1.25.2014

Brown Butter & Sea Salt Muffins


I'm a sucker for any sort of browned butter situation. If I'm out at a restaurant and I see brown butter anything on the menu, no need to continue browsing. I will have that, please. There's just something about taking an already perfect ingredient such as butter and transforming it into a totally different (yet equally perfect) entity that gets me every time. 

I think I also enjoy the languid, meditative process involved in making browned butter. So often I will whiz through my cooking lickety-split, balancing four or five different tasks at once in order to maximize efficiency. But browned butter forces you to slow down, because if you have too much going on I can promise that you will forget all about that little pot of butter melting away quietly in the background, and all of a sudden- poof! In a split second you're left with blackened, burned, ruined butter. So I take comfort in the fact that as long as you stay close by, practice a little patience and give it the occasional stir it will result in fragrant, nutty caramelized, buttery goodness every single time.


One of my favorite brown butter desserts is a tart with fresh fruit that I've made countless times, but this time I was in the mood for something of an individually sized nature. I decided to whip up a batch of muffins with brown butter, walnuts and a touch of Maldon Sea Salt- another ingredient that has me completely enamored, but I'll save my sea salt sonnet for another time. I added it to the batter of course, but also sprinkled a little on top of each muffin, and guys. Let me tell you, I went crazy for those little muffin tops! The brown butter flavor just explodes out of the top thanks to those delicate, crunchy flakes of salt.

Clearly there's already a sufficient amount of butter in these muffins so I opted to spread mine just with a simple dollop of fresh mixed berry jam. Personally I think that's all they need, but hey, if you want to add a smear of butter to your muffin, go crazy. No judgement.


Ingredients
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. Maldon sea salt, plus more for garnish
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a regular sized muffin tin with liners or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until it begins to brown. Remove from heat.
3. Combine flour, baking powder and sea salt in a bowl. Strain brown butter into a separate bowl and add sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla. Whisk to combine, then add dry ingredients and stir until combined.
4. Fold in walnuts, then divide evenly among muffin cups and garnish the tops with additional sea salt. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.  Cool slightly before serving.

2 comments:

  1. I was wondering if you meant baking powder or baking soda. Your ingredients says powder but the instructions say soda.
    Thanks for all you do
    Eileen

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    Replies
    1. Oops! It's baking powder. I've corrected it in the recipe, thanks for catching that!

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