Now stay with me, please. This is not some bizarritey like Ham in Coca Cola (although have you tried it? It's delicious). It's a perfectly sweet cupcake, nothing pesto-like here at all, that just happens to have the pervasive taste and aroma of the most delectable nutty Browned Butter.
I'd cooked with Browned Butter ages ago but it had been over a year since I made something with it. It wasn't until the Daring Bakers Caramel Cake that I fell in love with it again. And I fell fast. After the Daring Bakers cake, I made [Ricotta Gnocchi in Browned Butter](http://www.notquitenigella.com/2008/12/17/ricotta-chive-homemade-gnocchi-with-browned-butter- sauce/) a couple of times and then wanted to make something sweet to go with it.
It wasn't until a friend was coming around that I thought I'd take out the lovely Jasper Conran Chonoiserie setting that I have. I was devastated when I had bought a full 8 person setting of another pattern for our wedding only to find this range out. But if you're a regular reader, you'll know that I say that about so many China settings (other fetishes aside from food: Chanel nail polishes, lighting fixtures, cake stands and hats). In good news though, my shoe fetish has almost completely abated and it has been a good 6 months since I bought a pair. And I hardly ever get the urge to buy fur lined Zanotti heels any more...
A much more practical shoe[
I digress, back to the cupcakes. I tried to make these with a basil syrup at first but my impatience cost me. In an effort to speed up the cooling process for the basil syrup, I transferred it to another bowl where it magically crystallised. I was frightened-I had never had sugar crystallise on me before. One second it looked good and the next it was petrified as if a Dementor has swooped in and sucked the life out of it. So this time I ground some basil with some sugar to make a forest green basil sugar.
The cake itself is gorgeous with a very crunchy exterior top much like a macaron, the soft but firm inside is deliciously nutty courtesy of the browned butter. And as for the icing, I used a restrained touch and didn't use basil in the icing although if you're a fan you certainly could.
Basil & Browned Butter cupcakes with Browned Butter frosting
An original recipe by Not Quite Nigella
Makes 8 cupcakes/14 miniature cupcakes
185 grams butter
85g ground almonds
3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
10 basil leaves
24 basil leaves extra for deep frying on top-not too small, they will shrink once fried and some won't turn out as nicely so make extra just in case
For caramelised butter frosting recipe see here. You only need to make 1/3 or 1/2 of the quantity of icing in the recipe.[
Step 1 - Make Basil sugar by placing a tablespoon or two of the sugar in a mortar and pestle and then add some basil leaves. Grind until it becomes a pale forest green sugar and all of the sugar and basil is used.
Step 2 - Brown butter in a small saucepan. Carefully drop in basil leaves to deep fry making sure that the butter doesn't brown too much. Place leaves on absorbent paper. Mix sugar into the butter and set aside for 20 minutes until cool. Preheat the oven to 180C.
Step 3 - Mix grounds almonds and flour in the bowl of an electric mixer. With a paddle attachment, add cooled butter sugar mixture until combined. Then add eggs, one at a time, until combined.
Step 4 - Spoon into cupcake cases, I made 14 miniature ones and they took about 25 minutes but larger ones will take longer, check regular sized ones at 35 minutes.
Step 5 - Frost with browned butter frosting and top with fried basil leaf.