Saturday, February 18, 2017

Brown Butter: The Flavour Taking Over American Chocolate

Brown butter chocolate bars seem to be popping up all over the place in the American craft chocolate industry lately. And I just want to say, after having tasted a few of them, I am all for this trend.

If you work with chocolate, you'll know that you can add a little oil or fat (such as coconut oil or olive oil) and temper it into chocolate to give the chocolate a softer, more melt-in-your-mouth texture. This technique can be used for chocolate chunks in ice cream, so they still melt in your mouth when frozen. With more oil added, you can get the texture of a meltaway truffle - basically the texture a Lindor Truffle centre. The oil also has a fairly long shelf life, which is why it is used instead of cream or fresh butter for store bought truffles.

Butteroil is the same. It has a long shelf life, and can therefore be incorporated into solid chocolate bars. And this is the ingredient used by some chocolate makers who are creating these delicious 'brown butter' bars. Pure butter would have too much cream in it and risk the shelf life (putting it at a month or so).  Another option is 'butter powder', which can be incorporated into chocolate, much like milk powder is to make a milk chocolate bar, which would make it less melty in texture, but still include the taste of real butter.

In the case of the chocolate bar that I tasted recently made by XOCOLATL de David, this 72% Cacao Ecuador origin chocolate bar was soft, and melty, and salty, and delicious. The XOCOLATL website tells us that the butter is cooked to remove the remaining liquids (cream) and also to "caramelize the remaining milk solids". This essentially leaves a butteroil that has a longer shelf life and can be incorporated into chocolate. It contributes the delectable melt-in-your-mouth feature of this chocolate bar, making it pretty much irresistible.

If you want to try other Brown Butter bars, check out Fruition Chocolate's 43% Brown Butter milk chocolate bar. This is the only milk chocolate bar that I have found in the 'brown butter' category. And given how long it has been since I tasted it, I suspect Fruition was the first to launch a brown butter chocolate bar.

Award-winning and California-based Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate just released a new 73% Brown Butter chocolate bar with nibs and sea salt. This bar is so new, in fact, it will start shipping on Monday! You can't go wrong with a Dick Taylor chocolate bar, so I am sure it will be fantastic.

And for those who want something in an affordable price range, while also being organic and fair trade, try the salt-ily delicious Alter Eco 70% Brown Butter chocolate bar. It has a melt-in-your-mouth texture that makes it sinfully delicious, and takes 70% dark chocolate to a new level.

Brown Butter Truffles Recipe

For a delicious sweet and savoury treat, try these Brown Butter dark chocolate truffles!

You need:
-8 oz semi-sweet chocolate (about 50% to 60% dark chocolate), chopped into 1/2" squares
-1/2 cup butter
-1/3 cup whipping cream
-cocoa powder for dusting (or melted, tempered chocolate for dipping)


  1. Place the chopped chocolate into a heatproof bowl and set aside.
  2. Place your butter in a small saucepan on the stovetop over medium heat.  Cook, stirring often until it boils and browns. Just when the butter begins to brown, remove from heat.
  3. Add the cream to the cooked butter, then place the pot back on the stovetop. Heat on medium-high until it just reaches the boiling point.
  4. Remove from heat and pour over chocolate.
  5. Stir the chocolate mixture until smooth, slowly and being mindful to keep the spoon on the bottom of the bowl to prevent excess air bubbles.
  6. Once smooth, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 8 hours or overnight to `set`.
  7. Once set, scoop out teaspoonfuls of chocolate truffle and roll between the palm of hands to form balls. Roll in cocoa powder to finish them, or dip in melted, tempered chocolate.
  8. Keep stored in an airtight container for up to 10 days or freeze.

If you find other Brown Butter chocolate bars, or have a great recipe for brown butter and chocolate, tell us about it in the comments below! Or connect on Twitter (@ultimatelychoc), on Instagram (@ultimatelychocolate) or on Facebook.


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