Browned Butter Brownies


Until very recently, I always thought “browned butter” was one of those meaningless terms people threw around to make food sound more interesting than it really was. “Small batch,” “hand crafted,” “humanely raised”…nothing more than buzz words used by marketers to trick Whole Foods soccer moms into choosing one brand of kale over another.

Then I quit smoking.

When it came to my senses of smell and taste, kicking the habit was like gaining super powers. In the three or so weeks since quitting, I realized just how dulled those particular senses had been made by a 15-year pack-a-day habit. This particular recipe is a fantastic example of the difference. I had always heard people say that browning butter brings out a certain nutty quality, but hadn’t experienced it until this particular batch of brownies. I’ve made this recipe more times than I can count, but never knew how good it truly was. So, hooray for having regrown tastebuds.


  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup walnuts (optional, if you’re a terrible person)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9 x 13 pan.
  2. In a large saucepan over medium, heat melt the butter, stirring constantly until it turns a nice, rich brown (somewhere between Beyonce and Jay Z).
  3. Remove from heat and stir in sugar, eggs, vanilla until thoroughly mixed.
  4. Stir in flour, salt, and baking soda and mix completely.
  5. Carefully stir the cocoa into the mixture. Go slowly, otherwise you end up with a cloud of cocoa dust that eventually covers everything.
  6. Fold in walnuts.
  7. Evenly spread batter into prepared pan.
  8. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes. Everyone’s oven is different, so just keep an eye on it.
  9. Enjoy by yourself, with a tub of vanilla ice cream, and the entire run of Gilmore Girls on Netflix.


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4 Responses to Browned Butter Brownies

  1. ME says:

    Dear Paul (or as I will refer to you from now on, MNBFF-My New Blogger Friend Forever).

    Just read the Who’s Cooking column about you in Newsday and loved your responses so much that I decided to read your recent posts. After I read a few out loud to my husband, especially your final directions in your recipes which are often hysterical, I knew I had to binge-read your blog from the beginning. Loved. Every. Entry. So. Far. (So 2011 to punctuate that way, but I loved them). I knew you’d be my new favorite blogger until I read the above post about the ice cream and Gilmore Girls on Netflix. A friendship has commenced, and you were upgraded to the MNBFF status. Thank you for your honesty and wit. I have to keep reading now…

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