Mad Hatters Macarons

I tend to get a little over excited with themes. Themed birthdays, themed dinners, themed movie marathons….Most people may roll their eyes but I’m generally the first one to ‘sqqueeee’ in excitement and spend two weeks discussing decor ideas. It’s like crack to me. I don’t care how old I am, themes are FUN AS HELL and I will not be persuaded otherwise!  We’ve had some good ones this year; a jungle party, my Turkish themed birthday and a ‘crazy pants’ theme this weekend.

Last weekend I was asked to make a cake for my friend’s sister’s baby shower; Mad Hatter’s Tea Party themed. Being myself, I got super excited and had offered to make cookies, meringues, macarons and a cake…all in the name of fun. Plus, all the fun styling I could come up with from all my little knick knacks. Honestly, part of me wonders every now and again about throwing in my career and starting up a little side project; vintage high teas, themed parties….it would be so much fun! Sadly, it’s a realistic world and there are just SO many amazingly talented people out there. Ah well, it’s nice to have a pipe dream some times….

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I worked up some vanilla sugar cookie pocket watches for the White Rabbit, pink and purple striped Meringue kisses for the Cheshire Cat, little sugar cookie playing cards for the Queen of Hearts…and little pink macarons for the baby girl. Plus one of my first fondant cakes… holy shit, that stuff can be troublesome! Styling all the sugary goods with with gorgeous vintage tea cups, some beautiful vintage leather bound books and a little kitsch toadstools for the touch of whimsy, I think the overall effect was pretty damn adorable.

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Whilst this way very much an overall themed dessert table, one of my favorites were these rosewater ‘eat me’ macarons. I have finally found a macaron recipe that accepts my temperamental oven, impatient self and less than precise attitude to macaronage. Full credit for the recipe for http://www.myfoodgeek.com; I am in huge debt to them as this is already my second go around for this recipe within two weeks! When almond meal is as expensive as it is here in Melbourne, they are saving me serious $$ in failed macaron misery!

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For the Macarons:
120g egg whites, divided
35g sugar
150g finely ground almonds
150g powdered sugar

For the sugar syrup:
150g sugar and 50g water

Process the ground almonds and powdered sugar in the work bowl of a food processor. Most recipes call for sifting, but I think this works better and gets everything combined.

In a stand mixer, whip 60g egg whites to soft peaks, add 35g sugar.

In the meantime, in a saucepan on high heat bring the water and sugar for the syrup to 230 F. on a candy thermometer. Slowly add the boiling syrup to the egg whites and continue to whip on medium – high speed until they are completely cooled and you have a shiny meringue (10-15 minutes). Mix the remaining 60g of egg whites and the sifted almond/sugar and carefully fold into the meringue.Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip with the mixture and pipe macarons about 3 inches in diameter on silpat lined baking sheet. Bake at 320 for 15-25 minutes.

Check to see if macarons are done by grabbing the top of one macaron and trying to shake it. They are done when the top barely slides against the skirt. If they are not done, extend baking time by two minutes intervals, checking after each extension.

For the Mad Hatter Macarons, I whipped up a simple rosewater buttercream, tinted a nice hot pink. Head to my Turkish Delight cupcakes page for the recipe (https://hurricanesnozbakes.com/2016/09/21/turkish-delight-cupcakes/).

Happy baking and remember…

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Turkish Delight Cupcakes

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It’s official. I’m in my 30’s. (and this blog is a year old! WOW! )

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My birthday just passed last week and to be honest I was almost expecting some form of existential crisis; the standard “oh god, what have I achieved in the last 30 years of my life” moment. But strangely enough, all is calm in this super neurotic and anxious mind of mine. I’m looking forward to my 30’s. The older you get, the more you understand the world we live in…the more we appreciate and acknowledge our lucky moments and learn from our not so lucky ones.

Even though it seems a little “off-trend” to celebrate birthdays anymore, I knew a little shindig at home with all my friends would be the perfect reminder of why this next decade will be so great. It’s hard to be negative when you can see all the amazing people that have come into your life on your journey.

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How does this relate to these delicious morsels you see above I hear you ask? Well, no shingdig is complete without dessert! Stringing up firelights and lanterns, I had a Turkish vibe to the night and that calls for Turkish Delight Cupcakes! I love my an authentic Rose Turkish Delight as much as the next gal but there is something delicious about teaming rosewater with a beautiful dark chocolate…feels all the more induglent. These little devils would be even cuter with a cube of Turkish Delight on top but alas; the decoration could not survive my snacking tendencies.

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Cupcake (recipe from cupcakeproject.com)

1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
75g of your favorite chocolate
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil, measured in a liquid measuring cup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup full-fat sour cream
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup cocoa powder (natural or dutched will both work with this recipe)
1/2 cup brewed coffe, cooled to room temp, measured in a liquid measuring cup

Rosewater Buttercream
1 cup butter
3 1/2 cups icing sugar mixture
2 tablespoons thickened cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon rosewater
1 dollop of red or pink food colouring to your taste…I used a mix of pink and a touch of burgundy in gel colours

To decorate;
Pistrachios/Turkish delight

1. Preheat oven to 185C.  In a medium-sized mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, mix butter and sugar until fully combined. The end result should look like wet sand.
2. Carefully melt the chocolate in the microwave or in a double boiler. Once the melted chocolate is cool enough to touch, add it to the butter/sugar mixture and mix until just combined.
3.  Mix in eggs and egg yolks one at a time until just combined. Mix in oil, vanilla, and sour cream until just combined.
4. Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, and cocoa powder into a separate medium-sized bowl. Use a fork or a whisk to ensure that the ingredients are mixed well after sifting.
5. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients in three additions, mixing until just combined after each addition. Mix in coffee until just combined.
6.  Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and put in the oven. Check for doneness at 18 minutes – a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake should come out clean. If they are not done, check again every three minutes until they are done. Immediately remove cupcakes from the cupcake tin and place on a cooling rack or on the counter to cool to room temperature.
7. For the frosting, in a bowl, combine butter and sugar. Beat till blended. Add the cream, rose water, vanilla and food colouring and beat for an additional 3 to 5 minutes or until smooth and creamy. Pipe onto your cooled cupcakes and top with pistachios.