Choc-Mint Candy Cane Macarons

I do love the combination of chocolate and peppermint. Bittersweet dark chocolate with a cool minty kick made these macarons quite the tasty ones. They were somewhat a tribute to the humble candy cane, which is definitely one of my favourite Christmas treats. I realllly wanted to make these macarons into a candy cane shape, but it didn’t work for me this time 😦 I overcooked the shells for one, and piped them all the same way – which was fine until I needed to sandwich them together…silly! I think I will try it again though, now that I know what not to do. I’d love to try some gingerbread men shapes as well, but knowing my luck they would turn out like lumpy pancake men. Yum!

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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
  • Wilton’s colouring gel, Red (I used ‘Rojo Intenso’)

Preheat oven to 170c (160c fan forced). Spray four oven trays with cooking oil spray baround 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 cocoa 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. With a skewer or a cake tester, spread 3 or 4 lines of the colouring along the sides of the bag. Spoon mixture into the 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.

This is how it's done!

Place in oven and bake for 8 minutes. Turn tray around in the oven and bake for another 7 minutes. To test, 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.

Yum!

Choc-Mint Ganache:

  • 100g good quality dark chocolate (I use Green and Black’s 70%)
  • 1/2 thickened cream
  • 1/2 tsp natural peppermint extract (available from most supermarkets)

Place chocolate and cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir with metal spoon until melted. Stir in the peppermint extract. Pour into bowl and let cool. Refrigerate until firm enough to pipe or until when you need to use. If you are leaving the ganache in the fridge overnight, it may need 10 seconds in the microwave to be pliable enough to pipe.

Candy cane goodness...

To assemble, match up likely macaron pairs. Spoon ganache into a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle, and pipe small rounds of ganache onto a shell, then sandwich with another. Yum!

Deliciously Christmassy!

I hope everyone is enjoying the Christmas season so far, I cannot believe how quickly it has come! I think the best part of this time of the year is definitely the food, surprise, surprise! Although, it’s a scary reminder of how much I have to cook and bake before next Tuesday – luckily most of my shopping is done!

Happy Baking 🙂 X

Jaffa Swirl Macarons

I have made Jaffa macarons probably close to 10 times, but have somehow never managed to get them up on here! They are definitely a hit with young and old, hence why have made them countless times! This time, however, I wanted to do something a little different. I have seen the swirly effect on macarons before, and always thought it would be really difficult to pull off, but surprisingly, it wasn’t too bad 🙂 I was really, really happy with how the colour turned out, and will definitely be giving this technique a go again! Also, apologies for the lack of quality photos – I have been having some camera issues, so iPhone it is for now!

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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
  • Wilton’s colouring gel, orange

Preheat oven to 170c (160c fan forced). Spray four oven trays with cooking oil spray baround 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 cocoa 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. Open your piping bag, and fold 1/4 of it down over itself. With a skewer or cake tester, spead 3 thick lines of orange colouring gel around the piping bag.

Colouring the piping bag

Let the swirls begin...

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.

Swirly before...

Place in oven and bake for 8 minutes. Turn tray around in the oven and bake for another 7 minutes. To test, 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.

Swirly after...

Jaffa Ganache:

  • 100g good quality dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup thickened cream
  • Zest of 1 orange

Place chocolate, cream and zest in a medium saucepan. Cook over a medium heat until chocolate is melted. Place in a heatproof bowl and let it cool completely before refrigerating. If using that day, ensure ganache is firm enough to pipe. If not, ganache may need 5-10 seconds in the microwave before using.

To assemble, match up likely macaron shells. Place ganache in a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle, and pipe small rounds onto a shell. Sandwich with other shell.

The makings of ganache

Despite these macarons being one of the tastiest, they are also one of the easiest flavours to make! They are great for macaron beginners because you don’t need any complicated ingredients or equipment – the hardest part is probably melting the chocolate – easy 😉

Maple Bacon Macarons

My love of combining sweet and salty flavours is certainly well documented throughout this blog! Maple bacon is something I have wanted to try making for a while, but struggled about what I would do with it. So, I stuck to what I am best at, macarons.

I decided to use a cream cheese icing for the filling – it is definitely my favourite kind of icing, made even yummier with the addition of real maple syrup. The bacon, seriously, I could have happily eaten the whole tray (I know I say this with a lot of things!), but it was delicious – like a lolly with an awesome salt kick! Yum 🙂

I know there haven’t been as many posts as I would have liked in the past couple of months, but with Christmas coming up, there will probably be one nearly every day! I have just finished my Christmas baking list, and it’s safe to say I don’t think I will be leaving the kitchen for the month of December!

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

Preheat oven to 170c (160c fan forced). Spray four oven trays with cooking oil spray baround 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. 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.

Place in oven and bake for 8 minutes. Turn tray around in the oven and bake for another 7 minutes. To test, 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.

Cream Cheese and Maple Syrup Icing: (adapted from Martha Stewart):

  • 112g unsalted butter, chopped and softened
  • 250g cream cheese (I used Philadelphia)
  • 1 cup icing sugar mixture
  • 80ml real maple syrup (I used Queen brand)

Beat the butter and cream cheese on high until pale and creamy. Gradually add the icing sugar and maple syrup. Refrigerate until firm enough to pipe.

Maple Candied Bacon: (adapted from Food Networks Claire Robinson):

  • 250g middle bacon, chopped into 1cm x 1cm pieces
  • 1/4 cup real maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp wholegrain mustard (I know the recipe says to use dijon, but we didn’t have any and I love wholegrain mustard)

Line a baking tray with two layers of foil, and preheat the oven to 200c (395F). Spread the chopped bacon out on the tray, ensuring no pieces are overlapping. With a pastry brush, brush the bacon with the maple syrup and mustard mixture, ensuring each piece of bacon is evenly coated. Place in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until desired crispiness is achieved. You may have to turn some lighter pieces over at the 8 minutes mark. If so, brush with some more syrup. Let bacon cool for 5-10 minutes on the tray. Remove from tray and place in bowl. TIP – you do not want to let the candied bacon cool too much before you remove it from the foil, otherwise the foil will stick to the bacon and it will be really hard to get off. Leave about 25 squares of bacon, and finely chop up the rest so it will be small enough to put around the outside of the macaorn.Try not to eat it all at once 🙂 Trust me, it will be difficult!

Assembly:

Match up likely pairs of macaron shells. Fill a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle, with the maple cream cheese icing. Pipe small rounds of icing on the macaron shells, place a non-chopped piece of bacon on top, and pipe a tiny bit more icing on top of the bacon. Sandwich with the other macaron shell, and place a few finely chopped pieces of bacon around the outside of the macaron. Place macarons in an airtight container. As aforementioned, macarons are best when they are stored in the fridge, then brought down to room temperature to eat.

Anyone thinking of giving this delicious combination a try – do! It’s a perfect Christmas flavour as well, think Christmas hams basted in maple syrup!

Let the Christmas cooking begin!!

M&M Cookie Dough Macarons

Ever since I’d laid eyes on this cookie dough buttercream recipe from Raspberri Cupcakes and Annie’s Eats, I’ve wanted to make something a little out of the ordinary with it and I’ve had quite a few ideas. Due to of the colour of the buttercream, I really wanted to make something super bright. I thought a bright blue macaron shell and M&M’s would do the trick. So, here we are.

Often when I make bright macaron shells, the colour can bake out a little, but these babies stayed nice and blue, albeit a slight green tinge. It worked really well though, because of all the different colours of the M&Ms.

I used my usual macaron shell recipe, and added about half a teaspoon of Wilton’s colouring gel. I was careful not to go too crazy with the colouring – I wanted to avoid what happened with the Salt and Vinegar Macarons. As the blue gel is so concentrated, it was perfect 🙂

I lovvvvvvvvvvved the cookie dough buttercream! It is really easy to make, is so versatile (can’t wait to make cookie dough cupcakes!), and it doesn’t have scary raw egg (which is a bonus for me because I’m allergic!).

I totally recommend making this buttercream, because it is sooo easy! The list is endless with what you can make (think filled cupcakes, cookie sandwiches, layer cakes or even ice cream – or just eat it out of the bowl?), and you can a million types of chocolate and/or lollies 🙂 Yum!

Excuse the small post, but stay tuned for a nice big one for next week! 🙂

Orange Meringue Macarons

The past week has been very busy and quite horrible, hence the lack of post. But macarons always make horrible weeks slightly better. I made these delish orange meringue macarons a few days ago, and they were awesome, if I say so myself. At first I wasn’t sure whether to fold the meringue in with the curd for the filling, or do a swirl of merinuge on top of the shell and toast it. I decided with the latter. I really like how the meringue gives the macaron a bit of height and makes it look kind of majestic. And extra yum.

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 Wilton’s food colouring gel in orange

Preheat oven to 170c (160c fan forced). Spray four oven trays with cooking oil spray baround 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 gel 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.

Place in oven and bake for 8 minutes. Turn tray around in the oven and bake for another 7 minutes. To test, 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. If you are not making the macarons with the meringue on top, they will 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. However, if you do have the swirl of meringue on top of the shell, expect them to last about 2-3 days. This is because there is a lot of moisture in the meringue, and if left too long, will make the shell soggy and it will crumble to pieces when you go to pick it up. Macarons taste best when they are stored in the fridge, then brought down to room temperature to eat.

 

Orange Curd:

  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup (165g) caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup (80g) chilled, unsalted butter
  • Zest and juice of 2 oranges
  • 2 tsp lemon juice

Whisk the whole eggs, yolks and sugar in a saucepan until smooth, then place saucepan over a low heat. Add the butter, juice and zest and whisk continuously until thickened. You really need to be careful here, especially with the heat because it is so easy for the eggs to cook – then the curd will be lumpy. Don’t freak out if you have a little bit of cooked egg, just strain it through a fine sieve when it has thickened. Stir in the lemon juice – this is just to give it the acidity that curd needs and orange can’t always provide. Pour into a clean, airtight container (preferably do a quick sterilise with some boiling water first) and leave at room temperature until completely cooled. Place in the fridge until it is firm enough to pipe. Curd will keep for 2 weeks in the fridge.

Italian Meringue:

  • 1 egg white
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp water

Place egg white in a clean, dry bowl. Place sugar and water in a saucepan, and over medium heat, stir with a metal spoon until sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture has formed a syrup. Begin beating the egg white, whilst slowly pouring the sugar syrup into the bowl. The mixture will become thick and very glossy. Beat until stiff peaks form.

Assembly:

Once you have matched up your macaron shells, you can start piping the orange curd. Fill a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle and pipe 1/4-1/2 tsp of curd onto each shell, and sandwich with another. Piping curd can be a bit more difficult than ganache or buttercream simply because it is runnier. If you find your curd needs to thicken, stir in a teaspoon or two of cornflour. The trick with piping curd is to only use a small amount, and to refrigerate them for as long as possible before serving.

To pipe the meringue, spoon the egg white mixture into a piping bag fitted with a small star nozzle (the Multix brand bags come with this if you don’t have your own). Pipe a small swirl on top of the macaron shell. If you have a blowtorch, lightly toast the meringue. It’s fine if you don’t, you can either place them under the grill really quickly (a bit risky considering the curd), but they still look great without the toasted-ness. Pop macarons in an airtight container and refrigerate straight away if you’re not serving them straight away.

 

Enjoy! X.

Grape and Strawberry Nerds Multicoloured Macarons

Who doesn’t love the sweet, soury candy that is the famous Wonka Nerd! I have been thinking about doing some candy flavoured macarons for a while, and Nerds are definitely one of my favourites! Since I had never made multicoloured shells before, I decided to stick to just two colours, the classic pink/purple grape and strawberry Nerds combo.

I was a bit worried about the two colours mixing together, and also having two quality batches! Luckily, the macaron gods were on my side today. However, the gorgeous pastel colours that I had before I put them in the oven did cook out a little bit 😦 I should know this by now…!

For the filling, I made a half buttercream, half ganache. I melted the Nerds down with some cream, made a basic buttercream, and then combined the two. It was insanely glossy and smooth, and had a subtle soury tang from the nerds. I’m surprised that there was any left to actually fill the shells with 😛 Fatty.

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.

Obviously, I made two batches for these macarons. Once you have made the first batch, leave it in a bowl, and give it a stir every 5 minutes or so.

  • 135g almond meal
  • 135g icing sugar
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 45g egg whites
  • 50g egg whites
  • 40g water
  • 1/2 tsp Wilton’s Violet food colouring
  • 1/2 tsp Wilton’s Pink food colouring (if you don’t think there is enough, just add more. The colour in mine did cook out a little as you can see).

Preheat oven to 170c (160c fan forced). 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 until it is hot and syrupy (if it slightly burns my tongue, it’s done!). If syrup becomes white and thick, start again!

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 alternate colours into a piping bag (one spoon pink, one spoon purple) 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. Gently tap the bottom of the trays and let them sit for about half an hour, or until mixture is dry to the touch.

Place in oven and bake for 8 minutes. Turn tray around in the oven and bake for another 7 minutes. To test, 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 24 large macarons, and about 50 smaller macarons. Store in the fridge, and bring down to room temperature to serve. 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.

Nerds Buttercream:

  • 175g salted butter – softened, not melted
  • 2 cups icing sugar mixture (I kept 1/2 cup for after I had added the cream, because I didn’t want it to become too watery)
  • 300ml thickened cream
  • 1 1/2 boxes grape and strawberry Nerds (I had a bit of a problem and couldn’t find the regular sized boxed, only the multi packs. If you have the same problem, grab 2 packs, and use three small boxes of each flavour to melt down into the cream).
  • 1 extra box grape and strawberry Nerds

Combine cream and 1 1/2 (3 small boxes of each colour) Nerds in a small saucepan, over a low to medium heat until the nerds melt and the cream slightly thickens. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate. Beat butter until pale and fluffy. Gradually add the icing sugar, but keep 1/2 cup for after the cream has been added. Once 1 1/2 cups icing sugar has been added, slowly add the Nerds infused cream.

Assembly:

Match the macaron shells with likely pairs. Spoon Nerds buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle. Pipe half a teaspoon of buttercream onto a shell, and sprinkle with Nerds. Pipe another half teaspoon on top of the Nerds, and sandwich with the other shell. Bon Appetit!

The April Mactweets monthly Mac Attack Challenge was the main reason for these macarons – this month’s theme is ‘Colour My World.’ This meant that you needed to have at least 2 colours in your shells, or a different colour for the top and bottom shells. Check out Mactweets here to see what other macaron obessionists have been whisking up, there are some amazing creations out there!

If you love sour lollies and flavours, this is the macaron for you. The smooth buttercream combined with pings of tangy nerds are seriously a match made in macaron heaven! Enjoy 🙂

Our Date with Adriano Zumbo at Fenix Restaurant

I was lucky enough to receive a ticket to ‘High Tea with Adriano Zumbo’ for my birthday from a close friend, and what a great day it was! This event was held as part of the 2012 Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, at Fenix Restaurant and Events, which is owned by Masterchef Australia’s Gary Mehigan.

The highlight of the afternoon was of course the delectable treats we got to sample from Adriano Zumbo, and meeting the King of the Macaron himself. There were many options on offer, including ‘Zumbarons’, Decorated Chocolate Fondant, Citrus Tarts, Chocolate Marshmallow Tart and an array of savoury pies and sausage rolls. I think I tried all of these things :O

My favourite Zumbaron was definitely the Cola one! It was really buttery but still tasted of Cola – so weird, yet so good. The Salted Butter Caramel was also amazing, but who doesn’t love Salted Caramel?!

Zumbo also did a demonstration making vanilla custard macarons, then he deep fried them! So weird. He is a very shy person, but he was really happy to answer anyone’s questions, and talked us all through the processes of creating the humble Macaron. One thing I learnt was that whilst the Italian meringue method is best used for making sweet macaron flavours, when attempting to make a less sweet version or even a savoury flavour, the Swiss meringue method is the best to use. His reason for this is that there is simply less sugar in Swiss meringue. I have never tried making Swiss meringue before, and it sounds a bit tricky. You apparently need to heat the egg whites in a waterbath until they reach a certain temp, then beat them back down to room temperature to create the meringue. Sounds complicated…

We had a great day at Fenix, and tasted some amazing sweets! It was awesome to meet Zumbo, he was happy to have a conversation with everyone there and to pose for photos…AND…contain your excitement fellow Melbournians…!!! We should expect an Adriano Zumbo store, possibly in Fitzroy or South Yarra, by the end of the year!!! Yessssssssssssssss 😀

Aussie Green and Gold Vegemite Macarons

I know Australia Day was last week, but I hardly had any time to do anything for the occasion then, so here we are! I had a few ideas floating around, and I wanted to do something a little bit different, but still reflecting an Aussie theme obviously. I hadn’t made macarons in a couple of weeks, so I decided to try the vegemite macarons from Zumbo’s crazy cookbook! (page 27 for those who have it). FYI, if you have never heard of Zumbo, he is basically the Aussie version of Willy Wonka, and the king of the macaron. Check out his amazing creations and stores here.

I thought making the macarons bright green and gold would look fantastic, and I was so happy with them, and their flavour, too. I’m not a huge, huge fan of Vegemite at the best of times, but the filling is quite subtle, especially when coupled with the sweetness of the macaron shell itself. I was going to call it Vegemite Toast, because the ganache has breadcrumbs in it, however they are not as pronounced when sandwiched between the macaron shells. Once again, if you don’t know what Vegemite is, well, you’re not really missing out on much! It is an Australian yeast spread, which has an extremely concentrated and intense savoury/soury flavour, it’s a bit hard to explain exactly what it tastes like. I always see Americans on TV trying HUGE spoons of Vegemite, and clearly hating it. A tip – do not have too much, and have it with a lot of butter, on toast, and it isn’t too bad at all! Anyway, getting back on track…

I also decided to make lamington macarons, too, another traditional Aussie treat consisting of sponge cake dipped in chocolate, covered in coconut and filled with raspberry jam. Unfortunately, I think I may have added a bit too much cocoa to the meringue mixture, and most of the shells came out looking more like pancakes 😦 I did manage to salvage a couple of half-decent ones for a photo, but they pretty much crumbled straight after. On the bright side, however, they tasted AMAZING. Definitely one to give a go again.

Macarons: (obviously I made 2 separate batches for this recipe)

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
  • Food colouring and flavouring (optional)

Preheat oven to 170c (160c fan forced). Line three oven trays 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 until it is hot and syrupy (if it slightly burns my tongue, it’s done!). If white, powdery bubbles begin to form around the edges, start again!

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 colouring/flavouring, now’s your moment. 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. Gently tap the bottom of the trays and let them sit for about half an hour, or until mixture is dry to the touch.

Place in oven and bake for 8 minutes. Turn tray around in the oven and bake for another 7 minutes. To test, 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 large macarons, and about 25 smaller macarons.

Macaron fillings and toppings:

Lamington – Add 1 tsp good quality cocoa to meringue mixture, before combined with almond meal, icing sugar and 45g egg whites. After the macarons have been piped onto the tray, sprinkle with shredded coconut. To make the ganache, melt 100g good quality dark chocolate with half a cup of thickened (whipping) cream, and half a cup of shredded coconut until smooth. Spoon 2/3 tsp of ganache onto 1 macaron shell, spoon 1/2 tsp of raspberry jam on top of the ganache, and sandwich with another shell.

Green and Gold Vegemite – For the shells, add 1/2 tsp of Wilton’s colouring gel in Lemon Yellow (I do think that supermarket food colouring liquid will change the consistency of the shells, as you would need a lot to achieve such a bright yellow), to the meringue mixture. For the ganache, you will need 95g of thickened (whipping) cream, 112g good quality white chocolate, and 20g vegemite (you could probably use Marmite if Vegemite is not available), 25g breadcrumbs and 62g butter, softened – not melted. Put the cream in a saucepan, over a medium heat and bring to the boil. Have the chocolate and vegemite ready in a bowl. Pour the hot cream over the choc/vegemite mixture and leave for 2 minutes. Stir until mixture is smooth, and stir in the breadcrumbs. When the mixture has cooled down a bit, blitz in the butter with a stick mixer (if you do not have a stick mixer, make sure your butter is really, really soft and just whisk it in while it is still warm until smooth. Add green colouring (again, I used Wilton’s gel). Cool ganache until solid enough to pipe. Fill a piping bag fitted with around nozzle. Pipe approx. 1 tsp on a shell, then sandwich with another. (I did half Zumbo’s recipe here).

Please don’t be put of making these by my explanation of Vegemite, because when combined with white chocolate and butter – it tastes pretty great!

Check out MACTWEETS Mac Attack Challenge – an awsome blog that honours the amazingly delish macaron every month! For March, it will be Macaron Day (on the 20th). I have entered these little babies in the challenge…go you happy little vegemites!

Happy belated Australia Day!!!

(P.S. I will be overseas for 3 weeks now, so stay tuned for a post after then!)

Chocolate and Caramel Cake with Salted Caramel and Choc-Orange Pisatchio Macarons

Whilst this cake/macaron combo turned out relatively well in the end, it wasn’t what I originally set out to do. It was my Dad and Nanna’s birthdays and I envisioned this amazing sky high macaron tower as the centrepiece of the dinner table. Unfortunately, that was not to be L I began assembling the tower, and all was going well until I got about half way up, and they all started falling off. Boo L What to do with 30 half butchered macarons? Time for Plan B!

I didn’t actually make the cake part myself – Mum did! It’s a pretty simple and really nice chocolate cake, and we just jazzed it up a bit. So we made some salted caramel to smother inbetween the cake, and some chocolate ganache to cover the whole cake with.

As my Musk Layer Cake looked great with the macarons standing on top, I decided to do the same with this one. Although I had so many macarons that I fully covered the top of the cake, as well as the sides. I had a bit of trouble making the macarons stick to the ganache, hence the millions of skewers in the photos. If I was doing this again, I would probably make the ganache the day before to make sure it is really thick.

It was yummy, although this chocolate cake is quite light and more of a sponge cake. A richer, more of a mud style cake would also work really well, and this chocolate cupcake recipe from Taste.com is pretty awesome – just bake in a round tin instead of a cupcake tin.

Mum’s Chocolate Cake: (we doubled the recipe and made 2 cakes)

  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2 tbs cocoa
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 drops vanilla extract
  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk

For the ganache:

  • 200g chocolate (we used half dark, half milk), chopped
  • 1 cup cream

For the caramel, boil can of condensed milk for 2 ½ – 3 hours. To make the ganache,  combine chocolate and cream in a saucepan until melted and smooth. Let it set in the fridge for 2-3 hours.

Preheat oven to 190c (180c fan forced). Grease and line a round or ring baking tin. Place cocoa, eggs, vanilla extract, flour, sugar and milk in a large bowl. Melt butter and pour over all the other ingredients. Beat for about three minutes, or until well combined. Pour mixture into tin, and bake for 40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool in tin for 5 minutes and turn onto a wire rack.

Once the caramel is done, let the can cool down then pour contents into a bowl. Add 2/3 tsp salt flakes and stir to combine. With a round edged knife or spatula, spread a thick layer of caramel on top of one of the cakes, preferably while it is still warm.

Sandwich the other cake on top. Once ganache is set, gently cover the cake with a round edged knife, or a spatula. The ganache will probably drip a little bit down the sides of the cake.

Gently push the edge of macarons onto the edges and the outside of the cake. I had a few problems with my ganache being a bit too runny and the macarons falling off occasionally. However, as I said before, I think if you make the ganache a day ahead, it would be a lot thicker and you may not have that problem.

Macarons: (obviously I made 2 separate batches for this recipe)

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
  • Food colouring and flavouring (optional) In the pistachio ones I used a tiny bit of Wilton’s colouring gel, and in the Salted Caramel, half a tsp of cocoa.

Preheat oven to 170c (160c fan forced). Line three oven trays with baking paper and set aside. Place almond meal and icing sugar in a large bowl, and sift together 4 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 until it is hot and syrupy (if it slightly burns my tongue, it’s done!). If white, powdery bubbles begin to form around the edges, start again!

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 colouring/flavouring, now’s your moment. 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 $5. You should be able to find them in the baking aisle). Lock the bag by spinning the top around 4 times. Pipe 4-5cm rounds on the oven trays prepared earlier(I usually make them smaller, about 3cm, but I thought bigger ones would look better on top of the cake). Gently tap the bottom of the trays and let them sit for about half an hour, or until mixture is dry to the touch.

Place in oven and bake for 8 minutes. Turn tray around in the oven and bake for another 7 minutes. To test, 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 large macarons, and about 25 smaller macarons.

Macaron fillings and toppings:

Choc-Orange and Pistachio – crush a teaspoon of pistachio nuts in the food processor or with a mortar and pestle and sprinkle on top just after macarons have been piped onto the baking trays. For the filling, combine 100g of good quality dark chocolate, ½ cup of cream and the zest of half of an orange in a saucepan until smooth. Let it set in the fridge for 2-3 hours. Fill macarons with a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle and pipe half a teaspoon on the macaron, sandwiching it with another.

Salted Caramel – Boil an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk for 2 ½ to 3 hours to make the caramel.When the can has cooled down, pour into a bowl and add 2/3 tsp of salt (sea salt flakes are best)and stir to combine. Spoon ½ teaspoon of caramel onto a macaron and sandwich with another.

So, whilst it wasn’t what I was hoping to do, it didn’t turn out too bad at all 🙂

Happy Baking!

 

 

 

Musk Layered Cake with Musky Macarons + Macaron tips

As an avid reader of awesome baking blog raspberri cupcakes, I have soooooo wanted to try doing a layered cake similar to the Orange Cake with Fruit Tingles Icing. It was my friends birthday, and I knew she loved Musk Lifesavers, so I gave it a go – and it actually didn’t look too bad. I wasn’t expecting amazing results here – as I have never, ever made layered cake before. And, with my complete lack of artistic raw talent, I just didn’t know what it would turn out like!

I adapted the cake and icing recipes from raspberri cupcakes, but obviously didn’t add the orange. I have used this recipe for cupcakes before as well, and it’s great. I made three layers, in three different shades of pink, and they looked pretty good when it all came together. There is a hell of a lot of butter and sugar in the buttercream icing, not to mention the musk essence and musk lifesavers, too! It was a very, very sweet cake, which I guess in a way is good because you only need a little bit, and it will last longer 🙂

Having the macarons on top of the cake was an idea I had seen on raspberri cupcakes, too. The macarons also have a musky flavour to them, but instead of putting the buttercream icing in them, I decided on a vanilla bean cream. I just thought it would be way too much. The cream worked really well, as I didn’t add any extra sugar, just a tiny bit of vanilla bean paste so it wasn’t too sweet. It cut through the sweetness of the buttercream really nicely.

Here’s the recipe!

Musk Layered Cake:

For the cake: (cake can be made one day ahead – just wrap in cling film and refrigerate)

  • 165g unsalted butter, chopped and softened – not melted
  • 3/4cup caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 300g self-raising flour (2 cups), sifted
  • Pink food colouring (I used Wilton’s food colouring gel, it’s great)

For the buttercream icing:

  • 350g salted butter, chopped and softened – not melted
  • 750g soft icing sugar (6 cups)
  • Pink food colouring gel
  • 2 small drops of musk essence, you can adjust to taste
  • 4 rolls of musk lifesavers, crushed in the food processor almost to a powder, but you still want some chunky bits

Vanilla Bean Cream:

  • 100ml thickened cream, for whipping
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste (I love vanilla bean paste, because you get the little vanilla flecks without having to scrape the seeds out of a bean, not to mention how expensive the beans themselves cost)

Preheat the oven to 190c (180c fan forced). Grease and line a round baking tin (I only have one, so I had to bake 3 cakes). Cream butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until pale and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, and beat well to combine. Add vanilla. Add flour and mix until well combined. Measure the mixture, and divide into three separate bowls (my mixture equated to three very generous cups). In each bowl, add small amounts of colouring until you have 3 different shades of pink.

Pour the lightest mixture into the tin (or the three mixtures into three tins), smooth with a spatula so that the mixture is spread evenly, and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining cake mixtures.

For the buttercream icing, remove butter from fridge 45 minutes before use. Beat butter until it is pale and fluffy. Gradually add the icing sugar and beat in well until smooth. Icing should not be runny, but should not hold its shape, either. Add musk essence and crushed lifesavers, and mix well.

To make the vanilla bean cream, beat cream and vanilla together until stiff peaks form, and it is solid enough to sandwich between macarons without dripping from the sides.

To assemble cake, begin with the lightest coloured cake. Sandwich together cakes with thick layers of icing, with either a spatula or a small rounded knife. Have a glass of warm water on hand to dip your knife into, as it makes it a lot easier to produce smooth icing.

Now for the macarons!

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
  • Food colouring and flavouring (optional) In these ones I used 2 drops musk essence, and a tiny bit of colouring gel

Preheat oven to 170c (160c fan forced). Line three oven trays with baking paper and set aside. Place almond meal and icing sugar in a large bowl, and sift together 4 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 until it is hot and syrupy (if it slightly burns my tongue, it’s done!). If white, powdery bubbles begin to form around the edges, start again!

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 colouring/flavouring, now’s your moment. 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 $5. You should be able to find them in the baking aisle :)). Lock the bag by spinning the top around 4 times. Pipe 4-5cm rounds on the oven trays prepared earlier(I usually make them smaller, about 3cm, but I thought bigger ones would look better on top of the cake). Gently tap the bottom of the trays and let them sit for about half an hour, or until mixture is dry to the touch.

 Place in oven and bake for 8 minutes. Turn tray around in the oven and bake for another 7 minutes. To test, 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 large macarons, and about 25 smaller macarons.

To fill, place the vanilla bean cream in a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle. Pipe about 1/2 – 2/3 tsp of cream onto one half of the macarons, and sandwich with the other half. When done, very gently push the edge of the macarons into the edge of the cake (do this when icing is still pliable), to make a circle around the edge of the cake.

I can’t wait to try some different versions of this cake! It is a first, and the raspberri cupcakes Orange Cake with Fruit Tingles Icing leaves my baby for dead! I still love it anyway.

  

Some tips for macaron making:

Once you have made these a few times, usually you will be able to tell if they are going to work or not. If there is absolutely no form in the mixture, good luck to you! And if it is really, really grainy and you’re having trouble pushing it out of the piping bag – good luck to you too! But please don’t let that discourage you from making them, they do take a while to master. I’ve made probably close to 100 batches, and sometimes they still don’t work out!

NEVER make macarons when you’re stressed or tired! I can almost guarantee they will not work. Make sure you have plenty of time.

When you’re making macarons, a rule of thumb is to measure everything exactly. However, if you’re using quite a bit of flavouring and/or colouring, put an extra 5-8g of almond meal in. Any extra liquid is likely to change the consistency of the mixture.

It is macaRON. Not MacaROON!

Snickers Macarons filling:

I know in the last post I said I would put the recipe up for the Snickers macarons. So, in the macaron mixture just add 1 and 1/2 tsp of good quality cocoa.

For the peanut dulce de leche, boil an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk for 3 hours. Pour into a mixing bowl and add half a cup of salted and crushed peanuts and combine well. To make the ganache, simply combine 100g good quality chocolate (I usually use dark, or half dark, half milk) and half a cup of cream in a small saucepan until smooth and glossy. Pour in bowl and refrigerate until set (2-3 hours). Spoon 1/2 tsp of peanut dulce de leche, and 1/2 tsp of ganache on one half of a macaron, and sandwich with another. Yum!