Toffee Apple Macarons

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What is your fondest memory of Bonfire Night? Is it the wrapping up warm in your favourite hat to watch the fireworks? Gathering everyone round the bonfire with a warm cup of mulled wine? Or perhaps it’s the sparklers? Yes it’s the sparklers isn’t it?

Well aside from the sparklers my best memory of childhood bonfire night was that it was the one and only time a year I was allowed a Toffee Apple. I mean who doesn’t love a toffee apple? I’d always pick the one that had the thickest toffee, which was actually to my own deteriment as I then spent most of my night picking the toffee out of my teeth, but, it made me so happy and the memory of those feelings never fail to put that smile back on my face.

So with that nostalgia and my forever growing love of eating and baking macarons I decided to create my own adult version of this childhood favourite. Toffee Apple Macarons. It really doesn’t get much better than these.


Makes 12

Preparation time: 45 minutes

Baking time: 13-15 minutes


70g flaked almonds

140g icing sugar

2 large egg whites, at room temperature

50g Caster sugar

¼ tsp apple green food coloring

For the toffee

200g caster sugar

2tbsp golden syrup

1/2 tbsp vinegar

50ml water

For the apple butter filling

2 granny smith apples

1 tsp cinnamon

100g butter, softened

200g icing sugar


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and leave a rack in the lower third of the oven.

Place the flaked almonds in a food processor and blitz for about a minute until as fine as possible. Add the icing sugar and process until combined.

Pass the sugar/almond mixture through a sieve, pushing down on the clumps. Leave to one side.

Whisk the egg whites and caster sugar with an electric whisk or KitchenAid on a high-speed, until they hold stiff, glossy peaks. Add the apple green food colouring then whisk on a high-speed for 30 seconds.

Add the dry ingredients all at once and fold with a spatula, mixing from the bottom of the bowl upwards. Repeat these folds until the batter flows like lava.

Place a piping bag inside a glass and pour the batter into it. Secure the top and snip the end to about 1cm. Pipe some batter onto the corners of 2 baking trays, both lined with parchment paper.

With the piping tip ½ inch above the tray, pipe circles about 3cm in diameter ensuring to leave 1 inch space between them. Tap the sheets firmly against the kitchen work surface to release any air bubbles.

Bake on the lower shelf of the oven for 10-13 minutes. Allow to cool completely before drizzling over toffee and piping the apple butter filling.


For the toffee drizzle

Pour the sugar into a pan along with 50ml water and put on a medium heat.

Cook for 5 mins until the sugar has dissolved, then stir in the vinegar and golden syrup.

Set a sugar thermometer in the pan and boil until 150C or if you don’t have a thermometer you can test the toffee by pouring a little into a bowl of cold water being careful not to spill any as it can cause serious burns. It should harden instantly and, when removed, be brittle and easy to break. If you can still squish the toffee, continue to boil it.

Once the toffee is ready lay half the macarons rounds out onto a sheet of baking paper. With a tbsp take a spoonful of toffee and drizzle it over the rounds. Watch that you don’t get any toffee on your fingers while drizzling as it will be very hot. Leave them to one side to set hard while you make the apple butter filling.


For the apple butter filling

Peel and core the apple and cut into small cubes.

Melt the butter in a pan and mix in the apple, cooking until softened. Add a tsp of cinnamon and add to the mix.

Once soft pour the apple into a blender and blitz into a puree.

In your mixer blend the butter and icing sugar together until smooth then add your apple puree.

Pour the apple butter into a piping bag your chosen nozzle and pipe onto your plain macaron rounds, topping each with your toffee decorated rounds.

These will store in an air tight container for a few days if kept in the fridge.

Pumpkin Spice and Chocolate Macarons

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Each and every year I fall harder in love with Autumn. The obviously changing seasons that we witness here in the UK has always been pretty special, but there’s something about the transition from Summer to Autumn that sets my heart a flutter. The turning of leaves that fall into golden amber piles on pathways, and the return of crisp blue morning skies fill me with nostalgic warmth and when it comes to baking I always find so much more inspiration from the bake options and flavours in season.

Apple, blackberry, chestnut, cinnamon, nutmeg and pumpkin are all synonymous with Autumn and I’ve resisted them for far too long, so in celebration of the best season ever I wanted to kick things off with my Pumpkin Spice and Chocolate Macarons.

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Makes 12

Preparation time: 45 minutes

Baking time: 13-15 minutes


70g flaked almonds

140g icing sugar

2 large egg whites, at room temperature

50g Caster sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground ginger

½ tsp ground nutmeg

¼ tsp ground allspice

¼ ground cloves

¼ tsp orange food coloring

For the filling

200g good quality dark chocolate

284ml double cream

2tbsp caster sugar


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and leave a rack in the lower third of the oven.

Place the flaked almonds in a food processor and blitz for about a minute until as fine as possible. Add the icing sugar and process until combined.

Pass the sugar/almond mixture through a sieve, pushing down on the clumps. Leave to one side.

Whisk the egg whites and caster sugar with an electric whisk or KitchenAid on a high-speed, until they hold stiff, glossy peaks. Add all but a tbsp of the spices and orange food colouring then whisk on a high-speed for 30 seconds

Add the dry ingredients all at once and fold with a spatula, mixing from the bottom of the bowl upwards. Repeat these folds until the batter flows like lava.

Place a piping bag inside a glass and pour the batter into it. Secure the top and snip the end to about 1cm. Pipe some batter onto the corners of 2 baking trays, both lined with parchment paper.

With the piping tip ½ inch above the tray, pipe circles about 3cm in diameter ensuring to leave 1 inch space between them. Tap the sheets firmly against the kitchen work surface to release any air bubbles.

Sift the left over spices on half of the unbaked batter and leave to sit for around 10 minutes (this allows the crust to form). Bake on the lower shelf of the oven for 10-13 minutes. Allow to cool completely before piping the ganache filling.

For the ganache chop the dark chocolate into small pieces and leave in a bowl. Pour the 284ml double cream into a pan, add 2 tbsp golden caster sugar, and heat until it is almost boiling.

Take the cream off the heat and pour over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth then leave to cool and thick.

Once ready scoop the ganache into a piping bag and pipe onto the flat side of the plain macaron rounds with no spices; top with the spiced remaining half.

These will store in an air tight container for a few days if kept in the fridge.

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.