, separately but in abundance.
We’re well into this Sunday and it feels all the way like Spring. I hope your brunch table runneth over.
I’ve been in Nashville this week eating everything I can get my hands on and wearing cowboy boots like I know what I’m doing. I don’t… I barely know what I’m doing, but the boots help with the confidence.
This week has been a lot, hasn’t it? Here is what’s what.
• Germanwings flight 9525. “When one person is responsible for 150 lives, it is more than just suicide.” From Slate.
• We work from home, hang out with out cats, take pictures of our home coffee, watch HBO Go while we blog and email and order gluten-free crackers on Amazon. Is it true? Are we The Shut-In Economy?
• Let’s go ahead and opt out of everything. Opting out of group texts and reply-all emails being the most important of all.
• Mariel Hemingway on Woody Allen. It’s important.
• Feminist Ben and Jerry’s flavors. Because.
• Tim Cook on running Apple. Also, he plans to give away all his wealth after he pays for his nephews college education.
• Meerkat app and Periscope. What in the world is going on? No, seriously. Are we going to be ok?
• Remember when your parents had “The Talk” with you? Ugh. From NYMag: Let’s Talk Frankly About Sex.
• Just in case you need to see everything Don Draper wore on Mad Men.
Have the most lovely day! Don’t let the Sunday night stresses get atcha. Wine and pudding help. Wine and chocolate pudding.
I was looking for rainbow carrots. I was thinking we’d roast some carrots… you know, sit around a plate of carrots and just chat.
And then, nope.
Turns out strawberries are in season! Now. Already. It’s time!
Maybe still a little too soon for the white jeans and the flip flops (shut up California and Florida), but strawberries are here and we have major reason to celebrate (with dumplings).
Come with it!
Strawberries have yet to reach their peek in sweetness and extreme loveliness. When in doubt: ROAST! And there better be butter and a little bit of sugar.
Let’s make it easy for these dumplings: self-rising flour.
Yea… just get into it!
I love this self-rising flour from King Arthur Flour because the flour is so light and fluffy, it creates the most fluffy dumplings.
A dumpling is nothing if it’s not fluffy, and you know that’s true.
If you want to know waaaaay more about flour: check it.
If you want to make your own self-rising flour at home: check this.
Lots of buttermilk in these little dumplings.
I also used a dark Muscovado Sugar which is dark and extra lovely. If you don’t have Muscovado on hand, light brown sugar will also be great! Depth.
Dumplings are more wet than biscuits.
It’s just science.
You should also know that I ALWAYS want to type a ‘z’ when I type biscuits.
The strawberries are roasted in the oven for about 15 minutes while we bring together the biscuit dough. They’re roasted until just softened and bubbly, then removed for the oven for the biscuit batter to be added.
Dollops. Big ol’.
Biscuits golden and tender. Strawberries all juicy and new. It’s Spring fresh and we’re allowed to enjoy it exactly right now.
- 2-3 heaping cups halved, ripe, and hulled strawberries
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, packed
- 2 cups self-rising flour
- 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
- 1 cup cold buttermilk
- Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Place strawberries in an 8-inch oven-proof skillet and place small pats of butter on top of the berries. Top with brown sugar. Place in the oven to roast for 12-15 minutes. While the strawberries roast, prepare the biscuit dough.
- To make the biscuits, in a medium bowl whisk together flour and brown sugar. Add the cold butter and use your fingers to quickly break the butter down into the flour and sugar mixture. Some of the butter pieces will be the size of oat flakes, others will be the size of small peas.
- Create a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the cold buttermilk. Stir with a spoon. The mixture will be rather wet.
- Remove the strawberries from the oven and carefully dollop the biscuit batter over the hot strawberries. Return the skillet to the oven and bake for another 10-12 minutes, or until the biscuits are cooked through and the biscuits are golden.
- Remove from the oven, allow to cool until the strawberries are no longer bubbling, and serve warm with or without whipped cream (but definitely with…).
- Strawberry skillet cake is best served the day it is baked. Enjoy!
It’s taken me entirely too long to get to soak my red beans. A year! I’ve lived in New Orleans a year and I’ve never soaked my red beans to make a pot of Red Beans and Rice. Some nerve, really.
Red Beans and Rice is a Monday night New Orleans tradition. I thought Monday nights were reserved for red wine, salty popcorn, and M&M dinner… turns out I was totally mistaken. All the way wrong.
Red Beans and Rice is a Monday tradition because Monday was considered the “wash-day”…. laundry. Red Beans could cook on the stove, mostly unattended, all day while the laundry was done. Also, Red Beans could be made with the precious ham hock reserved from Sunday supper. In other words, everything makes sense. Ham, red beans, Monday laundry. New Orleans is doing it right and I need to get my act (and my laundry) together.
Let’s get this pot on the stove!
Classic Camellia Red Beans, dried but soaked.
Major soup flavors like onion, garlic, celery, pepper, and pancetta.
Parsley and thyme for fresh herb notes. Bay leaf for base flavors. Good chicken stock for roundness.
Lastly, smoked sausage, sliced, for that perfect layer of salty smoky pork.
Rice too! And it’s almost dinner!
Onions, peppers, and celery are added to a pot of crisp and cooking pancetta. We’re layering flavors. Pork meets classic stew vegetables. Very little can go wrong here.
It’s riiiiight about now, as the smell of cooking onions and peppers fill my kitchen that I’m like… CRAP I FORGOT TO SOAK MY BEANS!
How to Quick Soak Beans. The Kitchn saves the day. Like always.
Vegetables are really cooked down well. There are no half measures here. Red beans and rice are about almost burning everything. Almost. Taking vegetables and pork and beans to the edge of done.
That’s where all the flavor hides.
Fresh parsley, lots of minced garlic, and cooked smoked sausage are added to the well-browned vegetables. It’s already so good!
The sausage is cooked down until it’s crisped and almost gnarly. Everything gets extra done.
You’ll also note in the left corner, I’ve soaked my beans. Crisis averted.
Softened beans are added to the pancetta, vegetable, sausage, garlic goodness.
This is where some of you might yell at me for not adding a ham hock to my rice and beans. I know. What the heck is rice and beans without a dang ham hock!?!? Well… it’s still rice and beans. My version. It’s cool. Life goes on.
(I don’t know where the ham hock aisle is at the grocery store. Probably the butcher. Still tho. Still.)
Simmered until softened, fatty, smokey, spicy, and utterly irresistible. Serve with plenty of fluffy white rice, lots of fresh sliced green onions, and definitely invite at least two friends over for Monday gossip and good times.
Ps. Every single time I made rice I have to look it up: How To Cook Basmati Rice. Judge not.
- 1 pound dried red beans, rinsed and picked through for stones
- 1/3 cup diced pancetta
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 3 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 green or red bell pepper, deseeded and diced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- pinch cayenne or a few dashes of Tony Chachere Seasoning
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, roughly chopped
- 1/2 pound cooked smoked sausage cut into 1-inch pieces
- about 10 cups chicken stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 cups cooked white rice
- chopped green onions, garnish
- Place clean dried beans in a medium pot and cover with room temperature water. Allow to soak overnight before making the beans.
- If you don’t have time to soak the beans overnight, don’t fret. Place the clean dried beans in a medium pot and cover with room temperature water. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil. As soon as the beans boil, cover, remove from heat, and allow to soak for 1 hour. Carry on with the recipe.
- In a large soup pot over medium heat, cook pancetta until very well crisp, about 6 minutes.
- Add the onions, celery, and bell pepper and cook until vegetables are very well done, about 8 minutes.
- Add salt, pepper, and cayenne or Tony Chachere Seasoning and stir to combine.
- Stir in the garlic, parsley, thyme, and sliced sausage. Increase heat to medium-high and cook until the sausage is well browned, about 5 minutes. Stir frequently.
- Add the softened beans to the pot, the stock, and bay leaves. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for about 2 hours, uncovered, until the beans are well softened.
- Taste and season with more salt or pepper.
- For a slightly smoother consistency, blend about 1/3 of bean and sausage mixture in a blender or food processor and return to the pot. This way, some of the beans will be ground smooth and some will be kept whole, creating a really lovely consistency. You can also smooth out some of the beans by mashing them against the side of the pan once they’re softened, but I like the bender method best.
- Serve beans with white rice and a hearty garish of green onions.
Browning butter is one of those life skills that should be taught to everyone alongside things like: how to change a tire, how to tip at a restaurant, how to ride a bike with no hands, and how to mince garlic. Everyone should know.
It’s a good thing I’m here. I don’t know how to change a tire… but I’m here with butter.
Browned Butter is butter cooked until it has melted into a liquid, the water has cooked out, and the milk solids begin to toast and brown to a delicious and nutty state.
When incorporated into desserts like breads, donuts, and cookies, it subtly deepens the flavor from delicious to ‘ohmygod who made these cookies!?!?’. That’s the power of browned butter. Here’s how to make the magic.
Step One: Butter (cold or room temperature, preferably unsalted) meets a lightly colored, medium skillet or saucepan.
It’s important that the bottom of the pan be lightly colored so you can actually see the butter browning. In a black-bottom pan, you’re left guessing (and probably burning). A white or silver-bottomed pan is best.
Place the butter in the pan and place the pan over a stovetop set to medium heat. Gently place your arms on your hips, assume a good attitude and peaceful face, and standby.
Step Two: Allow to butter to melt. No stick of butter has ever browned without melting first.
No need to stir of swirl. Just let the business melt.
Daydream a bit. That might be nice.
Whatever you do, do not multitask. As soon as you step away from your pan, it’s scientifically proven, you’re going to burn your butter.
Step Three: Now we’re going places!
Once the butter has melted into a liquid, it will start popping and crackling. That’s the water cooking out of the butter. Once the water cooks out, the milk solids in the butter will begin to brown.
So… first popping, then browning.
Swirl the pan around if you’re feeling restless or chef-y. Don’t even think about stepping away from your butter.
Step Four: Getting there!
Once the crackling subsides, the butter will begin to brown. This means that little brown bits will start to appear on the bottom of the pan. The actual melted butter liquid won’t brown, but rather, the milk solids will begin to brown at the bottom of a pan.
Use a heat-proof spatula to stir the browning milk solids off the bottom of the pan so they brown more slowly and evenly.
Once you see the butter browning on the bottom of the pan, the rest of the process will move pretty quickly. But don’t forget you’re in charge!
To prevent the butter from browning too quickly and burning, simply remove the pan from the heat source. The heat of the pan alone will slowly brown the butter. Leaving the pan over the heat source will brown the butter much more quickly, forcing ninja-like reflexes upon you.
Once the butter solids are browned to golden, immediately remove the pan from the heat (if you haven’t already), and remove the butter from the pan. The pan is still hot, even when it’s not over direct heat, and will quickly burn the butter solids. So remove the butter from the pan! Burnt butter is not as good as Browned butter. That’s also been scientifically proven.
Just as the butter browns to golden, a trombone parade should be passing by your house, confetti should fall from your kitchen ceiling, the bathroom will magically clean itself, kittens will trot by wearing party hats, and a unicorn with a bag of hot french fries should be waiting at your front door.
If those things don’t happen, you’ve done it wrong.
Golden, nutty, fragrant browned butter is now ready for your favorite recipes! I humbly suggest The Best Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies Known To Man… but maybe I’m biased.
Happy butter browning!