Sunday, April 10, 2011

Brown Butter Brownies

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'Brown Butter Brownie Batter' - try saying that ten times really fast... :)

I know I have mentioned that I am not a chocolate cake fan, but brownies are different. They are closer to fudge (if made the way I like it) and I love fudge!

To add to my long list of likes and dislikes - I LOVE the smell and taste of brown butter. It is great with fish. It is awesome with gnocchi. I have been reading and hearing about these brown butter brownies for a little while now and it got me curious.

I rarely go with the first recipe that comes up from my Google search, but this time I did. :) I found this recipe on the Bon Appetit website and made a few changes here and there. One major change was the addition of a peanut butter swirl. I mean, what is a brownie without peanut butter, anyways?

Does everyone make stuff that's bad for you and eat it on the sly, while making sure your little one is having a healthy snack? I did that today. And yesterday. And last week. It is fast becoming a habit! While I snacked on these brownies crouching at the dining table, my little one was on the couch, making patterns with the apple slices made on her plate. I felt so guilty. But that feeling passed quite quickly. One bite was all it took! :)

I hear brownies are good with a glass of milk and so I used the milk as a prop in my pictures. But I detest milk. Of course, my daughter drinks milk because it's good for her. Another double standard :) but with the best of intentions!

Brown Butter Brownies w/ Peanut Butter Swirl

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces  
1 1/4 cups sugar  
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder  
1 teaspoon vanilla extract  
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp water 
2 large eggs, chilled
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 cup chopped, toasted walnuts
2 tbsp creamy peanut butter 

  • Put the butter pieces into a large cold saucepan. On a low heat, melt the butter, stirring it often. The butter will froth a lot. After a little while, the frothing will stop and the butter will start turning darker with brown bits floating about. Once the butter reaches this point, take it off the heat. You should be able to smell the nutty aroma of the brown butter.
  • Into the hot butter, add the sugar, sifted cocoa powder, vanilla extract, salt and water. Stir well until completely blended and smooth. Let his cool for 5 minutes.
  • Add the eggs one at a time into the mixture. The mixture will still be hot, so beat well while adding the eggs.
  • After both eggs are added, beat well for 3-5 minutes until the batter is smooth, glossy and thick.
  • At this point, add the flour and stir well to blend.
  • Beat the batter for a further 2-3 minutes. 
  • Stir in the chopped walnuts.
  • Grease and flour a square baking tray. Bon Appetit suggested lining the tray with foil. I didn't do this, but you could. Pour the batter in and spread it evenly. Smooth the top.
  • With a small teaspoon, drop the peanut butter in several places on the surface of the batter. I divided the 2 tablespoons of peanut butter into 8 small scoops. Using a toothpick, swirl the peanut butter into the batter.
  • Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, but with a few wet crumbs sticking to it.
  • Cool well in the pan. Cut out the brownies and gently lift out of the tray.
  • Serve warm with or without a scoop of good vanilla ice cream.
Which reminds me - I need to make some good Vanilla Ice Cream soon!

I was concerned about the peanut butter overpowering the subtle flavor of the brown butter, and so I used very little. I think I will use a little more the next time I make this recipe. The result was a dense, fudgy brownie with a shiny top, with a divine brown butter flavor and hints of peanut butter coming through. Heaven!

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Kristen said...

Browning the butter makes such a nice flavor change in anything. Those brownies look rich and decadent...just like good brownies should.

The Harried Cook said...

I totally agree, Kristen. Brown butter is good on so many levels :) Thank you! This recipe is a keeper, for sure :)

Clover said...


Jill@MadAboutMacarons said...

This is just too cruel to post like this. They look so deliciously fudgy and gungy! I particularly love your 3rd photo: beautiful!

Carolyn said...

I'm in love with brown butter too. And in brownies? Heck yeah!

The Harried Cook said...

@Clover - Another thing to add to the list of things I have to bake you :)
@Jill - Thank you so much! They were good, but I'd much rather be eating pastries in Paris ;)
@Carolyn - you bet! I am looking for more ways to use brown butter... It has so much flavor! :)

Mary Bergfeld said...

I imagine these are just plain wonderful. Brown butter can make even great recipes better. I'm relatively new here and I don't often comment. I just wanted you to know how much I enjoy the food and recipes you feature here. You've created a lovely spot for your readers and it is a pleasure to visit here. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Joy, The Herbed Kitchen said...

Yum! I'm kicking myself for not trying brown butter the last time I picked up butter for baking. It seems jut incredible and rich. I do the same as you, kids have apple slices and peanut butter for a snack and I'll be sneaking a chocolate. Perks of being the adult in the house.

Erin said...

Oh my golly! These sound so delicious! And yes, I do that most days... give my kids something healthy and good for them while I sneak a treat in the kitchen =o)

Mother Rimmy said...

Brown butter - lovely This would be gone in a flash in my house!

The Harried Cook said...

@Mary - Thank you so much for your sweet comment.. I am glad you enjoyed visiting my blog & I do hope you'll come back more often :) Can't wait to visit yours!
@Joy - Here's your excuse to do some more baking! And I am so glad I am not alone in sneaking those snacks!
@Erin - Thank you! I love your blog to bits and I think you are such a fab mom :)
@Mother Rimmy - Thank you! :) You really should try it!

Anonymous said...

Me want some now :) they look so good!

Rachel said...

Yum! These look SO good. I just tried and blogged about a browned butter chocolate chip cookie recipe. I never thought about browned butter in baked goods before -- genius! Also, I can relate about being a parent eating bad things on the sly. Many times I've told my two that they can't have another treat while I'll sneak an extra when they aren't looking. :)

theharriedcook said...

Thank you :) If you lived closer, I would have gladly sent you a piece :)

theharriedcook said...

I know what you mean! I must go check out your post about the browned butter cookies! they sound delicious! And I am glad I am not alone in sneaking those snacks :)

Pratiksha Kabre said...

The brownies look delicious!! I'm visiting for the first time and I love you blog already. I recently made brownies for my own -->

Please visit and let me know how I'm doing. 

Pratiksha Kabre said...

The brownies look delicious!! I'm visiting for the first time and I love you blog already. I recently made brownies for my own -->

Please visit and let me know how I'm doing.  

Amanda . said...

I just made these. They're the bestest best brownies I've ever had! The brown butter flavour is amazing. And it was really easy, especially since it was a one-pot recipe. I had hardly any dishes to do! :)Thank you! You're the best. I'm not going to any other brownie recipe after this! 

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