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Brown Butter Icing

Browning the butter gives this icing a nutty flavor. The consistency should be thin enough to spread but not runny.

  • yield: Frosts 1 nine-inch cake




  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sifted confectioner's sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk


  1. Step 1

    In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat until nut-brown in color, about 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat, and pour butter into a bowl, leaving any burned sediment behind.

  2. Step 2

    Add sugar, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon milk; stir until smooth. If the icing is too thick, add the remaining tablespoon milk, a little at a time, until consistency is spreadable. Let cool 5 minutes. Use immediately.

Martha Stewart Living, November 1998



Reviews (2)

  • 26 Sep, 2011

    HOLY COW. This icing tastes like homemade caramel. Amazing. Definitely double it. Triple it, even.

  • 11 Dec, 2010

    Yum. This is crazy good icing, but it doesn't make a lot, so you might want to double it.