Tuesday, 24 April 2012


Hello, yes oh hiii. Today my dear I have for you...Macaroooooooons. Not Macarons. Nono not those delicate little French treats that have been oh so ‘trendy yah’ for a while now and come in pink and yellow and green and purple and rainbow stripes (probably) and are so achingly pretty that they make you wish you lived in Paris and just wandered round all day in the sun with a box of twelve, that you probably paid 50 Euros for, hooked under your arm. Please don’t read snobbery or rolley eyeyness into this teeny little rant...it’s only that I haven’t quite mastered these yet. You can be sure that when I do I shall be waxing lyrical about their wonderfulness, and lamenting that I am 2 years late to the macaron party.

I digress. Yes macarooooooons; as in the veryvery English version that the Famous Five ate platefuls of, with much ginger beer of course. I think I’m right in saying, and either way this will prove my status as the MOST uncool person that there ever was, that it’s in Five on Finniston Farm that they outrage a café owner by eating her entire stash in one sitting. Fatties.

I digress. Again. Instead of light-as-air little meringue-ey bites, these are bendy and chewy and have a strong hint of almond...no pistachio, no raspberry, no rainbows. Just a really good biscuit.

I guess the differences between these two types of confectionary are quite a good representation of the stereotypical differences between the English and the French...our version is not stylish but sturdy, not fancy but pretty, not complex but predictable, and really likes to sit next to a cup of tea or a cold glass of ginger beer. A bit like you really. HA jokes. With Love and Cake. 

From The Hamlyn All Colour Book of Tea Time Treats.

A few notes:
  • Traditionally these are baked onto rice paper, which is edible. If you can find this, BRILL, tell me where you got it. If like me, you can't, or like me, can't be bothered to really look particularly hard, no probs, just make sure you grease your baking tray well and remove them from it as gently and as soon out of the oven as poss, using something flat and thin like a palate knife. This is all because they don't form a crust on their bottom which means they're sticky little blighters.
  • To get the most even shape and size of biscuits, it's best to use a piping bag, but do not panic if this isn't an option for you, a teaspoon will do just fine. You can see from my pics that a piping bag does not guarantee cheffy perfection anyway. 
Makes 10-12
You will need

a large baking sheet, well greased with butter or oil

100g ground almonds
100g caster sugar
2 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon almond essence
10-12 whole almonds

  • First job, preheat the oven to 180°c.
  • Mix the almonds and sugar together in a medium bowl.
  • Then, in a larger bowl, whisk the egg whites until nice and stiff and you can do the holding-it-upside-down-over-your-head-thing.
  • Gently fold the almond mixture and essence into the egg whites with a metal spoon.
  • Add the mixture to your piping bag if using and pipe or spoon about 10 rounds onto your baking sheet.
  • Press a whole almond onto the top of each disc and get them into the oven.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, until just golden and slightly firm.
  • Remove from the baking tray (see note) to a wire rack to cool. Ooooor eat, asap, on Finniston Farm.

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