PSA: Browning Butter Is Super Easy, And Also Life-Changing

It’s so good, I almost wish I never learned.

How to Brown Butter For Any Recipe - Sarrandipity Blog

When I go to a restaurant, if there’s a menu item that incorporates “brown butter” (i.e. “brown butter butternut squash ravioli,” or something to that effect), there’s an extremely strong chance I’ll order it. I know I love the taste of brown butter-enhanced foods, but I always kind of assumed brown butter was some fancy chef secret, and that only fancy chef types could concoct something that incorporates it. Until now. Yesterday, I was browsing Pinterest, looking for something to bake (because it was a lazy Sunday, and it was cold and rainy outside, so…of course), and I came across some brown butter cookie recipes. Typically, my thought process would be, “Oh, I don’t know how to do brown butter, that sounds complicated; next!” But for some reason, my curiosity was piqued enough to look up how to make brown butter, and thanks to the kitchn, I discovered it’s ridiculously easy.

So, I made some brown butter—which, by the way, smells SO GOOD—and then used it in my go-to cookie recipe (Thank you, Neslée Toulousé) to see if I could taste a difference. Truthfully, the difference was more noticeable in the dough before I added the dry ingredients (obviously I tasted the dough at every stage of the baking process), but it definitely still upped the overall flavor factor, and now I basically want to use brown butter in every recipe I make…that includes butter. Anyway, yada yada yada, below are the very simple instructions for how to brown butter, and a picture of the cookies (and cookie bars) I made with it. They look exactly the same as cookies made with regular butter, but I needed some more imagery for this post because browning butter is that easy, so just go with me here.

How to Brown Butter - Sarrandipity

How to Brown Butter:

  • Put butter in a light-colored pan (so you can see the color change), over medium heat. Stir the butter or swirl the pan occasionally to make sure it cooks evenly.
  • As it’s cooking, the butter may or may not make a strange gurgling noise like mine did (see below Snapchat video, and btw feel free to follow me @emz713); don’t worry about that, but also don’t let it boil over the top of the pan. Keep stirring.

  • The butter will gradually start foaming, and the liquid will eventually turn brown. I didn’t notice the changing color of the liquid underneath the foamy surface, so be sure to check regularly, because it doesn’t take very long.
  • Once the butter is brown, take it off the stove and pour it into a heat-proof bowl, using a mesh strainer (or cheese cloth) to keep the solids out.

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars - Sarrandipity

Related Posts: 

Yum: Salted Caramel Chocolate (& White Chocolate) Chip Cookies
Cooking for the Anti-Chef: 10-Minute Lentil & Beet Salad
Cooking for the Anti-Chef: Crockpot Quinoa Chili 

2015 Gift Guide: White Elephant Gifts That Don’t Suck

Please, think outside the nearest drugstore.

White Elephant Gifts That Don't Suck - Sarrandipity's 2015 Gift Guide

To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of the whole “white elephant” thing—usually because the whole buying-gifts-for-unknown-recipients means that everyone receives cheap, random tchotchkes that they’ll never use (but will collect dust and add to stressful household clutter). That said, if you’re part of a group who commits to doing the blind gifting tradition right, it can work. In my opinion, that means setting a budget of at least $15—but ideally $25—and making the effort to find cool, usable gifts rather than frantically shopping the “As Seen On TV” aisle at CVS. Here, my second-annual list of suggestions (I still stand-by the first annual round-up, too) for some quality white elephant gifts you can bring to your next exchange. (Just use your judgment: If the exchange is with your officemates and half of them are dudes, probably don’t go with the jewelry dish.)
White Elephant Gifts That Don't Suck - Sarrandipity's 2015 Gift Guide

1. Telestrations
This game is AMAZING. I recently bought it and tested it out with my (sometimes difficult-to-impress) friends at our last game night, and it was a hit. I’m obsessed.

2. Wine Glass Writers
I bought these because I have stemless wine glasses and thus can’t use the typical wine charms, but I love them more than the charms anyway. The metallic colors are pretty, they’re fun and easy to use, and three pens suffice for any number of people.

3. Umbrella Ring Dish
White Elephant Gifts That Don't Suck - Umbrella Ring Dish - Sarrandipity 2015 Gift Guide
These little trinket dishes are endlessly handy for anyone who wears jewelry (PSA: it holds more than just rings).

4. Ponytail Holders (Set of 15)
A slightly prettier, snag-free alternative to those ribbon hair ties that are everywhere (and that sadly, lose their elasticity too easily for my thick hair…).

5. Silicone Popsicle Molds
I know, I know, the listing says “For Kids.” But trust me, these things are awesome. Fill them with some mashed up fresh fruit (I highly recommend watermelon), or any other food and/or drink you want to experiment with, pop ’em in the freezer, and get some tasty treats out of it.

6. BeeSpa Hand & Foot Cream
This stuff is a dream, especially for those of us who live in cold-weather climates and have to deal with dry air and dryer skin for multiple months out of the year.

7. Country or State Slate Cheese Board

White Elephant Gifts That Don't Suck - State or Country Cheese Board - Sarrandipity 2015 Gift Guide

Go state-specific if the whole group is big on local pride, or keep it general with the USA version.

8. ‘Maison Holiday’ Petite Candle Set
Voluspa candles are my absolute favorite. They smell so good; they’re pretty much impossible to resist.

9. Wood Appetizer & Dip Tray (With Glass Bowl)
Who doesn’t need a good chip-(or appetizer)-and-dip vessel? Even non-entertainers can use it to class-up their post-work snack times.

10. 90s TV Trivia Game
May as well buy one for yourself while you’re at it because, come on.

Related Posts:
2014 Gift Guide: Unique White Elephant Gifts That Don’t Suck 
Giveaway: A Stylish Soiree Gift Basket From Windy City Bloggers
Exploring Amazon Handmade: 9 Jewelry Finds to Snag Now

This post contains affiliate links. You won’t pay more by using them, but Sarrandipity may receive a (very) small commission if you click on a link and purchase something. Please check out my policies for more info. 

 

Yum: Salted Caramel Chocolate (& White Chocolate) Chip Cookies

Perfect with cold weather, candles, and loose-fitting pants.

Salted Caramel Chocolate & White Chocolate Chip Cookies - Sarrandipity Blog

Here’s the thing: I hate cooking, but I love baking. I look for excuses to bake cookies, or pumpkin bread (I’ll share my favorite pumpkin-banana bread recipe later), or brownies, or pretty much anything sweet. And I love getting seasonal with it. I have a Pinterest board titled “holiday inspo” and sometimes wish I could do nothing but try out the festive recipes on it. Anyhoo, I recently decided it was high time to make some sort of salted caramel treat (I associate salted caramel with fall and winter—anyone else?), and somehow landed on All Recipe’s Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. I incorporated white chocolate chips into mine, because I find joy in seeing what sort of random things I can add into cookies. (Mini anecdote: I lived in NYC during Hurricane Sandy, and the storm hit right after my roommates and I threw a Halloween party. In a genius, stranded-in-our-apartment-with-endless-time-on-our-hands moment, I baked cookies filled with at least seven different varieties of leftover Halloween candy. They were unbelievable, and we ate every last cookie.) Though the cookies in this blog post aren’t quite that inventive or amazing (No cookies ever will be. Those were my peak.), they’re still delicious and I highly recommend giving them a go.

Salted Caramel Chocolate & White Chocolate Chip Cookies - Sarrandipity blog

Ingredients: 

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (plus more for coating the caramels/topping the cookies)Salted Caramel Chocolate & White Chocolate Chip Cookies - Sarrandipity blog
  • 1 3/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter (I honestly rarely make a conscious salted vs. unsalted decision. Just go with your gut), softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I rarely actually measure vanilla; I love it so I’m not wary of adding too much. But if you want to be precise, 2 tsp is good.)
  • Chocolate chips (I never measure chocolate chips, or candy, for inclusion in cookies. Add a few or add a ton. You do you.)
  • White chocolate chips
  • Approximately 18 unwrapped caramel candies, cut into 6 or so small pieces

Salted Caramel Chocolate & White Chocolate Chip Cookies - Sarrandipity blog

Instructions: 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl
  • Beat brown sugar, butter, and sugar in a bowl using an electric mixer until creamy.
  • Beat in eggs, one at a time, until blended.
  • Beat in vanilla.
  • Gradually add in flour mixture, until just combined.Salted Caramel Chocolate & White Chocolate Chip Cookies - Sarrandipity blog
  • Add chocolate chips and white chocolate chips: You can either add them together, for combo cookies, or separate out half the dough and make half of the batch with chocolate chips and the other half with white chocolate.
  • Arrange dough on cookie sheet in desired cookie-size balls.
  • Roll each caramel piece in sea salt, and press 3 or so pieces into each dough ball.
  • Bake in 350-degree preheated oven until edges are golden brown, about 13 to 15 minutes.
  • If you’re going for extra-salty, sprinkle some extra sea salt on cookies immediately after removing them from the oven.
  • Transfer to wire rack to cool.
  • Try not to eat the entire batch in one sitting. (Or do. YOLO.)

Salted Caramel Chocolate & White Chocolate Chip Cookies - Sarrandipity blog

Related Posts: 
Cooking for the Anti-Chef: 10-Minute Lentil & Beet Salad
Cooking for the Anti-Chef: Crockpot Quinoa Chili