When it comes to Easter, while I could happily spend all bank holiday stuffing my face with chocolate eggs, these days what I find even more indulging is settling down with a cuppa and a warm, sticky, Hot Cross Bun toasted straight from the oven.
The rich, spicy smell is so comforting that filling my house with the scent of buns baking is almost a necessity at this time of year. However after much deliberation I decided this year I would try something a little different.
Macarons are one of my favourite things to bake and have become somewhat of a staple since the launch of My Kitchen Drawer Made to Order business, therefore they became an obvious choice for my “something a little different”.
For those of you unfamiliar, Hot Cross Buns are traditional English Easter treats which are baked and eaten on Good Friday to commemorate Jesus who died on the cross: hence the recognisable cross along their tops.
If you like cinnamon, nutmeg, citrus zest, and in the case of these beauties, macarons, then these are most certainly worth indulging in this Easter! They are also perfect as gifts and make a fantastic alternative to the more commonly gifted chocolate eggs.
Makes: 12 Macarons
Preparation time: 1 hour
Baking time: 10-13 minutes
Spiced Macaron Shells
70g flaked almonds
140g icing sugar
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
50g caster sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp all-spice
1tsp orange zest
Cinnamon and Brown Sugar filling
50g light Muscovado Sugar
70g unsalted Butter
200g icing sugar
1tsp ground cinnamon
Spiced Macarons Shells
Place the flaked almonds in a food processor and blitz for about a minute until as fine as possible. Add the confectioner sugar, cinnamon, orange zest and allspice then process until combined.
In a super clean bowl pour one egg white and whisk in the tsp of vanilla bean paste. Beat this mixture into the almond icing sugar to make an almond paste. Set aside and cover with a tea towel.
In another super clean bowl whisk your second egg white until it holds soft peaks. Continue to whisk at a medium speed while adding the caster sugar a tablespoon at a time.
Beat on a medium speed for 2 minutes then increase to high for a final 2 minutes until the egg whites are holding stiff, glossy peaks.
Add the almond paste to your meringue mixture then using a spatula slowly fold them together from the bottom up. Continue this motion around 35-40 times until the mixture is fully incorporated and flows like molten lava.
Using a piping bag with a 1cm nozzle, pipe rounds of mixture onto 2 heavy baking trays lined with baking parchment. Tap the trays on the work surface to remove any air bubbles, then leave them to dry for 30 minutes. They will be ready to bake when they are no longer sticky or wet when touched.
Preheat the oven to 140-150 degrees/Gas Mark 2 and bake on the middle shelf for 8 minutes. Open the oven to let out any steam and turn the sheets around then bake for a further 8 minutes until the tops are crisp. Leave them to cool fully before removing from the baking sheet.
To create the iconic cross, melt your white chocolate in a microwave or in a heatproof bowl over a pan of boiling water then transfer it into a heat resistant piping bag (available at Lakeland). Pipe the crosses onto each macaron and leave to set in the fridge for 20 minutes before adding the filling.
Cinnamon & Brown Sugar Filling
Blend together butter, brown sugar and icing sugar to create a smooth buttercream. Add 1 tsp of ground cinnamon and combine then spread the filling over one macaron shell and sandwich together with another.
These will store in an air tight container for a few days if kept in the fridge.