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Chai Macarons

30 Nov

Yes, I know, I haven’t blogged in a while, its been a busy time for me. I’ve been in the process of completing my teaching diploma and was on my first practical, a six week placement in a year one class. It’s hard to run a household, a marriage and look after a child while having to be out of the house for 7 hours a day, alhumdulillah, the experience was great and extremely fulfilling, although I am relieved that it’s over (for now anyway).

For those of you that read my blog and remember, I took part in a Dilmah competition a few months ago where I entered these Chai Macarons (if not, you can read about it here and here). These macaron shells were flavoured with tea, cardamon, cinnamon and sandwiched with a chai white chocolate ganache. I’ve finally gotten the chance to post the recipe. Yippee!!

Chai Macarons

I’ve attached the recipe in .pdf format because that’s how it’s saved on my computer as I needed to give a copy to the Dilmah officials and figured it would be the easiest way to share it with all of you. This recipe is made using the Italian meringue method (pouring a hot sugar syrup into egg whites) instead of my usual French meringue, if you have a handle on the French meringue method, feel free to use that, just remember to add the spices to the almond/icing sugar mixture.

Give these a go, and if you’re not too afraid (and have a thermometer lying around) try the Italian method. Chai macarons with a pot of tea, perfect late night snack, enjoy!

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What Macaron?

16 Oct

Do any of you remember a time when red velvet cupcakes and macarons weren’t so unbelievably popular, I do, but those memories seem to be slowly fading into the distance. Red velvets were not a favourite of mine to begin with, I had tried it a few times and was never impressed, until this recipe of my own. I’ve been enjoying them ever since, I think I just had a few bad experiences in the beginning. Macarons on the other hand, I’ve loved ever since I tasted my first one while holidaying with my husband in Singapore, this was before they became trendy in Australia and I’ve pretty much been obsessed ever since. With that said, I thought I would combine these two ever so popular treats into one mega treat… Drum roll please… The Red Velvet Macaron! Yip, that’s right, a red macaron with a light hint of cocoa, sandwiched with a smooth cream cheese filling, what’s not to love?

Red Velvet Macarons

40g egg white (1 egg white at room temperature)

56g almond meal

72g icing sugar

1 tsp cocoa powder

20g castor sugar

1/4 tsp red gel food colouring

Measure out your ingredients. Combine almond meal, icing sugar and cocoa powder, grind these till you achieve a fine powder. Whip egg whites till foamy, slowly stream in the sugar until egg whites are stiff and glossy. Add in gel colouring and give it a quick beat until it turns an even red. Sift almond meal, icing sugar and cocao mixture on top of egg whites and fold until just combined.

Pre heat oven to 150°c. Fill mixture into piping bag and pipe 3cm rounds onto baking paper lined trays. Let mixture sit for 15-30 minutes. Place in oven for 15 minutes or until tops don’t move when pushed with a finger.

Cream cheese filling

40g softened cream cheese

40g softened butter

3/4 cups icing sugar

1 tsp vanilla essence

Beat butter, cream cheese and vanilla essence in a bowl until creamy and combined. Slowly add sugar till smooth and fluffy. Fill in a piping bag and pipe into macaron shells.

Love Red Velvet Cupcakes? Love Macarons? Then you’ll love these Red Velvet Macarons. Red with a delicate hint of cocoa, accompanied by a cream cheese filling, yum!

Sticky Date Brown Sugar Macarons

1 Oct

Ramadan is now far behind us, I know, but if you’re like us (we tend to stock up on dates, 7kgs worth), you might still have some left over. If you want to use up some dates or just want a datey (totally a word, right?) treat, try these!

These macarons are slightly different to the norm, brown sugar is used to make the meringue instead of the usual white sugar. The brown sugar gives a subtle taste difference as well as a slight creamy tinge.

Brown Sugar Macarons

40g egg white (1 egg white at room temperature)

56g almond meal

72g icing sugar

20g light brown sugar

Measure out your ingredients. Combine almond meal and icing sugar and grind till a fine powder. Whip egg whites till foamy, slowly stream in the brown sugar until egg whites are stiff and glossy. Sift almond meal and icing sugar mixture on top of egg whites and fold until just combined.

Pre heat oven to 150°c. Fill mixture into piping bag and pipe 3cm rounds onto baking paper lined trays. Let mixture sit for 15-30 minutes. Place in oven for 17 minutes (I found that the substitution of brown sugar required the macarons baking for a little longer then usual) or until tops don’t move when pushed with a finger.

Sticky Date Filling

1/2 cup pitted dates (I use medjool)

100g softened butter

3 tblsp cooled butterscotch sauce (recipe below, alternatively you could use 1/4 cup of brown sugar)

Pit dates and place in a bowl, fill with hot water until all the dates are immersed, leave to soak for 10 minutes. Cream butter till fluffy. Drain all excess water from the dates and process till smooth and pasty. Add date paste and butterscotch to butter, beat until combined. Fill a piping bag, ready to fill macarons.

Butterscotch sauce

1 tblsp dark brown sugar

1 tblsp butter

3 tblsp cream

Place sugar and butter on a medium heat on the stove. Mix till sugar dissolves. Add in cream and mix till combined, set aside to cool.

To assemble macarons, pipe sticky date filling into one macaron shell and sandwich with the other. Sticky, datey, yummy macarons!

Rose and Cardamon Macarons

21 Sep

Cardamon? Cardamom? I’ve always been a cardamon kinda girl, but I get that crooked red line every time I type it that way. How do you spell it? Doesn’t matter I guess, these rose and cardamon macarons are good!

These macarons were from this Eid Dessert Table post. I made them using the Italian meringue method (will be uploading a recipe). But for now, here’s the recipe for the filling.

Rose and Cardamon Filling
(fills approx 20 macarons)

50g softened butter

3/4 cup icing sugar

1 tblsp rose syrup

1/2 tsp cardamon powder

Beat butter till soft and creamy, add icing sugar and beat till smooth. Add syrup and cardamon and beat till well combined. Fill into a piping bag and fill macarons.

Fragrant and flavoursome these rose and cardamon macarons are a treat fit for any time of the year.

The Dilmah Result

16 Sep

Silver Medal!

I know most of my family and friends already know this, but I thought I’d post an update for those who don’t. I’ve also included a little bit about my experience, so read on. Oh and before you get too excited, I wasn’t second, there were a few gold medals a few silver and a few bronze, a bit more on the judging system later.

I was up since 4:30 AM that morning, the nerves had gotten the better of me and I couldn’t get back to sleep. I eventually got out of bad, got all my stuff together in a mad dash and headed to Southbank. I was given a tag and sent to the kitchen, where I met some of the other participants who were all lovely. I was third up so I eagerly awaited my chance to set up my table.

My presentation table

The judge’s feedback was extremely good, Peter and Dilhan exclaiming that my macorons combined with my cinnamon tea took them back to their childhood. Bernd, who said he has become so sick of macarons, was also very complimentary, stating he was glad I didn’t colour them, and kept them natural and did something completely different and unique with them. Peter and Dilhan were also excited at my efforts at speaking Sinhalese. “Ayubowan”, a Sri Lankan greeting, for which I have the parents of Maryam’s Kitchen to thank.

Totally getting my hands into it whilst presenting to the judges

But those good compliments were met with some negatives. I honestly didn’t realise the judges would have such high expectations, their attention to detail was second to none and they wanted to have a complete high tea experience, which I don’t believe I delivered. In my nerves there were a few things I neglected, I didn’t fill the sugar bowl, I didn’t give them milk (I had planned on serving black tea though) and they also wanted honey as an option, Dilhan also commented that I didn’t brew the tea long enough (even though when they were ready to move on to the next table, he stayed to finish that last sip).

Here’s a little information about the judging standards from Dilmah, “The Real High Tea Challenge is endorsed by the World Association of Chefs’ Societies (WACS), whose judging criteria was the basis of assessment of entries. Each contestant was evaluated on the quality of presentation of their entries, the respect accorded to the central ingredient – tea – in food and food pairing, the preparation of tea, their menu, the use of local ingredients and the contestants’ knowledge and rationale. Consumer entries were evaluated on similar but less rigorous standards than Professional Entries.

Contestants received points for their submissions with the possibility of several Gold, Silver or bronze medals being awarded in each state.”… “Points required to secure a Gold medal are 90-99, Silver 80-89, Bronze 70-79 and Certificate 60-69.”  Taken from Dilmah, Real High Tea. Clearly I fell into the 80-89 point category 🙂

with Judges Bernd Uber, Dilhan Fernando and Peter Kuruvita

After my judging was complete, I went to the balcony where a photographer was waiting to take pictures of my macarons. Now let me tell you, this isn’t any photographer, this is the photographer that took the pictures for Adriano Zumbo’s next macaron book (Zumborons)!! I guess that totally qualifies my macarons into celebrity status 😛

with Peter Kuruvita, Dilhan Fernando,
Merrill J Fernando (Dilmah Founder) and Bernd Uber

It was a wonderful experience and I think the thing that will stay with me was Dilhan saying, “Come back next year and knock our socks off!”

Thanks again to everyone for their support and encouragement! Thanks to the judges who were so wonderful. And a special big Thank you to Abdullah Osman (my husband), although neither of us planned for him to be at the awards ceremony, the way things worked out that day, he was and he couldn’t have been more happy or excited for me (kinda wrote about it here), even planning on me entering next year. Dilmah challenge 2013, here I come!

Dilmah High Tea Challenge

3 Sep

A little while ago I entered a competition by Dilmah tea. The challenge was to create a tea infused ‘High Tea’ treat. Check out Dilmah’s High Tea Challenge here. I decided to put my creativity to the test and enter the competition. I made Dilmah tea infused Chai Macarons inspired by my trip to India earlier this year.

Australia is full of diverse talented home cooks that I didn’t for a moment think I’d stand a chance, but I’m happy to say I was called back for the Queensland round to present my dish to be judged. I’m one of 12 participants that will present their dishes for judging this Friday (7 September), I feel truly honoured to have been chosen. The judging will be undertaken by Peter Kuravita (renowned Australian-Sri Lankan Chef), Bernd Uber and Dilhan Fernando (son of Dilmah Founder, Merrill J Fernando). Like their Facebook page here to view updates and photos throughout the competition.

The gold medal winner in each state receives a weekend at the Hilton and from these winners a national winner is chosen to take a trip to visit Sri Lanka’s Tea Trails. I don’t have much hope of winning (the thought has crossed my mind though), I’m just overwhelmed and excited to have reached this level.

Win or not I’ll be posting the recipe for these Chai Macarons soon.

Blue and Orange Macarons

23 Aug

I sent out a few orders last week, one was a soccer ball cake (will upload pics soon) and the other macarons.

These orange and blue macarons are an order from Siddiqa who requested these colours to match the theme of her Eid Favours for her colleagues at work, check out her blog post about them here. I had free reign on flavours, so I went with salted caramel buttercream for the orange ones and vanilla white chocolate ganache for the blues. Will be uploading the recipes for these very soon.

Just a quick note: I don’t actually take orders, mainly because I just don’t have the time to, but I am willing to help out if I can, so if you need something, feel free to give me a shout.

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