ON WRITING

“It’s very easy to quit during the first ten years of writing. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” Andre Dubus

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Friday, 14 December 2012

Holiday Spirit Blogfest - entry No 1 - RECIPE - Milk and White Chocolate Macarons

Don't you just love walking around Farmer's Markets? Soon after I moved to Brisbane, a Farmer's Market opened in Brisbane Square, in the heart of the city, only a few short minutes from my apartment. Every Wednesday morning I filled my recycled shopping bags with fresh produce, and, er, fresh French treats.

There is a large population of French people in Brisbane and who does food quite as well? I was in French heaven when I stumbled on Monsieur Macaron, a purveyor of French treats, but pride of place, French Macarons (no, it doesn't have a double 'o'). I was their first customer and won a regular supply for awhile--bliss. I've tasted many a macaron in Paris, and these were every bit as good, lucky Brisbane! 


The macaron, thought to have been created in a convent in France in 1791, is two miniature meringue morsels filled with buttercream, jam, or ganache. Especially difficult to make, the perfect macaron should be like an eggshell on the outside and soft and chewy inside. 

Monsieur Macaron did the Aussie thing and soon added to his traditional flavours of lavender, pistachio, champagne--macarons with an Aussie flavour--passionfruit, lemon and basil (gorgeous!) For years now my once-a-week-treat has been 3 small macarons of various flavours--coconut being my all-time favourite.

Unfortunately, like all good things, they come to an end. The macarons just weren't tasing as swoon-worthy any more. Something was different. The owners finally admitted that they had employed a new chef. The macarons were just too dry, but it appears no one else was complaining, so they continue to sell less-than-perfect (to me) macarons. What to do?

I always prefer to make my own food rather than buy it, but only if I can make it better. Now I've decided I won't get mad, I'll get even. 

Come Christmas, I cook up a storm to rival the thunderstorms that will be cracking along most afternoons after a very hot day. I've already tried my hotcakes, crispy bacon, maple syrup, raspberries and ice cream (definitely American!) breakfast on the family to rave reviews, so now I'm going to fiddle in the kitchen and produce the best macarons they've ever had. And...I'm going to share the recipe with you. 

I wouldn't recommend eating these sugar-laden treats very often. They must be savoured with caution and followed by a couple of kilometres run along the beach. 

All ingredients are based on Australian product names, measurements and terms. I'm sure you can adjust...


Milk and White Chocolate Macarons

Macarons

1½ cups icing sugar
½ cup blanched almonds
¼ cup Cadbury Bournville Cocoa powder
3 egg whites at room temperature
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup caster sugar

Filling
80g Cadbury White Chocolate Melts
30g unsalted butter
100g Philadelphia Original Spreadable Cream Cheese
1/3 cup icing sugar, extra, sifted

Macarons

1.      Combine icing sugar, almonds and cocoa in a food processor and process until superfine. Sift and remove any coarse pieces of almond.
2.      Beat egg whites and salt until soft peaks form. Continue beating, gradually adding the sugar, just until dissolved.
3.      Stir one third of the almond mixture into the meringue and then fold in the remaining mixture until just combined. Spoon or pipe 3cm rounds onto paper lined trays, allowing 2-3cm between each for spreading. Use a wet finger to pat down any tips. Stand at room temperature for 30 minutes or until macarons form a light crust.
4.      Bake in a slow over - 150°C for 22-28 minutes or until firm to the touch. Allow to cool completely on trays.
Filling

5.      Combine chocolate and butter in a bowl over simmering water, stirring occasionally, until chocolate has melted. Remove from the heat and cool slightly. Beat together the Philly cream cheese and extra icing sugar then beat in the chocolate mixture. Chill until firm enough to spread.
6.      To assemble:: Spread chocolate filling onto 15 macarons and top with remaining halves, pressing together gently. Serve immediately. (They will keep up to a week in the fridge, but lose heaps of flavour.)



Makes 30.
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cooking Time: 35 minutes
Level of fiddleability: High–recipe must be followed carefully or you will be disappointed
Calories: best left unsaid.

I hope you enjoyed reading my little story and recipe. Do you have one to share?

This is my entry for RFWers' Holiday Spirit Blogfest. Add your name to the list below if/when you have an entry to share...

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31 comments:

  1. I didn't realize they had so few ingredients. Couldn't be too difficult to make.

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    1. Ha Ha Alex. Please try and let me know!

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  2. Hmm, I know who's going to be put in charge of bringing morning tea to the writers' group in 2013 ;)

    I want those pancakes for breakfast (every day but hey, Chrissie day would be okay too).

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    1. Ooh, those pancakes!! Now I will definitely bring a batch of these to writing group!

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  3. Everytime someone makes a "new and improved" version of a favorite product I hate it. Something is always lost in the unique recipe. Rum and Macrons - and a long sunny day at the beach, sounds like a recipe for pleasure. And I'm not normally a chocolate lover. But, I got a red and white striped cooking tin I'll send over for you to place all those cookies you are too prudent to eat :)

    ......dhole

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    1. Sounds sweet. Now i will have to make delicious raspberry macarons to suit the tin, lol!

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  4. Enjoyed that, I am a total chocoholic! Though I think my skills def not upto trying this recipe - I'll just have to go out looking for a good substitute :) Agree totally about making it only when I can make it better.

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    1. They are tricky to make - look easy, but aren't.

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  5. Hi Denise .. they're not the easiest to make I gather, though sound simple. Well good luck - but a real pain if the old chef left ... and the goodies aren't quite as good ...

    Macarons in Brisbane - way too hot to eat I'd have thought .. sticky ... Breakfast sounds good up your way! Down your way!

    Cheers Hilary

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    1. Hi Hilary! No matter how hot it is, a macaron still tastes good. Yes, so does the brekkie.

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  6. Sounds so yummy! My scale doesn't like me this time of year, so we agreed not to meet the next month.

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  7. Hi, Denise,

    I gained five pounds just reading about these! LOL. YUMMMMMMM! Should I dare? Maybe in the summer when I can power walk five miles on the lake front. LOL.

    I can't wait to finish decorating to share pics for the RFW.... TREE IS DONE!!!!!!!!

    Shattered two of my favorite ornaments. BOOO WHOO....

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    1. I'm sorry about your ornaments Michael, but I sure am looking forward to seeing your 'designery' Christmas rooms!

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  8. Wow, those look delicious! I wish I could zap myself over to your kitchen and get some freshly made ones. Mm.

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  9. Oh my goodness, my mouth is watering. I LOVE macarons - Ladurée are my favourite, but I'll plump for anything these days! Thanks for the recipe!

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    1. I love Laduree too, but these guys were nearly as good without the queue! They use gold too!

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  10. Thank you for the recipe! I've never tried a macaron--they sound very sweet.

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    1. You got that right Golden. Sweet as...

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  11. These sound wonderful. I've always wanted to try a recipe for these. Thanks for the holiday treat.

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    1. You're welcome Linda. Happy Christmas!

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  12. I always look forward to the dessert rather than the main course of any meal. I love chocolates and anything sweet. I'm so dying to try this... only problem is if I can even hope to get this done the way it ought to be.

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  13. Making your own macarons? Oh my, that is so brave! I hope they turn out wonderful :-)

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  14. Those look delicious. I've never had an authentic one before. I'll have to try the recipe. Thanks for sharing.

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  15. The macarons look delicious! I bet they don't last as long as they take to cook! Enjoy Christmas!

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  16. They look delicious and I do like your warning at the end although running anywhere these days is just a figment of my imagination and I know that doesn't count.

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  17. I love love love farmer's markets! I'm about to explode from treats, so saving this recipe for a snowy day in January! :-)

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  18. Oh, and of course Happy Christmas!!

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  19. January 3rd, 2013
    Dear Denise,
    These pastel-coloured macarons are so pretty! I have not made them myself, but I found them in a pastry shop here in Norrkoping. They look just like the ones in your photo!
    Ah, the French know how to bake!
    Hope you are well and happy!
    Anna

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