My Kitchen Favourites – Macarons

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Thank goodness it’s April, the beginning of spring and lighter baking. As much as baking indulgent cakes and desserts pleases the little fat child inside of me I’m always pleased when we reach the summer months as it gives me the opportunity to test out fruiter, lighter and brighter bakes. This is not to say they can’t be indulgent though and macarons are exactly that, light, bright jewels of pure indulgence.

This edition of Kitchen Favourites is in honour of my new baking bestie, the macaron. We may not always see eye-to-eye but with there are a few tools and ingredients which have ensured we will always have a life long friendship.


FOR BAKING

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TWO CHICKS|FREE RANGE LIQUID EGG WHITES

Aside from being cast as one of the most difficult bakes, the one issue I have with macarons and meringue is that I have to separate eggs. Food wastage is one of my biggest pet hates so when I bake macarons or meringue I always try to use the egg yolks for something else such as custard or rich shortcrust pastry.

This isn’t always convenient though so you can imagine my delight therefore when I discovered Two Chicks and their carton of liquid egg whites. Absolutely genius!! You get roughly 15 liquid egg whites in each carton which translates to 7 batches of macarons in my world, and at a very affordable price of £2.25 from most leading grocery stores they have fast become my favourite kitchen ingredient.

The Two Chicks brand also includes Liquid Whole Eggs, Pancake mix and Chirps, a light puffed egg white snack.


FOR GUIDANCE

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SWEET MACARONS | BY JACQUELINE MERCORELLI

There are so many different Macaron recipes out there. Some using the French meringue method, others opting for the Italian meringue method. Before I read this book, the French method was all I used. To be honest it was all I was really aware of as the Italian recipe always seemed more daunting and long winded. I’m right, it is more long winded but daunting it is not and this guide made me realise that.

The Sweet Macarons guide by Jacqueline Mercorelli, a self taught French baker and blogger since 2005 gives you recipes for both methods and guides you through the process with ease. A must read for anyone wanting to make macarons at home.


FOR DECORATION

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EDIBLE LUSTRE DUST | SUGARFLAIR

So you’ve made your macarons and now you want to decorate them with finesse. There are so many options to choose from be it dusting with coco powder, espresso powder, sprinkles or chopped nuts, the list really is endless. One of my favourite options thought is Edible Lustre Dust. The effect gives macarons that real wow factor and turns them from pretty to stylish. I love working with Lustre Dust as it can be added to almost anything. When mixed with a tiny splash of vodka you can create a gold paint to brush over macaron shells, fruit and fondant or left as dust it can be scattered over buttercream.


FOR PREPARATION

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3AM JOURNAL | KIKKI.K

The last 4 weeks have been some of the most manic of 2016 so far. I took a week off work last week before Easter just so I could catch up with it all. I’m generally a very organised person, but if I showed you my iPhone notes app you’d have a hard time believing that. With random thoughts, recipe ideas and meeting notes all thrown randomly in the mix to say it’s chaotic would be a severe understatement.

I decided last month that my thoughts needed a home, but not just any home. As a self confessed stationary obsessive I wanted them to live somewhere pretty, which is why I’m so happy to have found Kikki.K Stationary.

The Swedish brand was the creative child of Kristina Karlson a stationary lover looking for beautiful products and stationary for her new home office. Her light bulb moment came weeks after struggling to find anything that inspired her. If you can’t find it, create it, was her motto and it wasn’t long before Swedish design stationary boutiques popped up in her favourite cities around the world.

Thank you Kristina, I see a bright future for me and Kikki. K Stationary.

When life gives you lemons…

…make Lemon Drizzle Loaf.

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On a cloudy Sunday day, when the rain is tapping against the window and you have absolutely no intention to walk out the front door, there is simply nothing better to do but bake.

A self-confessed bakeaholic any spare time I have is filled creating tray bakes, cupcakes or anything that involves using my new Kenwood food mixer. I had a few lemons in my fruit bowl which were screaming to be used in something else other than a gin and tonic, so to give the house a bit of sunshine I decided on Lemon Drizzle Loaf.

This simple recipe requires barely any hard graft, especially if you’re letting the mixer do it all. Zesting the lemons is about as tough as it gets. The first time I made this loaf it turned out VERY lemony but used less lemon juice in the syrup this time round and while it still had the tang it was delicious.

So if you fancy brightening up your day, this fool-proof recipe will give you the perfect Lemon Drizzle Loaf every time.

Lemon Drizzle Loaf Cake

Ingredients

125 g unsalted butter

175 g caster sugar

2 large eggs

zest of 1 lemon (2 if you want more of a lemon burst)

175 g self raising flour

pinch of salt

4 tablespoons milk (optional)

23x13x7cm loaf tin buttered and lined

For the syrup

Juice of 1 ½  lemons

100 g icing sugar

For the glaze

Juice of  ½ a lemon

150 g icing sugar

 

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 C/ gas mark 4.
  2. Butter and line your loaf tin well. Cream together butter and sugar and add eggs and lemon zest, beating them in well.Gently fold in the flour and the salt, mixing thoroughly and then add the milk.
  3. Spoon the batter into your prepared tin and bake for 45 mins or until cake tester comes out clean.

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For the syrup

  1. Put the lemon juice and icing sugar into a small saucepan and heat gently until the sugar dissolves. As soon as cake is out of oven, puncture all over with skewer and pour over the syrup.
  2. Leave cake to cool completely before removing from the tin.

For the glaze

  1. Combine lemon juice and icing sugar until smooth and white, add a little more icing sugar if needed.  Make sure your cake is completely cool before drizzling with the glaze.

Knickerdrawer Tip: For a while my kitchen was missing one vital piece of baking equipment…scales. I wasn’t going to let that stop me from baking so I learnt how to measure in spoons. Should any of you find yourself in the same unfortunate circumstance then please see below for a run down on how many spoons of sugar, flour and icing sugar you’d need to create my Lemon Drizzle Loaf.

175g = 6 oz

100g = 3.5 oz

1 oz of flour = 3 level tablespoons – so you’ll need 18 tablespoons

1 oz of sugar = 2 level tablespoons – so you’ll need 12 tablespoons

1 oz of icing sugar = 3 1/2 tablespoons – so you’ll need 12 (and a bit) tablespoons