Brunette bombshell

It’s the singer-dancer-actor Gene Kelly of the kitchen.  A triple threat.

Beurre noisette.

It literally means hazelnut butter.  But it’s actually just butter cooked until the solids turn a deep, burnished, amber brown, and emits a rich, nutty aroma.  It’s then seasoned and a squidge of is lemon added.  This simple sauce can be used on meats, veggies, and starches.

But even more adaptable is its root—browned butter.One of the favorite meals in our family is roadkill.  It’s not what you think, though.  I have never served flattened possum, or sunbaked squirrel.  Roadkill is our name for porcupine meatballs.  But because I have trouble making meat spheres, I make patties.  And years ago The Kid decided the pressed shape with bits of rice poking out resemble the result of animal versus auto.The best, nay, the only side dish allowed when we dine on road kill is steamed cauliflower tossed with plenty of slowly cooked, chestnut-colored butter.

In another quick change act, brown butter imbues baked goods with nutty depth.

You can replace the fat in desserts with brown butter.  For oil or melted butter, brown it and use once it’s cooled enough to not interfere with the chemistry of the recipe.For softened butter, just brown the butter and let it re-solidify, stirring occasionally to keep the browned solids dispersed.

To brown butter, melt it over medium-low.  Watching constantly, allow it to keep cooking until it foams and brown solids rise to the top.  Let them deepen to the color of bourbon.

The brown butter in the following recipe adds an almost umami-like nutty warmth to an already delicious confection.

Orange brownies

Cook Time: 30 minutes

2 cups buttered vanilla nuts

Ingredients:sugared nuts2 cups nut pieces of your choice

2 tablespoons butter

Pinch of salt

1 teaspoon sugar

Empty vanilla bean pod

Put all ingredients into skillet and cook on medium-low until nuts are toasted.  Let cool.

Cake ingredients:orange brownies

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup vanilla bean brown butter, cooled to softened

4 eggs

1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, reduced to 1 tablespoon of syrup

1 teaspoon grated orange zest

Innards from 1 vanilla bean

1 ½ cup prepared nuts

 Glaze:orange glaze2 cups confectioners’ sugar

¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice

2 teaspoon grated orange zest

½ cup prepared nuts

Preheat oven to 350.

Grease 13X9 pan and set aside. In mixing bowl or bowl of stand mixer, stir together flour, sugar, and salt.  Add butter, eggs, orange syrup, and orange zest and beat with electric mixer until well blended. Fold in 1 1/2 cups nuts. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 25-28 minutes, or until light golden brown and just set. Remove from oven and pierce top of entire cake with fork.


Combine all ingredients except nuts in bowl, whisking until smooth. Pour half the glaze over hot cake. Cool cake completely then pour on rest of glaze, adding a bit more orange juice if needed to loosen. Sprinkle on the rest of the nuts. When glaze sets, cut into squares. orange glazed browniesAs good as these bars are, The Kid has a real problem with them.  It has nothing to do with flavor; they are bright, moist, and sweet, but thanks to the brown butter, not too sweet.

No, they taste great.  But The Kid cannot abide the name.  In my child’s opinion, any food called brownies have to contain chocolate and they must actually be brown.

But orangies just sounds silly, dontcha think?Thanks for your time.

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