Brown Butter, Apricot & Tonka Muffins

This is an adaptation of a recipe in one of my favourite baking books of the year…Sourdough by Sarah Owens. A great book that is packed with inventive and original recipes for using your sourdough starter in other baked goods, not just bread. From cakes to pie crusts to crackers, Sarah shows you how to use your sourdough starter to add flavour and interest to your baking repetoire, an opportunity to have fun and experiment with flavours, making the most of the ingredients you have on hand.

Much of the flavour imparted by sourdough is due to lactic fermentation and the presence of acetic acid. Acetic acid also likes to stand guard kicking food spoling microorganisms to the curb before they take a hold and grow their mould. Therefore adding small amounts to any baked good can extent shelf life, good news if you dont always have the hungry hoards around to hoover up the minute they come out the oven.

Here I’ve paired the sour tang of the starter with the rich nutty aroma of brown butter (or beurre noisette), ripe apricots and tonka bean. There are many reasons why these ingredietns seemlessly blend together into just plain deliciousness. The main reason is they share similar aroma compounds, mainly derived from lactones present in them. Both apricots and tonka contain Coumarin which provides flavour notes of coconut and bitter almond, in turn these have an affinity with the rich nuttiness brought about by the caramelisation of the milk sugars and proteins when butter is browned. I could get real nerdy on this front but basically what I want to say is…

Brown Butter.

Learn how to do it and expand your baking horizons no end. The technique is well worth mastering (if you can call it that…it’s super easy) to add an extra depth of flavour to so many of your baked goods, whether it be cakes, cookies or as in this case muffins. 

 

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