The only thing chocolatey about these is the white chocolate in the icing: underneath is just golden coffee sponge; I think of this combination as blonde mocha.
For the cupcakes:
3/4 cup self-rising cake flour
1/2 cup soft unsalted butter
7 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 heaped tablespoon instant espresso
2-3 tablespoons milk
For the icing:
5 1/2 ounces white chocolate
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sour cream
1 2/3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
scant teaspoon cocoa powder
12-cup muffin pan with paper baking cups
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Put all the cupcake ingredients except for the milk into the food processor and blitz to combine. Pulse again, adding milk down the funnel to form a batter with a soft, dropping consistency. Spoon into the baking cups in their pan and put in the oven to cook for about 20 minutes. When ready, remove from the oven and leave in the pan to cool for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.
When they're completely cold, get on with the icing. Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave or in a double boiler, and after it's cooled a little, stir in the sour cream. Gradually beat in the sifted confectioners' sugar. And if the consistency isn't right for icing, add either hot water to thin or more sifted sugar to thicken. Spread roughly and generously over the top of each cupcake, and then dust sparingly with cocoa, by pressing a little through a tea strainer, so that they look like little cups of dusted cappuccino.
These are the world's most elegant macaroons. The color alone, that waxy pale jade, perfectly matches the aromatic delicacy of their taste; and their nutty chewiness melts into the fragrant, soft paste with which they're paired. Of all the recipes in this book, this is the one of which I think I'm most proud: cookie bliss.
These are perfect at the end of dinner alongside some confectioner's-sugar-dusted raspberries; or alone with coffee, gracefully piled on a plate or cake stand.
Makes 20 sandwiches
For the macaroons:
1/3 cup or 3 ounces pistachios
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
2 large egg whites
1 tbsp sugar
For the buttercream:
1/4 cup or 2 ounces pistachios
1 2/3 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 baking sheets, lined with parchment paper
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Grind the pistachios in a food processor along with the confectioners' sugar (this stops them turning into an oily mess), until as fine as dust. Whisk the egg whites until fairly stiff, but not dry, sprinkle the sugar over and whisk until very stiff. Fold the whites into the pistachio-sugar dust, and combine gently. Pipe small rounds onto your lined baking sheet, using a plain 1/2-inch nozzle. Let them sit for about 10 minutes to form a skin. Then put in the oven and cook for 10-12 minutes: they should be set, but not dried out.
Remove from the oven and let cool, still on their sheets, while you get on with the filling. This is simple work: grind the nuts and confectioners' sugar in the processoor as before; then cream the butter and continue creaming as you add the nut dust. Make sure you have a well-combined soft buttercream. Then simply sandwich the macaroons together.
From the Hardcover edition.