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Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Gingerbread Macarons (Fail =P)...and Christmas Cake (WIN!!)

I spent Christmas day alone. How sad! Actually, I dropped my dad off at the airport (the last of my family to go jet-setting, leaving me behind!), THEN I spent it alone....until I went to a family friend's for a Christmas dinner (which was quite nice!). But for a majority of the day, I was alone =(.

And what does one do alone on xmas day? BAKE! Yes, since I had nothing else to do, and an empty house, I cranked up the music, poured myself a glass of dolcetto and got baking!

I was planning to make some gingerbread, but being buzzed on wine (makes cooking even funner if that's possible that even a word?), I decided to be a bit more crative and try making some Gingerbread Macarons! Ive come across a few recipe for these in the past few weeks, but I wanted to incorporate a few more ingredient you find in gingerbread.....

And that is where my downfall lies. Even though they did rise a bit, they were quite sticky, and so they were reaaaally difficult to take off the baking paper without breaking or cracking them. They didn't rise that much because I added golden syrup (among other things) to the mixture....maybe a bit too much =P. But, they did taste realllllly nice, and they achieved their goal of being alternatives to gingerbread. They went really nicely with the new vanilla buttercream recipe I tried as well =D. So all in all, I actually don't think they were the biggest fail, since I was the only one home and it doesn't matter that they looked like s**t hhaha - they tasted damn delicious =D.

I'll give you the recipe anyways, maybe omit or add less of the golden syrup...pretty sure it should work if you do that =).

Gingerbread Macarons

100g egg whites, room temperature
100g almond meal
200g pure icing sugar
1 heaped tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cinnamon
30g caster sugar
30g brown sugar (dried in a 100C oven for 10 minutes, then pushed through a sieve)
1 tbsp golden syrup

1. Preheat your oven 150C (300F).

2. Sift icing sugar, almond meal, ground ginger and cinnamon into a bowl. Stir to combine.

3. Beat eggwhites in a separate bowl until soft peaks form. Slowly add the caster sugar and brown sugar, beating well between each addition, until eggwhites are stiff and glossy. This process should take around 5-10 minutes. Putting the electric mixer on the lowest speed, beat in the golden syrup until mixture is homogeneous.

4. Incorporate the egg-white mixture into the almond meal mixtures, using a spatula and quick strokes. Slow down once the mass has broken down. Make sure you don’t over-mix – 50 strokes should be enough to achieve a sticky mixture that flows like lava (place a bit on a plate, if the top flattens by itself it is ready. If not, give the mixture a few more strokes).

5. Pipe the mixture into small rounds onto trays lined with baking paper. Dust some cinnamon/ginger (or a mixture) over the shells and allow them to dry for 30-60 mins (they should harden and a ‘skin’ should form).

6. Place the baking trays in the oven and allow to bake for around 15-20 minutes depending on your oven.

7. Remove from oven and transfer shells still on baking paper to cooling racks. Once fully cooled, remove the shells from the paper and match them in pairs according to size. Fill with buttercream (recipe below) and place in air-tight container in the fridge (macarons actually taste much better and have the right texture if left to ‘mature’ for a day or so).

Vanilla Frosting
Adapted from the Pioneer Woman

5 tbsp plain flour
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
225g (1 cup) butter
3/4 cup caster sugar

1. Whisk flour into milk in a medium saucepan. Place over medium heat and stir constantly until mixture thickens (to avoid lumps).

2. Allow mixture to cool to room temp (I placed mine in a stainless steel bowl, placed in a freezer and in 1 minute intervals took it out and stirred it). Once fully cooled, mix in vanilla extract.

3. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy (7-9 minutes). On medium speed, beat in the milk mixture. Beat until resembles whipped cream (2-3 minutes).

Also, I thought I might update you on how my Christmas Cake that I made over a month ago turned out!! It tastes so nice now!! It has matured really nicely and has become more moist. I iced it with some royal icing (fondant) which I think just made it even better. I also cut out little stars and stuck them on just like Margaret Fulton has done on hers haha. I cut up a bit for my dad to take to some relatives overseas, and the rest I plan to give to friends (even though it is technically after xmas =P).

Enjoy =D

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