You probably already know that toasting spices or sizzling them in oil or butter helps their flavor bloom—and the same principle applies for baking, too. For recipes that call for melted butter, just heat that butter with whole or crushed spices, like a split vanilla bean, a broken cinnamon stick, or a few crushed whole cloves or cardamom pods. With heat, the essential oils from the spices make their way into the browned butter and the two swirl around and become one tasty mess. Besides spice, this method creates toasty depth in the butter, a guaranteed flavor booster.
That’ll make for a killer pancake recipe… Don’t forget about using eggnog to make French toast.
Q: Could you do this for recipes that call for solid butter by cooking the spices in then re-cooling the butter?
A: You will boil off the water when browning the butter, so – no. Even if you just melt the butter and don’t brown it, you will lose water content.