Matcha Green Tea Macarons

This matcha craze doesn’t seem to be subsiding so let’s add to the green tea fun! The slight bitterness of matcha works so well in desserts as the sweetness mellows the bitterness slightly, creating the perfect balance.
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Here, I’ve made two fillings: matcha buttercream and a dark chocolate ganache. Both are great accompaniments with matcha – the first is buttery, floral and perfect for a green tea lover, and the second is rich, smooth, and decadent.
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Macarons are infamously difficult to perfect, but it just requires a few practices. This great video from Talita makes it look so easy! And the trick to softer, moister macarons is to wait a few days before eating, or add the filling and serve the next day. Trust me, the patience is worth it!DSC_0465 (1)
Matcha Macarons (makes 16 macarons)
Ingredients
  • 60 grams egg whites
  • 76 grams almond meal
  • 90 grams powdered sugar
  • 46 grams granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp matcha powder
  • Pinch cream of tartar

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C/350℉.
  2. Line two baking pans with greaseproof paper and lay macaron templates underneath.
  3. Pulse the ground almonds and icing sugar in the food processor and sift into a bowl to remove most of the large clumps. If a few small pieces remain, you can add back in the bowl or leave them out (depends how neat you want them).
  4. In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy.
  5. Add the granulated sugar and process for 2-3 minutes until the granulated sugar has been incorporated and the mixture is thick.
  6. Add the cream of tartar and the matcha powder and whisk the egg whites on high until stiff, glossy peaks form.
  7. Add ⅓ of the almond meal mixture to the egg whites. Using a spatula, fold in the dry ingredients a few times following the curve of the bowl and towards the center. Once the first ⅓ of the dry ingredients have been mostly incorporated repeat with the second ⅓ then the the remaining ⅓ of the almond meal mixture. Do not overmix as you want a thick, glossy batter that flows thickly from the spatula. You should have a ribbon of batter that takes about 20 seconds to be incorporated back into the mixture.
  8. Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip. Pipe 4cm rounds (following a template) onto the greaseproof paper. I pipe with the tip directly above the baking sheet and use a slight swirling motion from the center of the round, pushing the batter out.
  9. Tap the baking sheets against the counter a few times to remove air bubbles, and let the macarons rest until a skin forms. They’re ready to bake when the batter doesn’t stick to your finger.
  10. You should only bake one sheet at a time, otherwise the bottom tray will not rise well (I’m speaking from experience!) Bake for 13-14 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through the baking period. The feet should develop in the first 5-6 minutes. Be careful not to let the macarons get brown. Remove the first batch from the oven and repeat the same steps with the second.
  11. Let the baked shells sit in the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. You will know they are done when they lift easily off the parchment paper or silicone baking mat. If the shells stick, they’re undercooked.
  12. Fill with your favourite filling and serve the next day.
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Christmas Gingerbread Funfair

Merry Christmas all! I hope you all had a fun, food-filled holiday!

Christmas tradition in our house includes building gingerbread sculptures. Last year was the traditional gingerbread house, and this year we wanted a challenge: a funfair, with a moving ferris wheel! And I’m proud to say…it turns!

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I love the texture of this gingerbread cookie, which was crunchy, not the soft cake-like texture that most recipes create.

Notes: I substituted the butter with spread as this was all that I had. This made the dough very soft so I added about 1 more cup of flour and froze the dough before rolling it out. This worked and resulted in crunchy cookies 🙂 Please note that you cannot always substitute butter with spread, especially when butter is the main ingredients such as in buttercream, or when you want a strong buttery flavour. But spread is healthier…

Gingerbread (enough for the ferris wheel, carousel and entrance)

Ingredients

  • 420g all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 4 tsp. ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp. ground cloves
  • 225g butter, softened
  • 150g brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 100g honey

Method

Combine flour, soda, salt and spices. Whisk well to combine. In another large bowl, cream butter and sugar with electric mixer on medium speed for about 3 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl and add egg and molasses. Beat on medium speed until smooth. Scrape down sides again and then add flour mixture. Mix on low speed just until combined. Separate dough into halves or thirds, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour, or up to 2 days.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Dust work surface and rolling pin with flour, and roll dough to ¼ inch thickness, sprinkling with extra flour as needed to prevent sticking. Cut into desired shapes and place on parchment or silicone-lined baking sheets. Bake for 12-14 minutes, depending on size of cookies.

Royal Icing sugar

Ingredients

  • 9g egg white powder
  • 250g icing sugar
  • 1/4 cup warm water

Method

Combine ingredients and whisk until stiff. Divide into bowls to mix in food colouring, and place in piping bags to decorate your gingerbread.

Despicable Me Rainbow Birthday Cake

Rainbow cakes are still such a popular choice for birthday cakes – they are ALL OVER the internet! I mean, who doesn’t like multi-coloured food?! So here’s another addition to the millions already out there 🙂

This cake was for my brother’s girlfriend, and as a Despicable Me fan, the marzipan models were a must. This was the first time I’ve made any type of model using marzipan (or fondant-like material) and I have to say, it is so much fun! You can make just about anything with the stuff! I’ve always steered away from them since I didn’t want to put a lump of sugar on a cake that no-one would eat. But for a fun birthday cake, it adds so much joy!

Despicable me, Rainbow cake

 

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Rainbow cake slice

Many recipes I came across used pre-made cake mix, but that is something that I never buy, so here is my made-from-scratch rainbow recipe:

Vanilla Rainbow Cake

Makes one 6 layer, 8 inch cake. Adapted from Hummingbird Cakes

  • 250g all-purpose flour
  • 250g sugar
  • 2.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 pinch salt
  • 84g butter
  • 240ml milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Food colouring: purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, red
  1. Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a mixing bowl and beat on slow speed until everything is combined and you have a crumb mixture with a sandy consistency. Gradually pour in half the milk and beat until the milk is incorporated.
  2. Whisk together the remaining milk, egg and vanilla. Pour into the flour mixture and beat until all ingredients are just incorporated. Beat for another 30 seconds until batter is smooth. Do not overmix.
  3. Divide batter into 6 (I weighed them because I’m paranoid), and put your desired food colouring in each bowl.
  4. Divide batter amongst 8 inch baking pans (if you don’t have multiple pans, you can do this in batches) and bake at 170C for about 15 to 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out mostly clean. Cool before frosting.

Swiss Meringue buttercream

This was not enough to cover the top (hence the cheeky chocolate ganache 😉 ) so I would use 1.5 times this recipe to allow for added decorations. For the piped decorations, I used a peppermint and chocolate chip buttercream by replacing the vanilla extract with peppermint extract.

  • 110g egg whites
  • 183g sugar
  • 250g butter
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Whisk egg whites and sugar over a bain marie until 64C or sugar has dissolved.
  2. Take off heat and whisk until thick and glossy and bowl feels neutral.
  3. Add butter one at a time until all is incorporated. Minions