The other day I made cookies with homemade brown butter.
I first churned the butter from heavy cream, separating the butterfat from buttermilk. Then I took the remaining butter and melted it in a pan then browned the milk solids to make brown butter. Then I cool it in a glass container and let reform as a solid.
I am wondering if you could directly make brown butter by skipping the churning process for the heavy cream. Is there a way to heat heavy cream such that the water / buttermilk / etc. evaporates and leaves melted butterfat and milk solids?
I would think that the water would evaporate and leave only the butterfat + milk solids but I am not sure.
I had a pint of heavy cream so I went ahead and tried it to see what happens. I left in a small saucepan over medium / medium-low heat for a while with minor agitation (stirring every few minutes). It looked about the same for the first 45 minutes. Then I could actually start to see what I assume is the butterfat. However I also saw a large amount of milk solids (I assume), much larger than typical churned butter.
See oil + solids:
Then I waited a little longer and it seems they separated further:
A little longer and it smelled toasty like the usual smell from brown butter when I make it. I took it off the heat because it also ruined my pan pretty nicely. I poured it in a glass container and here's what it looks like after separating:
So my follow-up questions would be: Is this brown butter? Are the solids just milk solids or are they something else? Is the oil actually butterfat? Is this safe to incorporate into cookies as butter?
I enjoy the taste that toasted milk solids add to cookies but this is so much more milk solid than I was expecting (if it is milk solids).
Another update now that it's solidified. It looks and smells just like how my normal brown butter smells except it has way more milk solids (if that's what they are). I would estimate about 1/2 cup of clarified butter + slightly less than a half cup of toasted solids.
It doesn't look like 1/2 cup clarified butter but keep in mind that the butter also settled into the gaps between the solids while it was still liquid.
It smells delicious. I'm tempted to soften it and mix it into a batch of cookies but I'm also not sure if the solids will be over powering in the taste.