Monday, 22 July 2013

Chocolate and Ginger Macaroons

These are probably my favourite macaroon flavour combo, the bitter chocolate in the filling works so well with the spicy ginger and sweet almond meringue.  These are guaranteed to disappear fast, one just isn't enough!
Makes 16

Equipment -
2 baking sheets lined with baking parchment
Electric whisk
Piping bag fitted with 1 cm plain nozzle

Ingredients -

Shells -
75g ground almonds
115g icing sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
2 large, free range eggs
50g caster sugar

Filling -
25g unsalted butter
1 tbsp stem ginger syrup
85g good quality dark chocolate, broken into pieces
4 tbsp double cream
1 piece stem ginger, finely chopped

Method -

Shells -
1. Put almonds, icing sugar and ground ginger into a food processor and process for 15 secs.
2. Sift mixture into a bowl.
3. Place egg whites in a large bowl and whisk until soft peak stage.
4. Gradually whisk in caster sugar to make a firm, glossy meringue.
5. Using a spatula, fold the almond mixture into the meringue a third at a time.
6. When all the dry ingredients are incorporated, continue to fold the mix until you have a shiny batter with a thick, ribbon like consistency.  Too stiff and your shells will be hard to pipe and will have peaks, too soft and the piped rounds won't hold their shape.
7. Fill the piping bag with the batter and pipe 32 small rounds onto the prepared trays.
8. Lift the baking sheets and bash them on the work top a few times, fairly hard, to remove any air bubbles, this also helps form the frilly foot or "pied".
9. Leave a room temperature for half an hour.
10. Preheat oven to 160C / 325F / gas mark 3
11. Bake for 10-15 mins, until crisp and the base doesn't wobble when peeled gently from the paper.
12. Leave to cool for 10 mins, then remove from the paper and cool completely on a wire rack.

Filling -
1. In a bain marie or in the microwave, melt the butter, ginger syrup and chocolate.
2. Remover from the heat and stir in the cream and stem ginger.
3. Cool for 20 mins, stirring occasionally.
4. Use to sandwich pairs of macaroons together.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Ice Cream Cone Cakes

The original recipe for these came from Good Food magazine, but I've made a few changes, most notably to the icing, which I think looks much more like a Mr Whippy ice cream than the ones in the mag.  I've also used a cupcake corer and filled the cakes with jam.  The custard powder in the cake mix gives a real vanilla ice cream flavour, and my icing has a lovely, soft whip texture.  Amazingly, the cones don't brown in the oven or go soft, as long as you bake them as soon as they're filled with the cake mix.
These are great fun to make and will delight young and old alike, my sister ate one of these with a huge grin on her face!
Makes 10

Equipment -
10 hole muffin tin
Electric whisk
Sugar thermometer for the icing

Ingredients -

Cakes -
10 flat bottomed ice cream cones, I used Askeys
200g butter, softened
200g plain flour
4 tbsp custard powder
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
200g golden caster sugar
2 large, free range eggs, beaten

Icing -
170g caster sugar
8 tbsp water
4 free range egg yolks
300g butter, soft but not runny
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
Food colouring if you want

Method -
Cakes -
1. Preheat oven to180C / 160C fan / gas 4
2. Sit cones in muffin tin.
3. Put butter, flour, custard powder, vanilla, sugar and eggs in a large bowl and beat with electric whisk.
4. Fill the cones 3/4 full with the cake mix.
5. Bake for about 30 mins, until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
6. Leave to cool.
7.If the cake mix has risen above the cone, trim it back with a sharp knife once cold.
8. Use a cupcake corer to remove some sponge and fill the hole with jam, I used home made blueberry and elderflower jam.  Cut a thin disc off the removed core and use this a plug for the jammy centre.

Icing -
1. Put the sugar and water in a small heavy-based saucepan and heat gently, without boiling, until the sugar dissolves.
2. Bring to the boil and boil until the temp reaches 110C / 225F on a sugar thermometer, this will take about 5 mins.  Don't let the syrup start to caramelise.
3. Meanwhile, put egg yolks in a bowl and whisk briefly with an electric whisk, then, pour the sugar syrup into the bowl in a thin, slow, steady stream, whisking continuously.
4. Keep whisking until the mixture becomes very thick, mousse-like, pale in colour and completely cold.
5. Gradually whisk in the butter, followed by the vanilla bean paste and food colouring if any.

To decorate -
Using a star nozzle, pipe swirls of icing on top of the cones to look like ice cream, be generous, the recipe gives you plenty icing.  Top with half a flake and hundreds and thousands, or whatever decoration takes your fancy.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Wimbledon Winners!

Here's a recipe for biscuits full of the flavour of strawberries and cream.  You can use 100g of any flavourings of your choice to ring the changes, the possibilities are endless.
These don't look elegant, but they taste great and they're really easy to make, what's not to like?
Makes 16

Equipment - 3 baking sheets, greased

Ingredients -
125g unsalted butter
100g golden caster sugar
50g light muscovado sugar
1 medium free range egg
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
175g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
50g dried strawberries, chopped
50g white chocolate chips

Method -
1. Preheat oven to 190C / 375F / gas 5
2. Gently heat butter in a pan large enough to hold all the ingredients.
3. Remove from the heat and stir in sugars.
4. Beat the egg with vanilla paste and stir into butter and sugar.
5. Sift flour and baking powder into the mixture and mix thoroughly.  If the mix is too runny add a little more flour.
6. Stir in strawberries and chocolate chips.
7. Spoon round blobs onto baking trays, placing well apart as they do spread and bake for 10-12 mins.
8. Remove from trays using a fish slice and leave to cool on wire racks.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Key Lime Pie

This one's a Fraser family favourite.  I'm not saying it's the ultimate key lime pie recipe, it's not even made with key limes, but it's easy, tasty and a real crowd pleaser.  I'm a sucker for a biscuit base, this recipe uses Hobnobs as a change from digestives, so there's not even any pastry to make.  There's no food colouring in this, the soft green colour comes from the zest and juice of the four limes used.  It's a BBC Good Food recipe again, you'll find it here.