Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Dainty Macaron for a Non-Dainty World.

I am ANGRY....wind and rain make me ANGRY. Show dare it shove me as I walk along unassumingly carrying my million heavy bags. I hate how it makes a tough run even bloomin’ tougher; I could run alllll day if it weren’t for wind...oh and hills, yes they do also get in the way somewhat. And I HATE how I spend my precious time playing with expensive face paint and fancypants hairspray in an attempt to make me feel like I can walk down the street with a spring in my step only to step outside into the washing machine that is the current climate and end up looking like Marilyn Manson with a hangover. Just HOW is one supposed to maintain composure and serene Audrey Hepburn glamour in SCOTLAND in the WINTER.

The thing that makes it eeeeeven worse is that all the American blogs that I read, that are wonderful don’t get me wrong, buuut, they are FULL of “Ow Ma gaaawd I’m soooooo over sumeeeeer....cannot WAIT for faaaaaall”, pumpkins, apples, halloweeen “I can’t waaaait for crisp faaaall, weather”, “too hot, too hot”. SHUSH. Again, it is not those jolly American folks I am bashing...it’s mmmmmy lack of a summer so hot that I get bored of it and an autumn that is crisp and frosty and all orange sunrises aaand pumpkin cream cheese muffins.

So before it goes any further and I waste any more of my carefully chosen and applied mascara, I might have to just plain give up the whole serene glamour thing when the opening of the front door is involved....or perhaps just give up opening the front door altogether.

In order to maintain the balance between wellies and cagoules, I thought I might have to amp up the glamour factor indoors....hence these dainty little bites. Not the sturdy, Famous Five worthy Macaroons but the beautiful little French delicacies that kinda were ‘the thing’ a whiiiile ago...but y’know, it takes a while for trends to reach this far north. With Love and Cake.

recipe from Delicious magazine. 

A few notes:
  • You can, of course, flavour these little treats and take the in endless different directions. For now I will stick with telling you about these plain almondy chaps and keep you updated of any flavour revelations I have in the future.
  • Don’t worry if you don’t have a food processor just go straight to the sieving part. And at this point, don’t worry if some of the ground almonds simple won’t pass through the sieve, go as far as you can and tip what is left in the sieve straight into the bowl.
  • If you don't have a piping bag, why not try and fashion one out of a large plastic 'sandwich bag' by filling it with the mixture when required, snipping off one of the bottom corners and progressing as you would with a normal piping bag. You don't even have to wash it up...brill.
Makes 20-30
You will need

2 baking sheets, lined with greaseproof paper
a piping bag with a 1cm nozzle

For the biscuits
175g icing sugar
125g ground almonds
3 egg whites
25g caster sugar

For the buttercream
150g butter, at room temperature
few drops of almond extract (optional)
100g icing sugar

  • Preheat the oven to 160°c.
  • Pulse together the icing sugar and ground almonds in food processor to make sure everything is as fine as possible.
  • Then pass the powder through a sieve into a bowl.
  • In another, big and clean, bowl, whisk the egg whites until they have soft peaks.
  • Keep whisking while adding the caster sugar a bit at a time until the mix is stiff and glossy.
  • Add half the almond mixture to the egg whites and gently fold in.
  • Add the second half and keep folding until the dry mixture is fully combined with the egg whites.
  • Transfer the mixture to your piping bag and pipe 3cm blobs onto your lined baking sheets, leaving fairly big gaps in between each one.
  • Leave the blobs for 15 minutes to form a 'skin', which basically means their surface toughens up a tiny bit.
  • After their rest, bake for 12-15 minutes, when they should be puffed up a bit without much of a change in colour.
  • Leave the biscuits to cool completely on a wire rack.
  • Meanwhile you can make the icing; simply beat the butter until nice and soft.
  • Beat in the almond extract and icing sugar, bit by bit, until you have light and smooth paste.
  • When the biscuits are cold, sandwich pairs together with the buttercream; don't skrimp you should have plenty to go round.
  • There you are...a bit of daintyness in the raging world. 

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