This summer, we are hooked on using browned butter.  In our creamery, we are making a browned-butter pecan ice cream, and Rodeo Donut is making browned-butter salted caramel glaze to dunk fresh brioche donuts in.  This post, however, is to tell you all about our Blackberry Browned-Butter Cupcake.

Blackberry Brown Butter

Butter consists of clear, yellowish butterfat, water, and milk proteins. When browning butter, those proteins are what’s actually browning. We place our local butter in a heavy-bottomed stainless steel pot to ensure that the butter heats evenly, while the stainless steel allows us to monitor the butter’s color as it browns (as opposed to using a non-stick or dark-colored pan, where you can’t actually see the butter browning).

Butter contains a good 13 to 17% water, which has to go before the temperature of the fat can rise enough to brown the milk proteins. Once the butter reaches a temperature of 212°F, the water in the butter starts to evaporate much more quickly. As a result, the butter will start to bubble dramatically.  We swirl the pan and stir the butter constantly to make sure any and all bubbles get released. Generally speaking, bubbles mean water or moisture is being cooked out, whether making caramel, sauces, reductions, or in our case, browning butter!

After about five minutes our butter starts to foam. This is when we watch the butter like a hawk! We stir it with our spatula to prevent the milk solids from sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning.

When we start to see dark golden flecks (browned milk solids) appear in the melted butter we know the delectable smell of nutty and toasty is not too far behind. By the way, it is one of the best smells EVER!

The foam can make it hard to see if the butter is browned, so to check the color, we clear away some of the foam with a spoon or take the pan off the heat and spoon a little of the butter onto a white plate.

Once we are happy with the level of browning, we pour the butter and browned milk solids into a heatproof bowl and stir it for one or two minutes to cool it down.

OK then! Enough culinary science. Once our butter is beautifully toasty browned, we proceed with our cupcake batter.  Brown sugar, a little whole wheat flour, cake flour, local fresh eggs, sour cream, organic cane sugar, vanilla and other tasty items. Scoop, bake and cool!

After our little number is cooled, we core out the middle and add in our home-made blackberry jam, swirl it with fluffy whipped cream cheese frosting, top it with toasted buttered graham cracker crumbs and a fresh, juicy blackberry. This buttery and beautiful blackberry creation will be available in all of our cafes, beginning June 1st. You just know that you have to taste this cupcake!