Almond meal macarons

September 24, 2021

I'm more than halfway through French week! I've never managed to get my macarons super smooth and with feet but hey, they always taste good. I didn't expect smoothness with these ones either, as I used homemade almond meal that has flecks of almond skin in it, much heavier than pure blanched almond flour. The almond meal was made from dehydrating almond pulp, which was a byproduct from making almond milk - The Minimalist Baker is an expert at this and her recipes are easy to follow.
The egg whites are leftover from making the creme patisserie I used in my eclairs. Such is the delicious culinary circle of French patisserie: you make custard with yolks and then need to use up the whites. In this case, macarons, but meringues, friands and pavlova are also great options! This recipe is adapted from Cookie Madness.

Makes 24 shells (12 filled macarons) 

1 1/3 c almond meal or almond flour

2 c icing sugar

4 egg whites

1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste

few drops yellow food colouring


150 g white chocolate

1/2 c cream or coconut cream, warmed

1 1/2 tsp dried raspberry powder

Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Sift almond meal and icing sugar into a small bowl.

In a large bowl whisk the egg whites until stiff. Mix in vanilla and food colouring. Fold in almond mixture with a spatula. The batter should be thick and ribbon-like but not runny.

Spoon the batter into a piping bag with a 2 cm round nozzle and pipe 3-5 cm wide circles on the baking sheet. I didn't have any piping bags so used a thin plastic bag with a piping nozzle. It burst! Sticky mess everywhere. So I just used 2 teaspoons to spoon circles onto the tray, and used wet teaspoons and fingers to tidy up the shape and flatten any bumpy bits.

Let the shells sit at room temperature for an hour. When you use fine almond flour (made from blanched almonds), your macarons have a better chance of forming a skin as they set. It is unlikely this will happen with almond meal as the batter is not smooth to begin with.

Preheat oven to 200C. Put macarons in and immediately reduce temperature to 150C and bake for 12-15 minutes or until the tops appear set. 

Let cool completely on the tray before peeling off the baking paper.

Make the ganache by melting the chocolate in a small bowl then stirring in the warmed cream and raspberry powder. If the ganache becomes oily, just warm the bowl again and maybe add a bit more warmed cream.

Sandwich 2 macarons together with ganache and chill in fridge before serving. You can also freeze them in an airtight bag.

Postscript: when I made raspberry rose macarons in 2017, our 5-year-old said it was the best thing I'd ever made! When she had one of these ones, she again proclaimed, "this is the best thing you've made!". I'll take that.



September 23, 2021

I cannot believe how easy it is to make croissants at home, thanks to a recipe on Baking a Moment. Instead of having to roll out sheets of 'butter block' to put between the dough, you just add thin slices of butter at the beginning. No kneading or chilling over night either, you can make them in one day. OK, they're not as perfect as professionally made ones but you can still achieve lamination of dough layers and a crisp, buttery croissant.

Makes 20
4 c flour
1/3 c sugar
4 tsp active dry yeast
2 ...

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Chocolate eclairs with creme patisserie

September 22, 2021

For my self-designated French week, one must make choux! There are a lot of components to these eclairs; the French certainly don't do pastry by halves. Was it worth it? Mais oui!

Makes around 20

Choux pastry:

200 ml water

80 g butter

pinch salt

pinch sugar

1 1/4 c flour

4 eggs

Creme patisserie

1 1/4 c milk (I used homemade almond)

1 tsp vanilla paste or extract or 1/2 vanilla pod, seeds scraped

3 egg yolks

1/2 c sugar

1 1/2 Tbsp flour

1 1/2 Tbsp cornflour

Chocolate ganache:

150 g dark chocolate

1/2 c cream (I...

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September 20, 2021

From left: Wheat baguettes; spelt baguettes

I came across this excellent no-knead recipe on Baking a Moment. Creating steam in the oven produces a crunchy crust. I added slightly more yeast for the spelt version. This is the start of a week of baking in memory of France. We had tickets booked to Paris for July 2020, would have been our first trip back in 10 years. Really hoping it's not another 10 years before I can savour real French bread and pastries again.

Makes 4 small loaves

1/4 c warm wat...

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Carrot cake roll

September 19, 2021

Carrot cake with a twist, a roll actually. This carrot Swiss roll brings the mighty combo of spicy carrot cake and cream cheese filling into every bite. Thanks to Denizen for the inspiration.

3/4 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
1/2 c sugar
2 Tbsp oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 c grated carrot (about 2 medium size)

1 c icing sugar
250 g cream cheese
85 g softened butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 190C. Line a 25 cm x 38...
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Chocolate mint thins

September 17, 2021

Better than store-bought for sure! It's a three-part process but definitely worth the delight in biting into your own fancy chocolate and mint biscuit. The recipe from @kitchenoftreats can be easily adapted to be gluten and dairy free. These store well in the freezer.

Makes 24-28

1 c flour of choice

1/3 c cocoa

60 g butter or non-dairy spread

1/2 c  sugar

1 egg


1 1/2 c icing sugar

4 tsp milk of choice

1/2 tsp peppermint essence

1 Tbsp jam mixed with a little hot water


250 g dark chocolat...

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Citrus peel cookies

September 16, 2021

Needed a quick bake to use up some mixed peel that's been sitting in the pantry for too long! It's worth the extra effort to add the tangy drizzle icing. You can swap out the butter for a non-dairy spread and use whatever flour you like.

125 g butter or non-dairy spread

1/3 c sugar

1 c flour (I used gluten free)

pinch salt

fine zest of 1 lemon, lime or orange

1/2 c mixed peel

For the icing mix 1/2 c icing sugar with the juice of 1 lemon, lime or orange to make a drizzling consistency.

In a bowl cream...

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Brioche scrolls 2.0

September 15, 2021

I first made brioche scrolls in during 2020's lockdown. It's not surprising I've had cravings for enriched dough again, since I haven't been able to purchase my favourite brioche at my local cafe, Seabreeze. This recipe yields a smaller amount of dough, but it fits perfectly into a bundt tin to make a beautiful wreath. The dough is best chilled overnight in the fridge to develop flavour so make it the day before you want to eat them!
There are many delicious flavour combos you can use for your...
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Banana bread cookies

September 11, 2021

This is adapted from Donna Hay's ingenious 4-ingredient recipe. I just used less banana to more flour ratio so the mixture wouldn't be so soft. They are not very good-looking cookies so you can jazz them up to look more appealing. The cookies have a crispy shell and a soft banana bread middle - a real wholesome treat.

Makes about 15
3/4 c mashed banana (about 2 medium)
3 c almond flour or almond meal (I grind almonds in a coffee grinder then sieve)
1/2 c coconut sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
To sprinkle: 1 ...
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Striped Swiss roll

September 9, 2021

This is a little fiddly to make, but looks great! Takes your stock standard Swiss roll to a new level. You can get even fancier by dividing your batter into more colours. If your mixture gets too runny you can chill one colour of stripes in the fridge before you add the next one.

3 eggs

1/3 c caster sugar (I use organic golden)

1/3 c flour + 1/2 Tbsp hot water

1/4 c flour + 2 Tbsp cocoa powder + 1/2 Tbsp hot water + 1 Tbsp milk

2 piping bags or plastic bags

1 1/2 c whipped cream mixed with 1/2 c ja...

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EST. 2010

Frances C loves to bake. She's also a freelance editor and DJ. She shares some of her adventures, culinary or otherwise, on Instagram and Facebook.

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