Swiss meringue buttercream using browned butter

I making cupcakes for a wedding this weekend and want to use browned butter frosting for its flavor, but also want to use Swiss meringue buttercream since it holds its shape so well. I've made both kinds (separately) before, but I've never combined the two: using browned butter in place of regular butter in the buttercream. Has anyone done this with success? My plan would be to bring the browned butter back to cool/more solid, then add it to the frosting as if it were regular butter. Thanks for any advice and wisdom you can offer...

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15 Comments

magpiebaker February 4, 2014
@le bec fin, when I make brown butter, I usually strain out the milk solids so it's more like a ghee, smooth and clear and a lovely aroma. probably not a texture issue. will have to try this sometime!
 
LE B. February 4, 2014
buttersugar,such a cool idea but i was wondering- the buttercream didn't come out grainy? isn't brown butter grainy?
 
butter S. February 6, 2014
Great question! I strained the hot browned butter through a sieve and left the bigger dark solids behind in the pan. Then I let the strained brown butter cool to soft/room temp. The frosting wasn't grainy.
 
Hilarybee May 24, 2013
butter, sugar, flowers--what did you end up doing? I'm super curious!
 
butter S. February 3, 2014
Sorry for my VERY slow response! I did not end up using this frosting for the wedding (I decided on more tried-and-true methods that work well in large batches). But, I am happy to say that the browned butter Swiss buttercream worked very well in a small batch, in which I measured the normal amount of butter for a Swiss meringue buttercream recipe BEFORE browning and straining the butter. I recommend it for smaller cakes/cupcake batches.
 
HalfPint May 23, 2013
I would keep, maybe, 80% of the butter and add 20% solidified browned butter. That way you would get the flavor of the browned butter without having to alter the recipe.
 
butter S. May 24, 2013
Wonderful idea -- thanks!
 
Hilarybee May 23, 2013
If the brown butter experiment fails, what about brown sugar swiss meringue? I've made it many times before. It's not the exact same flavor profile, but close.
 
butter S. May 24, 2013
That's a great idea! Thanks so much.
 
boulangere May 22, 2013
A small batch predicated on 4 ounces of egg whites, 8 ounces of sugar and 8 ounces of brown butter should give you an idea of whether it will work or not.
 
boulangere May 22, 2013
Sorry.....and 2 ounces of shortening
 
butter S. May 24, 2013
Great idea -- and thanks so much for doing the calculation for me!
 

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boulangere May 22, 2013
I honestly have my doubts about it working, since in order to brown the butter, you must first melt it, which breaks the emulsion (butter is 80% fat, 18% water, and 2% milk solids). I'd suggest making a small batch as a test before jumping into the deep end of the pool. Sounds interesting, and I'd love to know if it works.
 
sdebrango May 22, 2013
I was hoping you would weigh in, I had never tried that but what you say makes perfect sense.
 
sdebrango May 22, 2013
I have never used brown butter in a swiss meringue but I don't see why not, when making this buttercream or at least the recipe i use the butter is solid but soft, room temperature so I would refrigerate so that it's a solid then let it come to room temperature. I think that some of the water probably cooked off in the browning but that shouldn't matter at all when making a buttercream. I think your instincts are exactly right.
 
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