Sunday, 14 October 2007

Burnt-butter Brown Sugar Cupcakes

It's difficult to explain the wonderful resonant taste that burnt butter has, but think of it as a kind of mouth-filling nuttiness - Nigella Lawson

I've always been intrigued by the name of this recipe - it sounds kind of nice (mmm brown sugar) but odd (hmmm, burnt butter?). Looking around for something relatively quick and easy for a girls gathering I thought I'd give these a try. Somewhat ironically, I also burnt the cupcakes, just a little was a mistake, honest!

The verdict:
Unusual or substituted ingredients: Golden caster sugar and golden icing sugar are hard to come by and certainly don't live in my pantry on a regular basis. So good old regular caster sugar and regular icing sugar did the trick.
Special utensils or cookware: None! These are made in a food processor - so easy! Although they aren't quite as quick as I thought, in that the burnt butter bit takes a while as you are supposed to wait until the butter re-solidifies after "burning" it. I'm not sure how long that is supposed to take but I imagine hours! So I put it in the fridge for a while and used it runny. I'm not sure it made any difference to the outcome!
Repeatability: Yeah, these were good - if I had enough time I would definitely make them again - I'd clarify the butter in the morning and make them in the afternoon - very easy!
You melt and stir the butter until it is a deep gold colour - this is the difference between regular butter and the now-burnt butter. Leaving it to cool also allows a bit of sediment to settle to the bottom.
Sauciness: These really do have a resonant, nutty taste - the only flavour comes from the burnt butter, the brown sugar and a little bit of vanilla. Oh, and the tons of icing which Nigella has you make - as usual, I made less than recommended and still had some leftover. Nigella directed the icing be smeared messily - so that's what I did!
Overall pleasure level: I'd give these a 7 - a good adult cupcake, not too rich but just a little bit complex in the eating.