Brown Butter Brown Sugar Syrup

A few weeks ago I was making chicken and waffles for my friend Annaliese when, in total amateur fashion, I realized we were very nearly out of maple syrup. That’s when my dear friend filled me in on the concept of brown sugar butter syrup. Somehow the idea of making syrup in lieu of using the standard maple had simply never occurred to me. But once my eyes were opened, I immediately started thinking of all the little permutations I could use to make this delicious syrup even more special. My first thought… Brown butter.

I’ve used brown butter in cookies, cakes, and frostings before and it always adds an amazing depth flavor with delicious nutty tones. So why not swap out regular butter for brown butter in a syrup recipe, too? I really love the original no-nonsense version of this brown sugar butter syrup, but oh my… let me tell you… brown butter takes the flavor to a whole new level. Wonderfully complex taste, but still pretty basic to make. Win-win. Try it and let me know what you think!


Brown Butter Brown Sugar Syrup – makes approx. 20 ounces of syrup, adapted from Barefoot in the Kitchen

  • 2 cups brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup brown butter (see recipe below)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla

To make the brown butter –

  1. Melt one stick of butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, it will begin to foam. Stir constantly for 2-3 minutes (although the time may vary depending on your stove, how cold the butter was when you started, and your saucepan) until you begin to see tiny brown specks in the foam or you notice that as you stir you’re creating a light brown swirl in the white foam. It is very easy to accidentally make burnt butter instead of brown butter, so keep a close eye on the milk solids in the bottom on the pan. If you’re having a hard time seeing them, remove the pan from the heat, allow the foam to subside, and see what color the solids are. They should be a nice amber brown color. If you start to see dark brown or black then its gone too far. This process sounds a lot more complicated than it really is. Once you’ve done it a time or two you’ll get the hang of it!
  2. Pour brown butter into a bowl or other container and place in the freezer for about 20 minutes, until solidified.**

To make the syrup –

  1. Bring water and brown sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Once boiling, turn heat down to medium and allow mixture to bubble for 4 minutes, swirling the pan occasionally to insure even heating. Do not stir, as it will make the mixture foam up and possibly boil over.
  2. Remove pan from heat. Stir in vanilla.
  3. Take brown butter out of the freezer. Using a spoon, scoop out an approximate half tablespoon portion of butter and add it to the syrup. Stir until the butter is fully incorporated before adding the next portion of butter. Continue until you’ve added all the butter. Doing this will prevent the butter from simply sitting on top of the sugar in two layers.

** If you’re short on time, but would still like to use the brown butter you can add it to the syrup while it’s still melted, but you’re likely going to end up with two layers, butter floating over sugar. That’s not really a big deal as long as you don’t mind stirring or shaking your syrup before pouring it on. We store ours in a mason jar anyways, so it’s quite easy to shake it up.

I suggest waiting about 5 minutes before using the syrup because it’s pretty darn hot immediately after you finish. You can store the leftovers in a jar for up to a month. When you want to use the syrup out of the fridge, heat it in a pan of simmering water, or microwave it in 15 second intervals until warm. Don’t forget to shake it up to disperse the layers and mix in all the brown buttery goodness!



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