Sauced: Brown Butter and Cinnamon Applesauce


Sauces, dips, dressings, and condiments from around the world.


[Photographs: Joshua Bousel]

Even though I need no excuse to get my fry on any day of the year, I can't help but find a special affinity for a holiday where I'm actually supposed to be frying everything! That makes Chanukah my holiday. Long past are the days where I anticipate eight days of gifts (Christmas on my Catholic side of the family fills that void) and now it's all about the latkes, doughnuts, and anything else I care to dip into a pan of hot oil.

With latkes there must be applesauce, for which I have a recipe that's been a staple going on four years now. In the name of trying something new, I was considering altering my applesauce a bit, but being a man of tradition, the ideas I had floating about adding an additional fruit into the mix—cranberry, pear, mango, etc.—were a little too far off course for me to handle. I was ready to throw in the towel, until I saw a grand idea I could get behind—brown butter!

Making minor adjustments to my tried and true applesauce recipe, I amped up the cinnamon, added a pinch of nutmeg, and a quarter cup of butter that had been melted and gently cooked until light golden brown.

I thought this would be the most subtle of additions, but the browned butter actually added a distinct richness and overall nuttiness that was discernible, but melded with and complemented the apples and cinnamon. It's one of those things where you know this applesauce tastes better than others, but may take some time to pinpoint exactly why. With that, I think I've stumbled upon a new sauce addition to my Chanukah lineup to make this fantastic feast of fried foods all the better.