There are very few things better than browned butter! The nutty toasty aroma is perfect in so many savory dishes, but also in chocolate chip cookies, ice cream, or simply smeared on a piece of plain toast. And just try dipping fresh radished to it – you’ll soon realize you’re hooked on radishes. Browned butter is magic.
Animal based butter “browns” due to the milk proteins and natural sugars of the butter caramelizing. But what about plant based butters? There are no milk proteins in them, obviously. Well, the solution is likely very nearby. Just open the door to your cupboard!
Vegan browned butter
As a big fan of browned butter, I’ve been contemplating on how to make vegan brown butter for a while. We’ve moved on to using mainly plant based butter and sandwich spreads in our household, I use animal based butter only very rarely! My favorite spreads and butters are made by Naturli’ and Violife. Both have the flavor on point, and that’s saying a lot from someone who used to only put a real butter spread on her toast! I’ve never gotten used to the taste of margarine, and after discovering these products I won’t even try anymore.
Recently a friend asked me how to make vegan browned butter, and that gave me the push to finally stop contemplating, and start experimenting! A short scroll through internet gave the answer I would likely have discovered on my own: plantbased butters often need a boost in both proteins and sugars in order to brown. Depending on where you live and what kinds of products you have availabe, the butter might or might not already have those, in the form of some kind of nut. So look through the list of ingredients, and supplement as needed with some extra nuts!
variations on Vegan brown butter
So I’m off to the store, and soon enough I got pots of both melted Naturli’ and Vioblock on the stove. Naturli’ actually includes a bit of almond, so it will lightly brown on its own. Vioblock on the other hand simply melts. So both need some nuts! But which nuts? I end up making batches with powdered hazelnuts, pecans and almonds. And just for the fun of it, I also add some dark sugar and a tiny pinch of vanilla in one batch.
- When you add the nut powder to the hot fat, you better start mixing non stop. You do NOT want any of the nuts to burn!
- A light colored pot helps to keep track of how toasty the nuts get
- Your nose will also help keep track with how toasty the nuts get 🙂
- Pour the vegan browned butter out of the pot rather sooner than later – it will continue to get more toasted as it cools off.
And then all that’s left to do is to wait! Browned vegan butter is delicious hot, but as it cools off it solidifies and gets a lovely creamy, butterscotch sauce-y texture. The Vioblock batch got to the stage you see in the photos in room temperature in about an hour. The Naturli’ batches on the other hand took a lot longer, and eventually I had to put them in the fridge. They were solidified in the morning!
Hazelnut butter for the win!
When it comes to flavor, each version was extremely delicious! It’s hard to belief any of these yummy butters is vegan. The batch with a pinch of sugar and vanilla was so good, I almost “sampled” it all in one go. If I were more of a baker, I’d definitely turn that batch into a frosting!
My favorite variation turned out to be both the hazelnut and the pecan Naturli’. The toasty flavor of hazelnut mimics the flavor or browned butter the best – no surprise there, after all it’s also referred to as “beurre noisette” aka hazelnut butter 🙂 Pecan on the other hand has a sweetness akin to maple syrup! The almond version was also delicious – tastewise it was just the one that was the least like browned butter, that’s all. So, my vegan brown butter will be made with a mixure of hazelnuts and pecans, with an added pinch of sugar and vanilla, when the intended use calls for it!
Vegan browned butter
- 100 g vegan butter (Vioblock or Naturli')
- 1 tbsp powdered hazelnut and/or pecan nuts (or almond, cashew...)
- ½-1 tsp demerera, coconut or muscavado sugar (in other words: dark sugar with some toasty notes!)
- ⅛ tsp real vanilla
- 1-2 tsp lemon juice
- Melt the vegan butter in small pot. Let it bubble and foam for about 5 minutes. Then add in the powdered nuts (and sugar, if using). Keep mixing well, scraping the bottom of the mixture with a spatula to prevent burning. The mixture foams and then starts to settle. Keep an eye (and nose) on the level of toastiness and as soon as you think the nuts have browned enough, pour the mixture to a heat proof dish.
- Add in the vanilla and/or lemon juice, if using. Leave the butter to cool off to the desired temperature and texture. Vioblock solidifies to a soft custardy texture in about an hour, but Naturli' is best left in the fridge for longer. Both need a thorough mixing before serving, as the nuts settle to the bottom of the bowl.
If you make vegan browned butter, I’d love to hear which nuts are your favorite!