Archive | March, 2012

White Chocolate and Raspberry Macarons

18 Mar

It’s Mothering Sunday! A time when kids of all ages set about spoiling mum, traditionally by making her breakfast.  This post was supposed to be a gorgeous homemade granola, honey yogurt and fruit salad parfait that was going to be served at a surprise brunch for my mum-in-law, but plans can change on you even when you thought you had planned carefully. So rather than a brunch we were now going to be doing a tea. As luck would have it I was working on the Saturday before, so I needed something quick and easy to whip together.  So I began the great internet search to something that would take no time to pull together while still having a sock knock off-able effect.

But everywhere I looked, no matter how hard I tried to escape it, there was only one baked good that popped up everywhere. French macarons!  They are not easy.  They are not quick.  They are fiddly, pernickety, impossible to get right little (%&$^)*&s! But they’re soft and colourful and pretty and oh so gorgeously feminine and just so 100% perfect for mother’s day they made everything else look … well … clunky.  I knew that despite never attempting them before, I had to give it a shot.

Ingredients:

  • 130 gm icing sugar
  • 110 gm ground almonds
  • 105 gm egg white (this sounds ridiculously exact, but with these little  (%&$^)*&s, apparently you need to be.)
  • 65 gm caster sugar
  • red/pink food colouring
  • 100 gm white chocolate
  • 50ml double cream
  • some seedless raspberry jam

For the first time here on Fudgingood, we’re going to talk about hardware.  You’re going to need two really heavy flat baking trays, parchment paper, a food processor, a hand or stand mixer, a piping bag and a sieve. Cut two pieces of parchment paper to the exact size of the the trays so it lies completely flat and line each tray with them.   I knew there was no WAY I could keep the cookies the same size, so I took a sherry glass and used it to draw twenty circles on each piece of paper.

Start by separating your eggs and measuring out the egg white.  Now 105gms is about 3 eggs worth of white.  Then let the egg sit on the counter for a good long while until it is at room temperature. This helps them gain more volume when you whip them.

Next combine the ground almonds and the icing sugar in a food processor and whiz for about a minute. You’re aiming for a seriously fine, seriously combined powder.  Then you need to sieve the powder into a bowl.  .   . then you need to do it again.  .   . and again.  .   .  I said they were pernickety already right?

Now beat your eggs until foamy and then bit by bit add the caster sugar and continue whisking until the eggs reach a soft peak stage.  Then add in the food colouring.

Now pour the icing sugar/almond mix on top of the eggs and fold in the mix.  The folding bit is important.  If you stir you will lose all the puffiness. Then add the batter to a piping bag.   Then holding the piping bag horizontal to the tray pipe the batter into the circles.  Then bash the trays on the counter top three or four times to rid the batter of air bubble that will cause your precious beauties to crack rather than form beautiful shapely domes.

Now heat the oven to 150°C BUT leave the cookies out on the counter for half an hour to form a skin that will stop them from spreading. After half an hour lower the temperature to 130°C and put the trays into the oven. Put the macarons in the oven to cook while the cools from 150°C to 130°C.  Leave them to bake for 15 minutes and then swap the trays around to ensure even cooking and bake to a further 15mins. After half an hour try and lift one of the cookies from the paper.  If it’s cooked it will lift easily,  if it’s sticks, put it back in the oven for 5 minutes and then test again.  Once they’re cooked remove from the oven and let cool before you fill them.

To make the ganache chop the white chocolate finely and put into a bowl, then heat the cream to boiling and pour it over the chocolate.  Allow the chocolate to melt for a minute or so and then whisk to combine the two and let the mixture cool.  While it ‘s cooling pair each of the macarons by size and add about half a teaspoon of jam to one of them.  Then add the cooled ganache to the other half and sandwich together.

So there you have it.  It turns out they actually are easy and they’re quick and I will certainly be making them again, because they will leave you SERIOUSLY sockless, but they’re still fiddly little (%&$^)*&s,

Confession Time:  Now as you can see from the pic above, the chocolate ganache is sticky and doesn’t really want to play the game, so I filled half the macarons with Chantilly Cream.  What I only discovered when cleaning up was that if you mix the ganache with the whipped cream you get a light fluffy piece of heaven to fill your macarons.  I HIGHLY recommend trying it when you make your next batch.  I’m certainly going to.

Tear and Share Bread

4 Mar

There is something wonderfully decadent about weekend breakfasts. Especially when the day is grey and rainy and you have a full day of nothing to do stretching out in front of you. If you’re like me though, you’ve probably had your fill of full English fry ups. Don’t get me wrong, I love bacon just as much, if not more, than the next born again carnivore, but sometimes I want something a little less greasy. I also want something a little more satisfying and indulgent than muesli and this bread is the perfect balance between the two.

This is definitely a lazy morning breakfast, if you’re rushing to get somewhere it might not be the breakfast for you. It doesn’t require much work on your part, but it does need 40 minutes or so to rise and about 20 minutes to bake.

Again this is one of those wonderful recipes where you can adjust it to suit your own tastes and use whatever you have to hand. Start with

  • 1 quantity of your favourite bread dough (bought, made up from a packet or from scratch)
  • 60gm of butter
  • ¼ cup of sugar
  • 2 Tbs of cinnamon
  • ½ cup of toasted walnuts
  • 2 tsps of vanilla essence

Melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the vanilla essence. Roll the dough into a rough rectangle and then brush on the butter, leaving a space of about two centimeters on one of the long sides of the rectangle . Sprinkle on the sugar, the cinnamon and the walnuts.

Then starting on the side where the butter is brushed to the edge, roll the dough into a long cigar shape finishing on the side where you left the space.

Using a sharp knife dusted in flour cut the cigar into seven or eight equal pieces and place in a pie or spring form tin.

Cover the dough with a tea towel and leave in a warm place to rise for about 40 minutes. This is usually where I take the dog for a walk while the BH serenades me with sonorous snoring from the bedroom.

Once the dough has doubled in size, preheat the oven to about 220ºC and bake the bread for about 20 minutes.

Once the bread is baked, leave to cool for about 10 minutes then tear off a hunk and serve hot with coffee and orange juice.

Now while breakfast is all very well this also makes a great alternative to dinner party rolls. It also works as side at a BBQ (Braai) and as tea bread. All you have to do is juggle up the dough you use and filling.  In this one, I spread a layer of sun-dried tomato pesto on wholemeal dough and topped it with cheese and fresh basil. On other occasions I peal, core and chop 2-3 apples and then soften them with some butter and vanilla essence in a saucepan on medium heat for about 10 mins and then puree.  Spread this puree on the bread and sprinkle on some cinnamon.  Sprinkle the top of the rolls with sugar before baking and enjoy.  The possibilities are endless.

oh.four.one.

the port elizabeth blogger

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Banting recipes – low carb, sugar free and gluten free. Banting recipes I have tried - those that have failed and those that have been a success! I am not a dietician, I'm just a gal who loves to cook banting food, and keep it as good as possible! Obviously all recommendations throughout this and other posts are not intended as an alternative, treatment, or prevention of diseases, medical treatments or advice. The reader takes full responsibility for counting nutritional information such as carbs, while trying any and all recipes :-)

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