I've been seeing a lot of recipes lately that call for browning butter. It's not a new technique by any means; the French have been doing it for a long time, and call it "beurre noisette." When you brown butter, you're essentially cooking the milk solids and the salt particles in the butter, and cooking out the water. This process gives the butter a deeper, nuttier flavor.
The waffle batter contains only a little bit of brown butter, but a little goes a long way. The deep, complex flavor is a contrast to the light, fluffy texture. They tend toward the savory side, rather than sweet, so fruit compote topping adds another layer of contrast. These waffles could also be used for savory purposes — perhaps topped with chicken and gravy.
Brown Butter Waffles
Adapted from FoodNetwork.com
Yield: 4 waffles
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 ¼ cups milk
- ⅛ ounce instant yeast*
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Kosher salt
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
- Make the brown butter: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, swirling the pan, until lightly browned, 8 to 12 minutes. Skim off any foam; set the brown butter aside.
- Make the batter: Place the flour, sugar, ½ teaspoon salt and yeast in a bowl (do not let the salt and yeast touch). Whisk together a little less than ¼ cup of the browned butter and the milk, then stir into dry ingredients. Reserve the remaining butter for greasing the waffle iron. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise overnight at room temperature.
- Preheat a waffle iron; brush with the reserved brown butter. Stir the egg and baking soda into the batter. Spoon ½ to ⅓ cup batter into the waffle iron and cook until golden. The waffles are best when eaten fresh from the iron, or else keep in a warmed oven (~250 degrees). They are delicious on their own, or topped with fruit compote.