Baking with Butter
Browned butter adds a rich, distinctive flavor to baked goods and frostings.
- Place butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat.
- Melt butter, stirring occasionally. As the butter heats, it will foam.
- Continue heating until butter becomes a rich caramel color, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.
In most cases, butter that will be mixed with other ingredients—for example, butter to be creamed or blended with sugar—should be softened. Softened butter should never be gooey or oily, but rather still slightly cool and pliable. Butter can be softened by leaving it at room temperature, or by bashing or smearing it. To bash butter, place the sticks of butter between two sheets of waxed paper and beat the butter with the end of a rolling pin. The same results can be achieved by placing the butter on a work surface and smearing tablespoon-sized pieces across the surface with the heels of your hands. You can also soften butter in a microwave oven, but it’s a bit trickier—a second or two too long, and the butter may melt.