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Monday 14 March 2011

Baking for Beginners: Brown Butter Biscuits

Brown butter biscuits are not showy or over-the-top. They are meek, mild, plain little biscuits. They don't ask for much, just to be eaten humbly with a nice cup of tea. The brown butter (or beurre noisette if you're posh and/or French) gives a nice caramelly undertone and a comforting brown speckle.

Brown butter is just normal butter that's been caramelised. It's pretty easy to make, but if you go too far you might end up with beurre noir (or a burnt mess if you're not posh and/or French). So take it easy and don't rush it.

You could tart these biscuits up by adding nuts or spices, but I think they're lovely just the way they are.

Brown Butter Biscuits (makes about 15-20)

You'll need:
  • 50g sugar
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 150g plain flour
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1tsp sea salt
Make it!
  • First make the brown butter. Put the butter into a small saucepan and melt it over a low heat. Once fully melted, increase the heat. The butter will foam and sizzle loudly. Keep stirring it until it starts to turn golden brown and smells nutty, which will take around three minutes. When it's ready, the milk solids will be caramelised and golden and the sizzling sound will almost have stopped (as all the water in the butter has evaporated).
  • When the butter is ready, pour into a bowl to stop it cooking any further. Leave to cool, then put into the fridge for an hour to firm up.
  • When chilled, beat the butter until fluffy. Beat in the sugar and vanilla.
  • Sift in the flour and salt. Stir it into the mixture.
  • You could form the biscuits into balls free-form, but I like to roll the mixture into a log using clingfilm and refrigerate it, then slice off the individual biscuits very thinly. If you only want a few, you could freeze the rest of the dough and just cut off a few slices whenever the mood for a brown butter biscuit takes you.
  • When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 180c / gas 4.
  • Bake on a baking try lined with parchment for around 15 minutes, or until the edges start to turn golden. They will firm up once they cool.


  1. Now this sounds like a tasty biscuit, I must give it a go.

  2. My slightly changed to allow for cupboard ingredients version of this is now baking in the oven!

    Thank you!

  3. Mmm, yum. This sounds like a good basic biscuit.

  4. I keep burning the butter! Nailed it the first time I made these though... They did taste good that time... ha!


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