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 

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 

Cooking for the Anti-Chef: 10-Minute Lentil & Beet Salad

10 minute lentil & beet salad - sarrandipity blog

The past week has not been a winner as far as healthy eating goes: There was the weekly-post-volleyball-game-bar-food meal, the Japanese-takeout-and-ice-cream-at-Ravinia meal, the we-just-did-soulcycle-and-are-too-tired-to-cook-so-lets-order-pizza meal, the family-brunch-to-celebrate-my-new-nephew-and-everyone-brings-sweets meal, and a whole lot of other sweets and snacks in between. Even for me, who has a serious sweet tooth, this was overboard. So by last night, I was feeling the need for a serious detox. I needed fresh foods, vegetables, and protein, stat. Enter: this lentil and beet salad. My mom and sister have both made it, which is a take on one of the Trader Joe’s sample dishes, tons of times. I’ve always loved it, but being that I avoid cooking 99.9% of my life, I’ve managed to also avoid making it myself. (Technically, there’s no “cooking” involved in this dish, but you understand my point, I’m sure.) When my mom says a meal is “easy,” I can’t take it at face value because she is a whiz in the kitchen and invents new recipes for fun (WHAT?). But my sister, on the other hand, is pretty much in the same cooking-is-hard-and-overwhelming-and-tedious boat as I am, so I figured if even she endorses this, I could try it, too.

And, you guys, it seriously is so easy. It took me a tad longer than 10 minutes, but only because I forgot about the chickpeas (distraction is one of the biggest downfalls of my kitchen attempts); I had to text my mom and sister and ask if you’re supposed to rinse the lentils and beets (no to the lentils, yes to the beets—in cold water, to avoid staining your hands); and I realized I didn’t include enough cucumber or cheese for my liking the first time around (when in doubt, always add more cheese). But if you can manage to avoid my cooking pitfalls, this really will only take you about 10 minutes.

10 Minute Lentil and Beet Salad - Sarrandipity Blog

Ingredients: 
Most of these, aside from the lentils package, are estimations can you can adjust based on your own personal tastes. 

  • 1 package (17.6 oz) ready-to-eat lentils
  • 3 ready-to-eat steamed and peeled beets (Note: I used 3—from Trader Joe’s 8 oz ready-to-eat package—but I’m not a huge beet fan and wanted it just as an accent. If you like or love beets, increase the amount accordingly.)
  • Crumbled feta (I used almost all of a 6 oz container, but I LOVE cheese. So, do with that information what you’d like.)
  • 1 large cucumber
  • 1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans
  • 2-3 tablespoons Farmed Here Sweet Basil Vinaigrette (or any dressing you fancy). (You can get the Sweet Basil dressing at Whole Foods and most other grocery stores.)

10 minute lentil and beet salad - Sarrandipity blog

Instructions

  • Place beets in a bowl of cold water to rinse some of the color and avoid staining your hands.
  • Chop beets and cucumber (unpeeled, but without the seeded part in the middle) into small pieces.
  • Combine lentils, beets, feta, cucumber, and beans (strained) in a bowl.
  • Mix in the dressing.
  • Eat. (The garbanzos and lentils make it a pretty hearty salad, but I paired it with sautéed brussels sprouts to make it an even more complete meal.)
  • Relish in the fact that you made something that is healthy, and looks and sounds rather mature, but really requires next to no kitchen skills.

Serves: About 4-5 people, based on my very non-scientific analysis of my leftovers

10 minute lentil and beet salad - sarrandipity blog

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Cooking for the Anti-Chef: Crockpot Quinoa Chili

Cooking for the Anti-Chef: Crock Pot Quinoa Chili

Quinoa-Chili-Title

Cooking is, without question, one of my least favorite activities. I’m not a natural in the kitchen, I’m not creative when it comes to meal concepts, and I certainly don’t enjoy the process. My mom is a fantastic chef, and can seemingly pull recipes out of thin air, make them, and the end results are always delicious. But that gene was not passed down to me. I wish it was, really. Because then, maybe dinner wouldn’t loom over me like a very dark cloud every. single. night. But it does. And I’m left perpetually hunting for non-boring meals that won’t exhaust my patience and don’t have, on average, more than say, five ingredients. I finally bought a Crock Pots last year thinking it was magic: Just toss a bunch of random ingredients in there, turn it on, and you have a meal. Unfortunately, I discovered that’s not quite how it works, but it is slightly less painful than “regular” cooking.

In an attempt to help others out there like me, I will share recipes from time-to-time that I’ve actually found manageable. This one, for a black-bean-and-chicken-sausage-and-quinoa chili, is one I adapted from the blog Queen Bee Coupons (Thank you, Pinterest), with some changes motivated either by laziness or personal taste. Enjoy!

Quinoa-Chili-Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of quinoa, rinsed
  • One 28oz can of diced (or crushed) tomatoes
  • One 14oz can of Rotel diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • Two 16oz cans of black beans, rinsed & drained
  • One 15oz can of corn, drained
  • 3 cups of chicken stock (can use vegetable broth, too–I’ve done both. Can’t even tell the difference)
  • 2-3 chicken sausages, cut into pieces (We used these instead of plain chicken, because we already had them and it seemed easier. The types of chicken sausage out there are endless–just use one you like. Or, leave the meat out altogether to make this vegetarian.)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • Can also add 2 tsp chili powder if you like spicy. I do not, so I left this out. 
  • Shredded Mexican Cheese
  • Greek Yogurt (This is in place of sour cream. Seriously, it works. We use Fage Total, 0%)

Quinoa-Chili-in-Pot

Instructions
1. Put everything but the cheese and greek yogurt in the Crock Pot.

2. Turn the Crock Pot on.

3. Cook for 6-8 hours on low or 4-7 hours on high.

4. Add shredded cheese and yogurt on top as desired. I typically pile the cheese on; my fiancé is healthier and does just a “sprinkle.” To each his own.

Do you know any other easy winter recipes? Share in the comments. Seriously, I need help.