Nancy Silverton's Trick To Elevate The Flavor Of Butter In Baked Goods - Exclusive

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Renowned baker, cookbook author, and restaurateur Nancy Silverton's new book, "The Cookie That Changed My Life," is all about mastering traditional American baked goods. These aren't fancy pastries — the book is a deep dive into comforting classics like pies, cakes, biscuits, and yes, cookies. Of course, many of these recipes rely heavily on butter, and Silverton has a special technique for intensifying butter's flavor before using it in baked goods: cooking it in a pan until it's golden but not brown.

Brown butter is a well-known trick for adding a savory, caramelized taste to recipes like chocolate chip cookies. However, it can be a little too assertive for dishes with more delicate flavor profiles. As Silverton explained in an exclusive interview with Tasting Table, to make "golden butter," you follow the same steps as for making brown butter, but simply don't cook the butter for quite as long. Silverton told us, "I really do like the flavor of brown butter, both in cooking and in baking. But sometimes the color of that brown butter or the strong flavor of that nuttiness is too much." She finds golden butter to be the perfect compromise, as it's more flavorful than butter that hasn't been cooked but not as overwhelming as brown butter.

Choosing the right butter for your recipes

In addition to deciding whether to use raw, golden, or brown butter in your baking, it's also important to consider what type of butter you're starting out with. For baking, the two main choices are American-style and European-style butter. Nancy Silverton explained that "there's usually a little bit higher butterfat in the European-style butter — also a [more] buttery or better flavor."

For that reason, when she's making a recipe that really highlights the flavor of butter, she'll choose European-style butter. "In a shortbread cookie where it's a real butter cookie, that's when you want, if you have the option, to choose a higher quality butter," she said. Conversely, in recipes where butter is simply a source of fat and other ingredients are bringing the flavor, it makes sense to use cheaper American-style butter, because its relative blandness won't be as noticeable in the final product.

"The Cookie That Changed My Life" is available in bookstores and from Amazon now.