Popping Fruit Tingle Macarons

I LOVE a fruit tingle. Both the cocktail, and the lolly. But the fizzy sherbet lolly especially. Fruit Tingle’s (which are similar to Bottle Caps/SweeTarts/Refreshers) have been one of my favourite lollies since I can remember – I love the sourness and the sweetness together, and would often chuck a whole small packet in my mouth at once, quite happily. Fruit Tingles are nostalgic for me – I remember I used to have competitions with my friends to see how many multi-coloured lollies we would get, and we would make a wish with each multi-coloured fruit tingle we got in our packet. A few years ago, thanks to Raspberri Cupcake’s Orange Cake with Fruit Tingles Icing, I discovered the joy of fruit tingles and butter combined. It was pretty magical and life changing. And so, I present Fruit Tingle Macarons with Popping Candy.

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I threw in another favourite candy of mine from the 90s – Wizz Fizz. I’m sure it was a worldwide phenomenon possibly under other names in other countries, but if you have been completely deprived, and have not been introduced to Wizz Fizz, it is just sherbet in a small bag with a little coloured spoon. Well, I shouldn’t say it’s just sherbet. It’s amazing tingle soury goodness that everybody should experience at least once, it’s good fun. And I guarantee once you have finished the bag you will be covered in a white powder. The good type of white power – Wizz Fizz 😉

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Macarons:

This recipe is Adriano Zumbo’s, and was published a couple of years ago in the Herald Sun. You will definitely need kitchen scales to make macarons.

  • 135g almond meal
  • 135g icing sugar
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 45g egg whites
  • 50g egg whites
  • 40g water
  • 1/4 tsp colouring  gel, orange

Spray four oven trays with cooking oil spray around the edges, and line with baking paper and set aside. Place almond meal and icing sugar in a large bowl, and sift together 3 times. Set aside, along with the 45g egg whites. Put 50g egg whites in a separate bowl. Heat caster sugar and water in a small saucepan, over a low-medium heat, until the sugar completely dissolves (if it slightly burns my tongue, it’s done!). If you do not want to burn your tongue, Zumbo suggests investing in a candy thermometer and heating the syrup until it reaches 118 degrees C (244 degrees F). If the syrup becomes thick and powdery in appearance, you will need to start again. This is because the sugar has been heated too much, too quickly, and instead of dissolving, it has cooked.

Begin beating the 50g egg whites with one hand, and with the other, stream the hot sugar syrup down the side of the bowl to create an italian meringue. Beat until stiff peaks form, the meringue should be thick and very glossy. If you want to add flavouring/colouring, now’s your moment. So add the colouring now. Just lightly beat them into the meringue. Pour meringue into the almond meal, icing sugar and 45g egg whites mixture and mix roughly to combine. When combined, fold mixture together (one single stroke) until there are no air bubbles left. Make a spread across the top of the mixture, and it should disappear in about 20 seconds. Spoon mixture into a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle. (If you don’t have a piping bag set, most supermarkets sell plastic ones, they are Multix brand, in an orange box and contain 5 piping bags with a few different nozzles, plus they’re only about $3. You should be able to find them in the baking aisle). Lock the bag by spinning the top around 4 times. Pipe 3-4cm rounds on the oven trays prepared earlier. Tap the bottom of the trays on the kitchen bench and let them sit for about half an hour, or until mixture is dry to the touch. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 145c (135c fan forced).

Place in oven and bake for 16-20 minutes. Check macarons at 16 minutes, and to test if they are cooked, pull a macaron off the baking paper. If it is stuck, keep cooking and checking regularly. Cool on trays for 5 minutes, then peel off and place on a wire rack. The mixture should make about 12 -15 large macarons, and about 25 smaller macarons. Macarons keep really well (about 5 days in the fridge) and some say that the longer they are refrigerated, the more the flavour is likely to develop. Macarons taste best when they are stored in the fridge, then brought down to room temperature to eat.

Lollies

Sugar Syrup topping:

  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 stick crushed fruit tingles

Melt the caster sugar and water in a small saucepan until completely dissolved. With a pastry brush, gently brush the macaron shells (about 5 at a time because they will dry) and place a small amount of fruit tingles on top of each shell. Leave on wire rack to dry.

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Fruit Tingle Buttercream:

  • 1 stick (34g) Fruit Tingle lollies, crushed down to a rough powder (I used a mortar and pestle, you could also use a food processor)
  • 250g salted butter, softened – not melted
  • 1 cup icing sugar mixture
  • 1 multi pack of Wizz Fizz (8 small packets)
  • 2 packets popping candy (I can’t remember the size of the packet, but they were quite small and were Strawberry/Cola flavoured. In Australia, you can buy them at Woolworths)
  • Food colouring gel, green (you could use pink or yellow if you wanted as well)

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Beat butter until pale and creamy. Gradually add icing sugar mixture. Beat in Wizz Fizz and Fruit Tingles until well combined. Beat in colouring gel. You can store buttercream overnight at room temperature, but it is best used immediately. To fill the macarons, spoon buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a large, round nozzle (make sure it is extra large so the chunks of fruit tingles won’t get stuck). Pipe 3/4 teaspoon of buttercream on shell, sprinkle with popping candy, and sandwich with another shell. Store macarons in the fridge, but bring them down to room temperature to eat. Enjoy!

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Snickers Peanut Butter Cupcakes

This, for me, is indulgent cupcake heaven. You may have noticed that I am quite an avid peanut butter fan, and combined with chocolate and peanut caramel, well…what can I say? Obviously, these morsels of pure deliciousness are extremely rich and decadent, so I tried to make them a bit smaller than a standard sized cupcake!
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I was thinking of making a salted peanut caramel to fIll the cupcake, but I thought with the peanut butter ganache it would just be a little too difficult to stomach, but delicious nonetheless. So, I opted for a small piece of Snickers in the middle. This surprise went down very well with my colleagues 🙂
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The cupcakes I used are my usual trusted chocolate cupcake recipe which I have used in posts such as the Easter Egg Nest Chocolate Cupcakes, and you can find it here. This time, I halved the recipe, and it made about 15 medium sized cupcakes.
The peanut butter ganache is a Donna Hay recipe which I have used a number of times, and I could go on and on forever and ever about how amazing it is 😉 You can find the recipe in the Peanut Butter Macarons post.
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To make the cupcakes, you will need a 12 piece fun size packet of Snickers. After spooning the cupcake mixture into the cases, place half a small Snickers bar into the mixture and push it down into the batter. To top the cupcakes, fill a piping bag with a wide round nozzle and pipe swirls on top of the cupcakes. Slice the remaining Snickers bars into small pieces, and place a piece on the top of each cupcake. To store, place in an airtight container and leave at room temperature – don’t put them in the fridge! They will last a good 3 days in the container, although I have a sneaking suspicion not many of these babies will be around for 3 days 🙂
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Cinnamon Donut Macarons

I had been wanting to try this flavour for some time, but I was just trying to figure out the best way of making the filling, and incorporating as much donutty flavour as I possibly could into the it, instead of say, just making a buttercream and flavouring it will a crapload of cinnamon. This time, I went all out Zumbo-style, and creeped a little bit out of the box, and my comfort zone. Thankfully, it kind of paid off. This flavour was quite delicious.

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 I’m not going to write out a recipe for the filling, because I did so many things and added so many little bits and pieces that I cannot remember it to the tee! I will try to explain it as best as possible 🙂 I was extremely lucky with my shells this time, they were a particularly good batch and I didn’t have to throw ANY out – this never happens! Totally wish it was like that everytime! Again, apologies for the shadow-y night time photos.
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Macarons:

This recipe is Adriano Zumbo’s, and was published a couple of years ago in the Herald Sun. You will definitely need kitchen scales to make macarons.

  • 135g almond meal
  • 135g icing sugar
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 45g egg whites
  • 50g egg whites
  • 40g water
  • 1/4 tsp colouring      gel, brown

Spray four oven trays with cooking oil spray around the edges, and line with baking paper and set aside. Place almond meal and icing sugar in a large bowl, and sift together 3 times. Set aside, along with the 45g egg whites. Put 50g egg whites in a separate bowl. Heat caster sugar and water in a small saucepan, over a low-medium heat, until the sugar completely dissolves (if it slightly burns my tongue, it’s done!). If you do not want to burn your tongue, Zumbo suggests investing in a candy thermometer and heating the syrup until it reaches 118 degrees C (244 degrees F). If the syrup becomes thick and powdery in appearance, you will need to start again. This is because the sugar has been heated too much, too quickly, and instead of dissolving, it has cooked.

Begin beating the 50g egg whites with one hand, and with the other, stream the hot sugar syrup down the side of the bowl to create an italian meringue. Beat until stiff peaks form, the meringue should be thick and very glossy. If you want to add flavouring/colouring, now’s your moment. So add the colouring now. Just lightly beat them into the meringue. Pour meringue into the almond meal, icing sugar and 45g egg whites mixture and mix roughly to combine. When combined, fold mixture together (one single stroke) until there are no air bubbles left. Make a spread across the top of the mixture, and it should disappear in about 20 seconds. Spoon mixture into a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle. (If you don’t have a piping bag set, most supermarkets sell plastic ones, they are Multix brand, in an orange box and contain 5 piping bags with a few different nozzles, plus they’re only about $3. You should be able to find them in the baking aisle). Lock the bag by spinning the top around 4 times. Pipe 3-4cm rounds on the oven trays prepared earlier. Tap the bottom of the trays on the kitchen bench and let them sit for about half an hour, or until mixture is dry to the touch. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 145c (135c fan forced).

Place in oven and bake for 16-20 minutes. Check macarons at 16 minutes, and to test if they are cooked, pull a macaron off the baking paper. If it is stuck, keep cooking and checking regularly. Cool on trays for 5 minutes, then peel off and place on a wire rack. The mixture should make about 12 -15 large macarons, and about 25 smaller macarons. Macarons keep really well (about 5 days in the fridge) and some say that the longer they are refrigerated, the more the flavour is likely to develop. Macarons taste best when they are stored in the fridge, then brought down to room temperature to eat.

Macarons

Cinnamon Donut filling:

As I mentioned earlier, I am not going to write out a recipe for this filling. I’ll briefly go through what I can remember 🙂
Donuts
So, firstly, I placed the donuts in the container with the cream, and left it from about 12 midday to 3 or 4pm the next day. I pulled all of the donuts out, except for 2, and in hindsight, I think I really should have left 3 to give it a little bit more of a donutty flavour. The cream was not as flavoursome as I hoped for, so with the remaining 2 donuts in the cream, I blitzed it all up together, to make a cinnamon donut whipped cream like thing. After this, the mixture was still a little lumpy, so I put it through a fine sieve which made it separate – which was actually not a bad thing. I then whipped up about 3/4 cup thickened cream, and added some icing sugar and cinnamon sugar (you can buy this in a glass jar at the supermarket or just add cinnamon and sugar separarely), and folded it into the donut and cream mixture. It was very runny after this, so I stirred in about 1/3 cup cornflour, and left it overnight to thicken. I then just placed the filling in a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle and filled the shells. Due to the amount of cream in the filling, it was a bit more runny than usual, which made the shells a bit fragile. They still tasted pretty awesome, though 🙂
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Hazelnut Jaffa Melting Moments

I made these little gems for the Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea which was held at work to raise money for the Cancer Council (for those who are not aware!). I just didn’t have the time, or the energy to make macarons this week, but I must admit I was pretty happy with how these melting moments, aka Yoyo’s, turned out. Melting moments were one of my favourite biscuits as a child, only second to the humble Monte Carlo. I thought I would put a bit of a spin on the traditional version, and they went down quite well with my colleagues 🙂 Well enough for one of them to order some for the weekend! Also, my apologies for the crap photos, I had no choice but to take them at night.

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I found a great recipe for hazelnut melting moments that used nutella in the ganache, and I thought orange would go perfectly with that. The great thing about melting moments is that they are super easy, just beat the butter and add all the dry ingredients and you’re done. Plus, they kind of look pretty, too, a bit rustic, but pretty. And they melt in your mouth…..mmmmm 🙂
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Hazelnut Jaffa Melting Moments: (adapted from Taste.com – I doubled the original recipe)
For the biscuits:
  • 250g butter, chopped and softened – not melted
  • 230g plain flour
  • 90g icing sugar mixture
  • 4 tbs cornflour
  • 4 tbs cocoa powder
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • Cocoa powder, extra to dust
For the ganache:
  • 100g dark chocolate, chopped, or choc bit
  • 50g butter, chopped and softened – not melted
  • 5 tbs Nutella (or similar hazelnut spread)
  • Zest of 1/2 an orange
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
Preheat the oven to 160c. Line 3 baking trays with baking paper, and set aside. Using a stand mixer or electic beater, beat butter until pale and creamy. Add the flour, icing sugar mixture, cornflour, cocoa powder, orange zest and a pinch of salt, and stir with a wooden spoon until well combined. Using clean hands, roll small teaspoons of the dough into balls, and place on the prepared trays (leave about 2cm in between each biscuit). With a fork dusted in cocoa powder, gently flatten the biscuit. Sprinkle each biscuit with a small amount of salt, and bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes or until biscuits have hardened.
Biscuits
To make ganache, place chocolate in a microwavable bowl and microwave for 20-30 second increments. Each time the chocolate comes out of the microwave, stir as much as possible with a metal spoon to distribute the heat evenly – sometimes the chocolate looks as though it is not melted but will begin to melt when stirred. Doing this will prevent the chocolate burning and becoming gluggy. When chocolate is completely melted, set aside for 3 minutes. Add the 50g softened butter, nutella, orange zest and salt and mix until well combined.
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Assembly:
Pair up similar sized melting moment biscuits. To fill biscuits, you can use either a piping bag or a knife. To use a piping bag, spoon ganache into a piping bag fitted with a wide round nozzle. Sandwich together with remaining biscuit. Melting moments are best stored in an airtight container at room temperature, and are best consumed within 1-3 days. Yum!
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Toasted Marshmallow Macarons

One thing I can say about these: yum, yum, yum! I was a bit down in the dumps this week, so the best thing to do when you’re feeling like crap – bake 🙂 These macarons were just delicious, and tasted just like a marshmallow that had been freshly toasted in a fire. The creme patissiere was such a great base for the filling, and added a nice custardy creaminess to the slight charcoal flavour from the toasted marshmallows. Definitely onto a winner with these!
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The past few times I’ve made creme pat, it has not turned out well at all. Both times I had lumpy custard with bits of cooked egg and a thick skin, sounds delicious, hey?! This time I used Zumbo’s recipe in the trusty Zumbarons: A Fantasy Land of Macarons, and once again, Zumbo’s recipe worked perfectly. The custard was smooth and vanilla-ey and I could have eaten the whole thing then and there. But that’s not anything out of the ordinary. I got to whip out my blowtorch again this week, it seems to be getting quite a workout at the moment 😉 It took me a while to blowtorch the marshmallows because you have to make sure you cook every side and end so they’re all nice and melted, and I was stupid enough to put baking paper underneath them, and burnt half the paper off in the process. Silly me. Don’t do that at home!
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Macarons:

This recipe is Adriano Zumbo’s, and was published a couple of years ago in the Herald Sun. You will definitely need kitchen scales to make macarons.

  • 135g almond meal
  • 135g icing sugar
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 45g egg whites
  • 50g egg whites
  • 40g water
  • 1/4 tsp colouring gel, pink

Spray four oven trays with cooking oil spray around the edges, and line with baking paper and set aside. Place almond meal and icing sugar in a large bowl, and sift together 3 times. Set aside, along with the 45g egg whites. Put 50g egg whites in a separate bowl. Heat caster sugar and water in a small saucepan, over a low-medium heat, until the sugar completely dissolves (if it slightly burns my tongue, it’s done!). If you do not want to burn your tongue, Zumbo suggests investing in a candy thermometer and heating the syrup until it reaches 118 degrees C (244 degrees F). If the syrup becomes thick and powdery in appearance, you will need to start again. This is because the sugar has been heated too much, too quickly, and instead of dissolving, it has cooked.

Begin beating the 50g egg whites with one hand, and with the other, stream the hot sugar syrup down the side of the bowl to create an italian meringue. Beat until stiff peaks form, the meringue should be thick and very glossy. If you want to add flavouring/colouring, now’s your moment. So add the colouring now. Just lightly beat them into the meringue. Pour meringue into the almond meal, icing sugar and 45g egg whites mixture and mix roughly to combine. When combined, fold mixture together (one single stroke) until there are no air bubbles left. Make a spread across the top of the mixture, and it should disappear in about 20 seconds. Spoon mixture into a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle. (If you don’t have a piping bag set, most supermarkets sell plastic ones, they are Multix brand, in an orange box and contain 5 piping bags with a few different nozzles, plus they’re only about $3. You should be able to find them in the baking aisle). Lock the bag by spinning the top around 4 times. Pipe 3-4cm rounds on the oven trays prepared earlier. Tap the bottom of the trays on the kitchen bench and let them sit for about half an hour, or until mixture is dry to the touch. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 145c (135c fan forced).

Place in oven and bake for 16-20 minutes. Check macarons at 16 minutes, and to test if they are cooked, pull a macaron off the baking paper. If it is stuck, keep cooking and checking regularly. Cool on trays for 5 minutes, then peel off and place on a wire rack. The mixture should make about 12 -15 large macarons, and about 25 smaller macarons. Macarons keep really well (about 5 days in the fridge) and some say that the longer they are refrigerated, the more the flavour is likely to develop. Macarons taste best when they are stored in the fridge, then brought down to room temperature to eat.

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 Crème Patissiere: (recipe from p. 104 of Zumbarons: A Fantasy Land of Macarons)
  • 1 cup (250ml) milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste/extract/seeds
  • 60g egg yolks
  • 60g caster (superfine) sugar
  • 25g cornflour
  • 100g butter, chopped and softened

In a medium saucepan, heat the milk and vanilla over a medium-low heat until almost boiling. Remove from the heat. Whisk in the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour in a bowl until it is thick and pale. Gradually whisk in the hot milk, and return mixture to saucepan. Return to medium heat until custard comes to boil (it will be very foamy at this stage, but don’t worry as it will go down and turn into a thick custard). Boil for 1 minute. Transfer to a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap onto the custard to prevent a skin from forming. Cool mixture to 50c – this will take about 15-20 minutes. When crème pat is 50c beat in the butter until smooth. Refrigerate if not using immediately.

 Creme pat
Toasted Marshmallow filling: (I used the full quantity of this recipe as I will use the rest of the filling for something else. If you are using the macaron recipe I use, you could certainly halve it. Adapted from p. 61 of Zumbarons: A Fantasy Land of Macarons)
  • 150g marshmallows
  • 170g butter, chopped and softened (make sure it’s salted butter)
  • Crème patissiere

Marshmallows

Place the marshmallows on a baking tray (NOT with baking paper!), and use a blowtorch to toast on all sides. Place the butter in a large bowl and beat until pale and creamy. Add the crème patissiere and mix with a spoon until smooth. Add the freshly toasted marshmallows (ensure they are very melted) and mix well.

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Assembly:
Match up likely pairs of macaron shells. Spoon marshmallow filling into a piping bag fitted with a wide round nozzle. Pipe filling onto the shell and sandwich with the other.
Macarons
Place in an airtight container and refrigerate overnight. Take macarons out of the fridge and consume at room temperature. I don’t need to ask you to enjoy, because I already know the answer to that 😛
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Lemon Meringue Layer Cake with Macarons

This cake was tasty, very tasty indeed. I made this cake for my boyfriend’s birthday, as he loves all things lemon and meringue – you may remember from last year. I was really happy with the flavour of this cake and the lemon curd that filled it, and the macarons turned out quite well, too. I’ve been a bit lucky with macarons of late, lets hope it stays that way!
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I pictured the merinuge on the outside to look a little different. It wasn’t as glossy and high as I would have liked, but I think it was because I didn’t make enough sugar syrup. However, that’s a minor detail. The part I loved most about making this cake was blowtorching it! I love watching the meringue cook and change colour, I could stand there all day and blowtroch…or maybe I just love playing with flames?! I used my usual vanilla cupcake recipe and just added a bunch of lemon juice and zest and it worked a real treat! It was moist, lemony and buttery all at the same time – yum 😉 The lemon curd recipe I used was from the ever wonderful Zumbo, and it was unsurprisingly delicious and unlike many lemon curds, it remained thick and did not leak out the sides of the macarons like lemon curds often do! Winner 🙂
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Macarons:

This recipe is Adriano Zumbo’s, and was published a couple of years ago in the Herald Sun. You will definitely need kitchen scales to make macarons.

  •  135g almond meal
  • 135g icing sugar
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 45g egg whites
  • 50g egg whites
  • 40g water
  • 1/4 tsp colouring gel, yellow

Spray four oven trays with cooking oil spray around the edges, and line with baking paper and set aside. Place almond meal and icing sugar in a large bowl, and sift together 3 times. Set aside, along with the 45g egg whites. Put 50g egg whites in a separate bowl. Heat caster sugar and water in a small saucepan, over a low-medium heat, until the sugar completely dissolves (if it slightly burns my tongue, it’s done!). If you do not want to burn your tongue, Zumbo suggests investing in a candy thermometer and heating the syrup until it reaches 118 degrees C (244 degrees F). If the syrup becomes thick and powdery in appearance, you will need to start again. This is because the sugar has been heated too much, too quickly, and instead of dissolving, it has cooked.

Begin beating the 50g egg whites with one hand, and with the other, stream the hot sugar syrup down the side of the bowl to create an italian meringue. Beat until stiff peaks form, the meringue should be thick and very glossy. If you want to add flavouring/colouring, now’s your moment. So add the colouring now. Just lightly beat them into the meringue. Pour meringue into the almond meal, icing sugar and 45g egg whites mixture and mix roughly to combine. When combined, fold mixture together (one single stroke) until there are no air bubbles left. Make a spread across the top of the mixture, and it should disappear in about 20 seconds. Spoon mixture into a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle. (If you don’t have a piping bag set, most supermarkets sell plastic ones, they are Multix brand, in an orange box and contain 5 piping bags with a few different nozzles, plus they’re only about $3. You should be able to find them in the baking aisle). Lock the bag by spinning the top around 4 times. Pipe 3-4cm rounds on the oven trays prepared earlier. Tap the bottom of the trays on the kitchen bench and let them sit for about half an hour, or until mixture is dry to the touch. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 145c (135c fan forced).

Place in oven and bake for 16-20 minutes. Check macarons at 16 minutes, and to test if they are cooked, pull a macaron off the baking paper. If it is stuck, keep cooking and checking regularly. Cool on trays for 5 minutes, then peel off and place on a wire rack. The mixture should make about 12 -15 large macarons, and about 25 smaller macarons. Macarons keep really well (about 5 days in the fridge) and some say that the longer they are refrigerated, the more the flavour is likely to develop. Macarons taste best when they are stored in the fridge, then brought down to room temperature to eat.

 Lemon Meringue Cake

Lemon Vanilla Cake: (adapted from Taste’s recipe)
  • 200g butter, chopped and softened
  • 1 3/4 cups caster sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 3/4 cups self-raising flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • zest and juice of 3 lemons
Preheat the oven to 180c. Grease and line a round baking tin with baking paper (I have two tins, so I baked two cakes then another one), and set aside. Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla until pale and creamy. One at a time, add the eggs and beat until just combined. Add the lemon juice and zest and stir to combine. Add the flour and milk in alternate batches, ensuring you start and finish with the adding the flour. Stir with a wooden spoon until combined. To ensure layers are even, weigh mixture and divide into three. I think, from memory, each layer weighed about 312g. Pour mixture into prepared tins and smooth the top with the back of a spoon. Place in oven for 15 – 20 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. It should just be slightly golden. Let cakes cool in tins for approximately 15 minutes before removing and placing on a wire rack. When completely cooled, gently wrap cakes in glad wrap and if not using immediately, place in fridge until they are needed.
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Lemon Curd: (from Zumbarons: A Fantasy Land of Macarons p. 28)
  • 160g lightly beaten egg
  • 240g caster sugar
  •  Finely grated zest of 5 lemons
  • 160g fresh lemon juice (this amounted to be exactly 5 lemons for me)
  • 300g butter, chopped and softened
Put the egg and sugar in a saucepan and mix well. Stir in the lemon zest and juice. Heat over a low-medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture reaches 85c/185f (You can buy thermometers from homeware or discount stores). Strain the curd into a bowl, discarding the zest and any little bits of cooked egg (I had a few – it’s so easy to do!). Cool the mixture to 50c/133f. When the curd is at the right temperature, beat in the butter gradually until smooth and shiny. If not using straight away, refrigerate. If you are using immediately, allow to curd to cool until it becomes firm enough to pipe.
Lemon Curd
 
 Italian Meringue: (italian meringue is made by making a sugar syrup and adding it to the egg whites to create an extremely thick and glossy mixture)
  • 6 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup cold water
To make the sugar syrup, slowly heat the sugar and water in a saucepan on a low heat until sugar is dissolved. Turn the heat up to medium until mixture begins to bubble – some people heat their syrup to a certain temperature but I usually do it by touch, usually when the mixture is just too hot for my finger it is done! Begin beating the egg whites, and slowly stream the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl. Beat until mixture is thick and very glossy. NOTE – don’t make the meringue ahead of time otherwise it will become limp. Make it straight before you cover and blowtorch the cake.
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Assembly:
Place one layer of cake on a cake stand, and generously spread lemon curd on top. Place another layer of cake on top of the lemon curd, and once again cover it with lemon curd. Place the final layer of cake on top. and cover will lemon curd. There should be a couple of teaspoons left after the cake and macarons have been filled. With a round-edged knife, generously cover the cake completely with the meringue mixture, making flicks with the knife as you go to create an element of height and visual appeal 🙂 With a chef’s blowtorch, gently go over the meringue from about 10cm, depending on how brown you want the meringue to be. To completely blowtorch the cake took me about 10-15 minutes. If you are not serving the cake immediately, gently cover it with glad wrap and keep it in a cool dry place. Enjoy!
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Roast Pumpkin and Brown Sugar Blondies

If you are unsure what a blondie is, you are definitely not alone. I showed these to my Dad and got “what on earth is that?!” For those of you wondering, blondies are fairly self explanatory. A blondie is a brownie, made with white chocolate instead of milk or dark. Genius, hey? I think so, because I can assure you these delicious slices definitely taste a lotttttt better than they look.

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There are lots of great flavours you could put in a blondie. I decided to branch a little out of the ordinary, and I’m pretty happy that I did. I think pumpkin in desserts is great when done well – the humble pumpkin pie is an all time American classic. With a hint of cinnamon, salt and olive oil, the pumpkin in these blondies was quite the delicious bite. It was really subtle, but you could definitely taste it. If I were making it only for myself and other pumpkin lovers, I would have gladly put in a bit hell of a lot more.
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Pumpkin Mash:
  • 3/4 cup diced pumpkin (if you really love pumpkin you could definitely use more)
  • Olive oil, to drizzle on top
  • Cinnamon, to sprinkle
  • Salt and Pepper
Preheat oven to 190c (180c fan forced). Prepare oven tray with baking paper. Spread pumpkin out on baking paper, drizzle generously with olive oil and mix with hands to coat. Sprinkle with a tiny bit of pepper, salt and a generous amount of cinnamon. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until soft. Remove from oven and let cool slightly for 5 minutes. Place pumpkin pieces in mortar and mash with pestle until it reaches a mash-y consistency, but still a little bit chunky. Set aside.
Pumpkin
Roast Pumpkin and Brown Sugar Blondies: (adapted from Katy’s Lazy Blondies on Nigella Lawson’s forum)
  • 100g white chocolate, chopped
  • 100g butter
  • 200g brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 110g plain flour
  • 100g additional white chocolate chips
  •  roast pumpkin mash

Blondies

Prepare a slice tin (approx. 20cm long) by spraying with olive oil spray or butter and lining with non-stick baking paper. In a microwavable bowl, heat 100g chocolate and butter until melted. For me, this took about a minute and I still had a few lumps, and being a bit silly I heated it for an extra 10 seconds and it curdled a little, but it didn’t make a difference at all to the final product 🙂 Set aside. In a separate large bowl, beat brown sugar and eggs until well combined. Slowly add the chocolate and butter mixture. Stir in the flour gently until fully incorporated. Mix in the additional chocolate chips and the pumpkin mash, and ensure they are evenly distributed. Pour mixture into prepared tin, sprinkle with cinnamon and bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes. If you like your brownies/blondies gooey, you can probably take them out a little earlier. Just keep testing with a skewer until you are happy 🙂 Set tin aside to cool, then slice into 15 pieces. Store and serve at room temperature, but they are also delicious warmed up!
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If you have never tried, or have never heard of blondies, I stongly urge that you familiarise yourself 🙂 You won’t regret it!

Salted Butter Popcorn Macarons

Macs are back! This makes me very happy. Very happy indeed. As you would have seen earlier in the year, the last time I made macarons, it didn’t go so well. These still weren’t perfect, that’s for sure, but they do look like macarons, and they taste pretty amazeballs. And that’s all I really care about 🙂

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This mac flavour is from Zumbo’s Fantasy Land of Macarons (p. 57), and the recipe had intrigued me for a quite a while, but I was just a bit scared to give them a go. I’m very glad I did though, because they were definitely worth it. Surprising or not, they taste exactly like a big mouthful of butter popcorn, just with a few different textures. I am a massive fan of sweets with salt, so these were a major winner in my eyes! The only thing I think I would do differently next time, would be to blitz the popcorn a bit more, because I had some big chunky bits on my shells, so they didn’t look quite as dainty as Zumbo the Great’s.
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Macarons:

This recipe is Adriano Zumbo’s, and was published a couple of years ago in the Herald Sun. You will definitely need kitchen scales to make macarons.

  • 135g almond meal
  • 135g icing sugar
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 45g egg whites
  • 50g egg whites
  • 40g water
  • 1/4 tsp colouring gel, yellow

Spray four oven trays with cooking oil spray around the edges, and line with baking paper and set aside. Place almond meal and icing sugar in a large bowl, and sift together 3 times. Set aside, along with the 45g egg whites. Put 50g egg whites in a separate bowl. Heat caster sugar and water in a small saucepan, over a low-medium heat, until the sugar completely dissolves (if it slightly burns my tongue, it’s done!). If you do not want to burn your tongue, Zumbo suggests investing in a candy thermometer and heating the syrup until it reaches 118 degrees C (244 degrees F). If the syrup becomes thick and powdery in appearance, you will need to start again. This is because the sugar has been heated too much, too quickly, and instead of dissolving, it has cooked.

Begin beating the 50g egg whites with one hand, and with the other, stream the hot sugar syrup down the side of the bowl to create an italian meringue. Beat until stiff peaks form, the meringue should be thick and very glossy. If you want to add flavouring/colouring, now’s your moment. So add the colouring now. Just lightly beat them into the meringue. Pour meringue into the almond meal, icing sugar and 45g egg whites mixture and mix roughly to combine. When combined, fold mixture together (one single stroke) until there are no air bubbles left. Make a spread across the top of the mixture, and it should disappear in about 20 seconds. Spoon mixture into a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle. (If you don’t have a piping bag set, most supermarkets sell plastic ones, they are Multix brand, in an orange box and contain 5 piping bags with a few different nozzles, plus they’re only about $3. You should be able to find them in the baking aisle). Lock the bag by spinning the top around 4 times. Pipe 3-4cm rounds on the oven trays prepared earlier. Tap the bottom of the trays on the kitchen bench and let them sit for about half an hour, or until mixture is dry to the touch. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 145c (135c fan forced).

Making

Place in oven and bake for 16-20 minutes. Check macarons at 16 minutes, and to test if they are cooked, pull a macaron off the baking paper. If it is stuck, keep cooking and checking regularly. Cool on trays for 5 minutes, then peel off and place on a wire rack. The mixture should make about 12 -15 large macarons, and about 25 smaller macarons. Macarons keep really well (about 5 days in the fridge) and some say that the longer they are refrigerated, the more the flavour is likely to develop. Macarons taste best when they are stored in the fridge, then brought down to room temperature to eat.

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Buttercream: (from Zumbarons: A Fantasy Land of Macarons, p.57.)
(I still made the full recipe, even though it could have filled double the shells I had. I am sure I will use it for something…maybe eating it from the bowl…maybe…)
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 38g water
  • 75g lightly beaten egg
  • 45g egg yolks
  • 200g butter, chopped and softened
  • Sea salt, to taste
You will need digital scales and a thermometer to make this buttercream. The thermometer I use is just an ordinary one used for coffee. You can find them at homeware or discount stores.
Beat the butter until pale and creamy, about 4 minutes. Put the egg and egg yolks together in a large bowl, and set aside. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water, and cook over a low-medium heat until sugar dissolves. Turn the heat up to medium, and cook mixture until it reaches 121c. Begin beating the eggs for a minute or so, and then very slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the egg mixture. Continue whisking the mixture until it is thick, and cooled to 50c. A teaspoon at a time, add the butter to the egg and sugar mixture, and mix well after each addition to ensure there is no lumps. Once all the butter has been incorporated, fold in the salt to taste. It should look a little something like this:
Buttercream
Assembly:
Cook the microwave popcorn according to instructions. Blitz approximately half of the popcorn in a food processor, until they look like small chunky crumbs. Place popcorn on a large plate or in a shallow bowl. Pair up macaron shells. Spoon buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle, and pipe 1/2 tsp onto shells, and sandwich with another. Melt 1 (if you want to brush 1 shell) or 2 tablespoons of butter (if you want to brush both shells) and completely brush the shell/s with the melted butter.
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Immediately place buttered shell/s into the popcorn and place on an oven tray with baking paper. Once you have completed all of the macarons, place in fridge to set overnight. This will help develop the flavour. After 24 hours or so, place macarons in airtight container if not serving immediately. Store in fridge, and bring down to room temperature to serve.
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Easter Egg Nest Chocolate Cupcakes

This week has been a great one for whiskitforabiscuit. With Easter arriving, I have had a lot of new visitors to the blog, which is so nice to see. I have also had a number of people telling me that they have tried my recipes, such as the Chai and White Chocolate Hot Cross Buns, and how they have succeeded and tasted awesome! So, thanks so much guys, I appreciate it more than you could know and I absolutely love hearing everyones stories and feedback 🙂 It’s also really nice to know that people are actually reading this and it’s not just me writing to my sad and lonely self, lol. Now, to the cupcakes.

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I had seen a few different takes on these egg nest cupcakes, on various sites such as Pinterest, and they just all looked so fantastic and fun! I had to give them a go, and use one of my all-time favourite childhood treats, the chocolate spider. No words can ever describe how much I adore the chocolate spider, seriously, they are just that delish. I really could go on forever and ever about these morsels of goodness, and it’s so great that they only have 3 ingredients! Life = complete.

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I have used this amazing chocolate cupcake recipe countless times, including in My First Order, and it’s never let me down! You can find the recipe here.
Makingcakes
Buttercream:
  • 350g butter, chopped and softened
  • 2 1/3 – 3 cups icing sugar mixture
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
  • Wilton’s colourng gel, green
Beat butter until pale and creamy, about 4-5 minutes. Gradually add in the icing sugar mixture until well combined. Beat in vanilla and green colouring until desired colour is achieved. Spoon buttercream into a piping bag with a large round nozzle. Pipe rounds on the cupcakes.
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Chocolate Spider Egg Nests:
  • 1 packet Chang’s noodles (available at most Australian supermarkets. I am sure there would be an equivalent in the US and UK, however I do not know what the brand is)
  • 2 tbs crunchy peanut butter
  • 200g chocolate, milk or dark
  • 1 packet M&M Crunchy speckled eggs, or Cadbury Mini Eggs

Makingspiders

Place chocolate and peanut butter in a microwavable bowl, and microwave for 60 seconds on high. Stir with a metal spoon, even if it does not look melted. If it needs more time, microwave in 10 second increments until completely melted. Don’t do what I did and keep microwaving because you can still see lumps,and then realise it’s just the nuts from the crunchy peanut butter. Idiot. Pour contents of noodles packet into the chocolate and peanut butter mixture until well coated. With two teaspoons, make small ‘nests’, on oven trays with baking paper. Place three speckled eggs on each nests straight away, as you do not want the chocolate to set, otherwise the eggs will not stay on the nests. Place in fridge. You can make these a few days in advance, just pop them in an airtight container when they have set.
Place egg nest onto the green buttercream on the cupcake. Done!
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I hope everybody has a fantastic Easter with their loved ones! I am so lucky I have a little sister who gets so excited about the Easter bunny and the annual hunt we have on Easter Sunday morning, it makes it so much more fun with little kids around!
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Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram – GemmaAsh! Until next time…X

Chai & White Chocolate Hot Cross Buns with Cranberry Butter

Wow. It’s so hard to believe that Easter is upon us already! Even though I have been eating the occasional hot cross bun in secret since January 1st when they are available at the supermarket, I guess the week before Easter is finally the socially acceptable time to eat one, two or twenty hot cross buns. So, here we are. And they’re not too bad even if I say so myself. I made a couple of batches of original and choc-chip buns a few years back and I promised myself I would try to make them each year for Easter as they were just so damn good! Although, last year, I substituted the real things for something almost as good, Hot Cross Macs. This year, I wanted to try making the buns again, with a bit of a different flavour 🙂
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I found some really good chai tea from T2 in the cupboard, bursting with cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks and broken star anise. I knew then, I had to make my buns with this awesome chai. Mmm, and what to go with it? I didn’t want them to be too traditional, and since I was little, I have always been a loyal fan of the choc-chip variety (what kid hasn’t?!). White chocolate it was. I thought it would give the chai a bit of sweetness and provide the same great chunkiness as the choc-chip bun, and the white chocolate wouldn’t overpower the flavour of the chai like milk or dark chocolate would (I’m trying so hard not to sound like a wanker when I describe the flavour, lol).
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Chai and White Chocolate Hot Cross Buns (adapted from Sasko flour):
For the chai tea:
  • 2 x teabags, or T2 sachets or teaspoons of chai (if you are using sachets or teaspoons, you will need to strain before adding the honey, milk and vanilla)
  • 500 ml water
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 30ml honey
  • 125ml milk
Place the tea in a saucepan, with the water. Simmer on a low heat until the water colours, and the flavours are prominent (about 8 mins). If you need to, strain the tea, and place back in the saucepan once strained. Stir in vanilla, honey and milk, and set aside to cool slightly.
MakingDough
For the dough:
  • 540g plain flour
  • 30g butter, at room temperature
  • 35g caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 7g yeast
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/3 cups white chocolate chips
  • 100g plain flour
  • Water
Sift flour into a bowl, rub in the butter with your fingers, and stir in the cinnamon, salt and sugar. Measure out 280ml of the chai tea mixture, and lightly mix in the yeast. When it begins to foam (you only need a few bubbles, don’t freak out if it doesn’t look like a bubble bath – I have made this mistake before), add to the flour mixture, along with the lightly beaten egg. Mix with hands until a dough if formed. If the dough is too crumbly, add a tiny bit of water. Oil a large bowl, and place dough inside. Put a tea towel over the top of the bowl, and put in a warm place for about an hour, or until the dough has doubled in size. I put my dough in a sunroom and it was perfect. You could also put it beside a window which is getting some sunshine.
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Preheat the oven to 200c. Once the dough has doubled, remove from the bowl and knead with hands on a clean surface until soft and springy. Add white chocolate in 2 batches and knead well. Shape the dough into 12 even balls, and place in an oiled or greased tray. Leave in a warm place to double in size once again, for about 30-45 minutes. Use the 100g of flour and some water to make a paste. Keep adding small amounts of water until desired consistency is reached. Remember you can put more water in, but you can’t take it out! You want the paste to be rough but not stodgy. Place flour paste in a piping bag fitted with a medium sized round nozzle (the ones you get with the Multix ones are perfect). Pipe crosses on the buns, and place in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool in tray.
Bunsintheoven
To make the glaze, use 100ml of chai tea mixture and 1/2 cup caster sugar, and place in a saucepan. Simmer on a medium heat until it comes to the boil. Remove from heat, and brush buns with a pastry brush. I needed 2 coats on mine for them to be glossy enough.
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Cranberry Butter:
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries (craisins), roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Place all ingredients in a small bowl and stir until combined. Spread on warm hot cross buns.
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Hot cross buns are heaps of fun to make. They are not difficult, but you definitely need to read the recipe beforehand. The only other thing is, you do need a bit of time, but I promise they are worth it! Don’t feel confined to making buns with the original flavours if you don’t wish to, mix it up with different fruits such as berries and citrus, and sweets such as different types of chocolates, caramel, nutella or jam.
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Enjoy! X