Beurre Noisette…The French You Need to Know

I don’t speak French, but I do speak French cooking.  Especially when it’s a dish or technique that adds magic to my cooking and baking.  Really, what’s more prolific or awe-inspiring than French cookery?  The truth is this, if you take some time to learn about the art of French cooking, whether it’s from the legendary Julia Child, the internet, or Larousse Gastronomique, you learn that French cooking really isn’t so fancy.  French cooking isn’t really any different from any cooking from any country.  It starts from a place of necessity, focuses on fresh, quality ingredients that are seasonally available, and demands that the cook understand how best to use a toolbox of skills to create dishes that are hearty and nourishing.  French chefs have made French food fancy.  I’m no French chef.  I’m a home cook and baker who loves good food.

With that in mind, today we learn how to make Beurre Noisette…in layman’s terms…Brown Butter.

I had to learn how to make my own brown butter because the next recipe in my Cookiepedia quest demanded it.  My problem was this:  the directions made sense to me in a logical way, but my brain couldn’t put the images together in a way that really made me feel comfortable with the technique.  Instead of being cavalier and jumping right in, I paused and searched the internet for a tutorial that included pictures.  Luckily, I found many and was back on track in no time.  So, to make your own brown butter, here’s what you need…

  • a stick of unsalted butter — The amount will vary depending on your recipe.  I actually needed 2 sticks for my blondies, but if I were using the brown butter for a sauce for veggies, I’d only use 1/2 stick for each pound of veggies.
  • a pan (sauce or saute) with a light-colored bottom

So, to begin, your butter goes in your pan over medium heat.

If you cut the butter, it will melt more quickly and won’t burn before all of the butter is melted.  As the butter melts, swirl the pan OR use a spoonula or wooden/cooking spoon to swirl the butter if you’re not comfortable swirling the pan.  This prevents the butter from burning.

Next, the butter will start to foam.  Continue to swirl or stir.  It’s supposed to do this.  As the butter heats, the butterfat and the milk solids are separating.  The solids will sink to the bottom of the pan and begin to brown.

The foam will begin to subside and you’ll begin to notice that the color has progressed from light yellow, to golden, and should only be allowed to progress to a light brown (hazelnut) color.

Once the butter has browned and started to smell nutty, pull the pan from the stove and pour the butter in a dish to cool slightly (if you’re using it in baking).  If you’ll be using your beurre noisette for another dish — like veggies or pasta — you should still pour the butter out of the hot pan so that the butter does not cook any longer.  If you burn it, you have to start all over again…err on the side of caution and pull it off the stove as soon as you get that nutty smell or you notice the light brown color coming through.

Once you’ve reached this stage, you’ve created your very own beurre noisette.  So…what now?

Well, this delicious creation can be used in SO many ways.  You can use it in baked goods, you can toss veggies in it (season with salt, pepper, and even herbs if you wish),it can be used to create a sauce for fish,  you can toss pasta or gnocchi with the beurre noisette and sage, and I even found a recipe for sweet potato gnocchi with brown butter and pecans.  It seems as though there are nearly endless possibilities for the use of brown butter.  When you know how to make it, you open the door to a plethora of new food options.

But, like I said, I used my beurre noisette in blondies.

These are silky and sweet, and a sprinkling of sea salt after baking adds the perfect touch of salt to make what could be the world’s most perfect dessert bite.  The original recipe in the Cookiepedia calls for chocolate chips and pecans.  I didn’t have either of those, but I did have caramel bits.  The caramel bits worked perfectly with the butter and brown sugar in these blondies and I may never go back to the original recipe again.  These are decadent and delicious, and although I am a fan of the big cookie and the big brownie, you do not need a big blondie.  It would be too much.  You’d cut these like you’d cut pieces of fudge.  A small piece, two or three bites at most, is more than enough to leave you satisfied!

Because the blondie recipe isn’t my own, I won’t post it here, but you can definitely contact me and I’ll share it with you! I would, of course, recommend that if you buy no other baking book, you check out this one.  The techniques are easy and the results are amazing.  It’s a great book to use to teach yourself how to bake if you’re new to the world of baking.

Stay tuned for the first Pink Peppermint give away…I will be giving away a copy of this book in the VERY near future!

If you’re intrigued by brown butter, hop on your favorite search engine and look for ways to use it.  I will be trying it with steamed broccoli next!  I’ll just add a little salt and pepper to the brown butter and toss with the steamed broccoli…how can that not be amazing?!

If you experiment with your own beurre noisette OR if you’d like the blondie recipe, let me know!

Happy cooking and baking!

 

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One thought on “Beurre Noisette…The French You Need to Know

  1. The blondies were delish. The sea salt and caramel made for a very unique flavor. You do some great things in the kitchen lady!

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