Chocolate Peppermint Macarons

My all time favourite ice-cream flavour is mint chocolate chip. I always pretend to decide, and that I cannot make up my mind between all the other flavours, but really, mint chocolate chip is where my loyalty lies. It’s sweet and creamy but refreshing at the same time, and I have yet to find another flavour that does that… And that in a nutshell is why I love mint chocolate chip.

On another note, when I decided I had enough time, the kitchen was clean and my parents were out, (I’m a very messy cook, and macarons are definitely not a no-mess  bake!), mint chocolate chip macarons were the only way to go. I’m always cautious with using mint, because I always make it too strong so it takes like toothpaste, or you can’t taste it at all. I have made countless toothpaste flavoured hot chocolates, which is not what I want after a hard day at school at all. But I was careful this time, and they didn’t taste like I’d got lazy and sandwiched them together with toothpaste instead of ganache (woop!) It was a big achievement I must admit.

It’s another Edd Kimber adaptation recipe, I really love his books! I went to the Chocolate Unwrapped festival in Covent Garden a few weeks ago. 2 things happened: I ate so much chocolate I thought I might burst, and I met Edd himself! I spotted him out of the corner of my eye and realised I NEEDED to get him to sign my brand new copy of ‘Say it with cake’. So I plucked up all my courage, ignored the VIP only sign and asked him to, and he did! It made my day…

Edd Kimber

Anyway, here is the recipe:

Ingredients

  • 170g icing sugar
  • 160g ground almonds
  • 120ml egg whites from about 4 medium eggs, separated into 2 equal batches
  • 160g granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp green food colouring
  1. Place the icing sugar and ground almonds in the bowl of a food processor and pulse about 15 times until fully combined. Sieve this mixture into a large bowl, discarding any particles that stay in the sieve. Add the first batch of egg whites to the almond mixture, mix to form a thick paste and set aside.
  2. Tip the second batch of egg whites into a spotlessly clean, heatproof bowl and have an electric whisk at the ready. Place 50ml water and the granulated sugar into a small saucepan on medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook until the syrup registers 110C, using a sugar thermometer, at which time start to beat the egg whites on high speed. Once the syrup is at 118C pour it slowly down the side of the mixer bowl, avoiding the moving whisk. Continue to whisk on high until the mixture has cooled slightly and you have a shiny peaked meringue mixture – the bowl should no longer be hot to the touch, but still warm. Add the colouring and whisk to combine.
  3. Tip the meringue onto the almond mixture and gently fold together. It is important not to over-mix the batter – it should fall in a thick ribbon from the spatula . The ribbon should also fade back into the batter within about 30 secs – if it doesn’t, fold a few more times.
  4. Heat oven to 170C/150C fan/gas 3-4. Line 3 baking sheets with baking parchment. Transfer the batter to a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle. Pipe rounds about 2.5cm in diameter onto the prepared baking sheets (B). Leave to rest for 30 mins out of the fridge, or until the macaroons have developed a skin. (I am lucky enough to have a silicon mat that has raised rings all over it, so all my macarons are exactly the same size. Its a really good piece of equipment, I recommend it! If not, use a compass to mark out circles on the baking parchment)
  5. Bake the macaroons for 12 mins (this needs to be precise so you could test a macaroon first). Immediately slide the parchment onto the work surface and cool for a few minutes before gently peeling the macaroons off the paper.

For the mint chocolate ganache:

  • 220g dark chocolate
  • 240 ml double cream
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp peppermint extract

Pour the cream into a medium saucepan and heat just to the boil. Place the chocolate into a small bowl and pour over the cream. Allow to stand for a few minutes before stirring to combine. Add the room-temperature butter in small pieces with the peppermint extract and stir gently. Allow to stand until thick and then pipe onto the shells and sandwich them together.

Cookies and Cream and Salted Caramel Cupcakes

The frosting on these is so yummy; just like a marshmallow, which makes me happy 😀

For the chocolate cupcakes:

3/4tsp baking powder

3/4tsp baking soda

Pinch of salt

1tsp vanilla extract

2 large eggs, separated

85g unsalted butter, at room temperature

115g good quality dark chocolate, 70% cocoa if possible

175g soft brown sugar

185g plain flour

250ml semi-skimmed milk, at room temperature

1.Firstly, preheat the oven to 170ºC (fan) /190ºC / 375ºF /gas mark 5.
2.Then, line either a muffin tin (for regular-sized cupcakes) or a mini cupcake tin with cupcake cases.
3.Melt the chocolate then leave to cool slightly.
4.Cream the butter and sugar together using an electric hand beater until pale and smooth. In a separate bowl and with clean beaters beat the egg yolks for several mins. Slowly add the egg yolks to the creamed butter and sugar and beat well. 5.Next, add the chocolate to this mixture and beat well.
6.Next, combine the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Combine the milk and vanilla in a jug. Add the flour mixture to the chocolate, butter and sugar, alternating with the milk and vanilla. Beat very well after each addition.
7.In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks start to form. Carefully fold the eggs whites into the main batter using a metal spoon. Do not beat or you will take all the air out of the cake.
8.After that, spoon the mixture out equally into the tins depending on the preferred size. You do not need to fill the cases with mixture, about two-thirds full will work best as the cakes will rise considerably in the oven. The batter will be of a fairly liquid consistency so take care when spooning out as it can end up being very messy! You could even use a jug to pour the batter into the cupcake cases if it gets too difficult to spoon.
9.Place the trays in the oven and bake for between 20-25 mins for the regular size cupcakes or approx 15 mins for the mini cupcakes. Leave in their tins for 10 mins or so before placing on a wire rack to cool.

For the Marshmallow Frosting:

120g granulated sugar
80g golden syrup
1 1/2 tablespoons water
2 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract [optional]

1.Cook the sugar, golden syrup and water over a high heat until the mixture reaches the soft-ball stage [115oc/239oF] on a sugar thermometer, which should take about 6 minutes. Remove from heat.

2.Meanwhile, in a clean bowl whisk the egg whites with an electric hand mixer until soft peaks start to form. With the blades still beating on a low speed, slowly pour the hot sugar syrup in a steady stream on to the egg whites. Continue to beat on a low speed until all the hot syrup is in the mixing bowl.

3.Increase the speed to medium-high and continue beating the mxture until it becomes thick, glossy and cool. Add the vanilla extract, if using, towards the end of the mixing process.

4.This makes enough to ice 12 regular cupcakes with a little left over to eat with your fingers out of the bowl. It’s best to work with it when it’s still slightly warm because it’s VERY sticky when it’s fully cooled down. It’s a bit trickier to work with than buttercream but not impossible. I wouldn’t recommend piping it, though. It would be better to swirl it on the top with a knife.

 

I then topped half the batch with salted caramel sauce :http://theboywhobakes.co.uk/2009/11/heaven-and-hell/

and the others with crumbled oreos.

They were a big hit at the cake sale I did for a Ugandan Orphanage

Peanut butter and Nutella Macaroons

 

 

Peanut Butter and Nutella Macaroons

All day, I have just wanted to get home and make macaroons! Only to find we had no cream and I was feeling too lazy to go out to buy some! However, using a peanut butter and nutella filling works surprisingly well. These are really yummy macaroons, even if they do take a fair bit of time to make!

You will need

130g egg whites

230g icing sugar

130g almond powder or ground almonds

60g granulated sugar

cocoa powder, to dust

3 tbs peanut butter

3 tbs nutella

1 tbs cocoa powder

1. Prepare the egg whites. It is a very awkward amount, but I haven’t found a recipe that uses whole eggs so we’ll have to stick with 130g! This approximately 4 eggs.

2. Sieve the icing sugar and ground almonds into a bowl.

3. Put the eggs whites into a large bowl and whisk with an electric whisk until the eggs have the texture of shaving foam. Add the granulated sugar and whisk until it has a glossy texture.

4.Add the sifted powders into the meringue and fold in gently.

5. Pipe the mixture into small circles on several baking sheets. Try to get them more or less the same size.  Lightly tap the tray on the counter to remove air bubbles and leave the trays for half an hour to form a skin. Preheat the oven to 130 degrees in a conventional oven.

6. Dust the tops with cocoa powder before cooking.

7. Bake for 12-15 minutes and then leave to cool at room temperature.

8. For the filling, whisk the peanut butter, nutella and cocoa powder together and then pipe a dollop to sandwich 2 macaroons together.

9. Enjoy!