Brown butter (beurre noisette) is my favourite kind of butter. It's not just because it's butter, or because it tastes amazing. I love it because of the aromas that come from the pan right when the butter begins to brown. That nutty scent is, in my opinion, the best scent that you can create in the kitchen. It's intoxicating and I'm absolutely addicted.
Browning butter is easy: you stick your butter in a saucepan and heat it on medium until the butter is fully melted and the milk solids turn golden brown delicious. I think this is one case when "the nose knows" because usually my nose can tell the butter is browned before my eyes have caught up with what's going on at the bottom of the saucepan. Every butter browning session is a moment of zen, standing over the saucepan, swirling every so often, listening to the sizzle, taking in the scent of butter.
Sometimes when you bake with brown butter, or use it in a whiskey sauce like this one, it can seem like the nutty flavour of the brown butter gets lost among the sweet and the boozy notes, but it's there. And, to be honest, when I bake with brown butter, it's not just for the flavour in the final product, it's selfishly more for the moments spent at the stove browning the butter and taking in all those buttery scents. The scent of brown butter is a reason to bake with it and definitely worth the extra step.
I used brown butter to make this whiskey sauce. It's a quick brown sugar sauce based on the recipe in the marmalade puddings post. I made this whiskey sauce slightly thicker by adding less water to the recipe, and also I flavoured it with some booze because, as I pointed out earlier, I knew this sauce would taste great with a little booze, and would be perfect served over baked granny smith apples.
Side note: I didn't core the apples, and instead I just cut them in half. For a more "sophisticated" dessert, you might want to core/remove the seeds.
Baked apples with a brown butter whiskey saucePublished: February 3rd, 2014, Cook time: 40 minutes
Ingredients for baked apples
- 4 granny smith apples, sliced in half
- 8 tsp dark brown sugar
- 8 knobs of Stirling Churn 84 unsalted butter
- 6 tbsp (87 grams) Stirling Churn 84 unsalted butter
- 215 grams (1 cup tightly packed) dark brown sugar
- 2 tbsp clear corn syrup (optional, but best to use to avoid the sauce crystallizing as it cools)
- 1/4 cup (63 mL) water
- 2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
- 2 tbsp whiskey (I used Jack Daniel's)
- Optional for serving whipped cream, mascarpone, or vanilla ice cream
- First, bake the apples. Preheat the oven to 350˚F and line a rimmed baking pan with parchment. Trim a thin slice off the rounded side of each apple half so that they can sit straight/flat in the pan. Top each half with a knob of butter and a teaspoon of brown sugar. Roast the apples for about 40 minutes or until they are tender.
- Meanwhile, prepare the brown butter whiskey sauce. First, brown the butter in a saucepan on medium heat until you can smell the nuttiness and the milk solids turn to a deep golden brown. Remove the saucepan from the heat, then stir in the cup of dark brown sugar, the corn syrup, and the water (carefully because the pan is hot!). Whisk the mixture over medium heat and bring it just to a boil, making sure that all the sugar is dissolved.
- Pour half the hot sugar mixture over the yolks and whisk to temper the eggs, then add them to the saucepan. Bring the sauce to a boil and boil for 1 minute on medium heat, whisking constantly.
- Strain the sauce into a heatproof container then stir in the whiskey.
- When the apples are done baking, serve each half drizzled generously with brown butter whiskey sauce and with a dollop of whipped cream, ice cream, or mascarpone, if you so choose.