Brandy snaps are a dessert which I think of as quintessentially British, a retro treat which seems to remind many people of their childhood. What better way to be inspired by the Diamond Jubilee than to invent a new take on a British favourite…delicious, crunchy and sweet, I love eating these on their own, filled with whipped cream or even as an accompaniment to vanilla ice cream. For these brandy snap macarons I used this macaron recipe and for the brandy snaps I used Mary Berry’s recipe as seen on the Great British Bake Off and added brandy to the cream centre.
Ingredients (to make approximately 16):
55g demerara sugar
55g golden syrup
50g plain flour
1/2 tsp powdered ginger
1/2 tsp lemon juice
150ml double cream
- Preheat the oven to 180c. Line two baking trays with baking parchment.
- Measure the butter, sugar and syrup into a small, heavy-based pan.
- Heat gently until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. This will take about 15 minutes over a low heat.
- Leave the mixture to cool slightly (for about 2-3 minutes), then sieve in the flour and ginger. Pour in the lemon juice and stir well to mix thoroughly. Drop four teaspoonfuls of the mixture onto each baking tray to make neat circles.
- Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until the mixture is well spread out, looks lacey and is a dark golden colour. Once baked, work fast to shape the brandy snaps. It is easier to leave them to firm up slightly for a minute or so before lifting the brandy snap using a palette knife or fish slice.
- Quickly roll it around the handle of a wooden spoon, having the join underneath. Press the join slightly to seal and leave it to firm up on a cooling rack. If any of the circles harden too much to work with, place back in the oven for a few minutes to soften them again.
- Repeat until all the mixture has been used up.
- For the cream, whip into soft peaks and add the brandy. Using a piping bag, pipe the cream into the centre of the brandy snaps.
For the macaron filling crush a brandy snap shell and mix into the whipped cream. Pipe a dollop of cream onto the macaroni shell and top with a second shell. For the wording on the macaron use an edible gold paint and a fine paint brush. Tips:
- Make the brandy snaps in small batches, this will give you time to roll them before they cool down and become too hard.
- The brandy is optional.
- For a longer lasting macaron use buttercream (cream together 100g of butter with 100g of icing sugar and mix in 70g of white chocolate) instead of double cream.
- To intensify the flavour you can add some ginger powder to the cream as well.
This blog post is for the Homemade by Fleur Blogging Jubilee Baking Competition which is sponsored by Appliances Online.
There are a plethora of baking competitions around in the run up to the Jubilee and it got me thinking about traditional British desserts and how much they are a part of our every day life. Think about it, bread and butter pudding, angel delight, jam roly poly… everyone has eaten these desserts (everyone from a dessert obsessed family that is!).
And I’m proud of our British desserts. They are a universal source of joy. Whether it’s an apple crumble, a treacle tart or a trifle, you will find each have their enthusiasts up and down the UK, ready to fight for their honour should the conversation require it. Call me crazy, but people bond over dessert. Everyone eats dessert, the Queen, the business man, the middle class Boden-clad mum, the chavs… EVERYONE eats dessert (albeit differing in frequency and quantity). DESSERT HAS POWER.
Anyway, back to why I started this post, our supernatural, magically-endowed British desserts inspired me to make Diamond Jubilee macarons. Macarons not only to celebrate Her Majesty’s sixty years on the throne, but also to pay homage the fine desserts of the land she rules. Desserts don’t get enough credit, homage should be paid to them more often (did I mention I love dessert?).
So without further ado, here is one of my Jubilee inspired macarons… (the recipes for the macarons themselves can be found here) and there will be another Jubilee inspired macaron posted at some point this week so subscribe for updates straight to your inbox or just keep checking back :)
Eton Mess Macarons:
A pink macaron shell filled with whipped cream, crushed meringue and fresh strawberries.
For the filling:
- Make a small batch of meringue (you can find an excellent “how-to” from Delia here), crush it into small pieces and mix it into some whipped double cream.
- Cut a 3cm (approx) section from the end of a strawberry and cut it in half lengthways.
- Using a piping bag, pipe enough cream onto the macaron shell to securely stick the the strawberry pieces (pointy end facing up) to the filling and carefully fill the gaps in-between the strawberries with more cream.
- Top with another macaron shell.
Some useful tips:
- do not over-whip the cream as it will become very difficult to pipe. I tend to under whip the cream slightly as it gets beat around a bit more as I’m spooning it into the piping bag.
- for piping the cream you must use a plastic piping bag, not a home made baking paper one. I find the moistness of the cream soaks into the paper and causes it to tear very easily.
I know toffee apples are not really a summer snack, but I’m never one to say no to a toffee apple, no matter what time of year it is.
Toffee apples are for the younger ones amongst us aren’t they… I mean, at 24 I’m probably far too old to be eating them. I know this because as I was eating I was getting more and more concerned about how sticky my hands and face were getting.
As a child you don’t care about these things. You run around eating, dodging the swipes of your parents as they try to clean you up. There are bits of caramel stuck to your shirt and cheeks and there is absolutely no concern that everything you are subsequently touching will either become sticky, or become stuck to your hands.
It is true however that there comes a point where, sadly, a person no longer wants to eat toffee apples simply because it’s too much hassle. As you get older you are expected to be more mature and sophisticated (neither are words which can be used to describe toffee apples!) and the harsh reality is that an older person’s teeth are not as well equipped to deal with hard, sticky toffee with a crunchy apple underneath! I warn you know, this very same batch of toffee apples claimed the tooth of a friend of mine…
But, apart from the inevitable stickiness and the small danger of becoming toothless, it was a joy to eat and photograph these toffee apples in the glorious sunshine we have been so blessed to enjoy this week. They may not be mature or sophisticated, but they are fun and as they say…. an apple a day keeps the doctor away!
It’s been quite a delay, but for the most part our shiny new website is up and running. It’s simple and (hopefully) easy to use, just please ignore my very obvious lack of web design skills and inability to understand all but the most simple html coding.
There’s information on all of our products including the vintage tea parties and my macarons, as well as our cupcakes and celebration cakes.
If you have Facebook and would like to support us, please “like” us on our revamped Facebook Page, where we will be posting photos and updates from the kitchen. And also, anyone who likes our page will get 10% off any order made before 30th November 2012. So please do have a look, and share with your friends too!
Alongside the direct link to the Rose Apple website you will also notice the “Ask a Question” tab. This is linked up to my new Formspring account, so ask away if you so wish!
Quite possibly the cutest cake Rose Apple has made. It’s always hard to make a classy looking dog themed cake, but I think this one isn’t bad. As always, would love to know if you like it!
If you like what you see then “like” Rose Apple Bakery on Facebook, the button is in the right hand column of this page :)
I love it when friends cook for me and I discover delicious dishes which I would otherwise never have tried.
If you’re thinking, “Well, I don’t like artichokes/peppers” don’t stop reading! This dip may change your mind. Ordinarily I’m not a fan of artichokes or peppers, so last Saturday as I was watching this being made, I didn’t pay too much attention, thinking that I’d never want to make it anyway. But once I’d tasted it’s creamy, artichokey goodness, I couldn’t stop eating.
400g canned artichoke hearts (I used artichoke hearts in garlic oil)
8-10 tablespoons light mayonnaise
5 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
3/4 teaspoon onion salt
- Preheat the oven to 190c.
- Drain the artichoke hearts and chop into small pieces (the size does not matter too much, it just depends on how “chunky” you want the dip to be, I tried to get the artichoke into 3cm-ish pieces)
- Place the artichokes into a casserole dish or anything with a large surface area to spread the dip over.
- Add the mayonnaise, 4 tablespoons of the parmesan and the onion salt. Mix well.
- Level out the mixture in the dish and sprinkle the remaining parmesan over the top.
- Bake in the oven for about 25 mins or until the cheese has melted and the top of the dip is slightly browned.
- Whilst the dip is in the oven wash and deseed the peppers. And slice into strips (you may want to make the pepper strips a little wider than I have done here so that it’s easier to scoop up the dip).
You can enjoy this artichoke dip warm or cold. Now I’m just waiting for summer to come so I can enjoy more summery Mediterranean foods!
When you read the recipe you’ll notice that the dip is baked in the oven. I thought it was weird to have warm dip, but it actually creates a nice texture when eaten with cool, fresh peppers.
I haven’t posted anything for over a week now and (at risk of sounding self-indulgent and assuming that you are interested enough to even care), I assure you I haven’t given up blogging. I’ve just been very busy with various little projects…
The Rose Apple Bakery website is ready for launch in a few days. I don’t think I’ve ever spent more time staring at my computer screen.
Lots of macarons. Yes, that’s a chocolate macaron with gold leaf.
An idea in the works to update my great grandmother’s recipes…
I will be back soon with some proper posts in about a week but if you can please visit the Rose Apple Bakery Facebook Page, like us and say hi! From now on there will be regular updates about new cake designs and we’d love to keep you informed. :) See you soon!
The Rose Apple kitchen was extra busy at the beginning of this week as we prepared a sumptuous tea party for 8, the first of what will hopefully be many more vintage inspired parties to order.
The idea is that you can have a beautiful tea party in the comfort of your own home without any of the stress. Rose Apple provides the food, cutlery, crockery and props, delivers and sets up at your home and then collects everything afterwards.
As this was our first one, things were a little stressful, and the bad weather didn’t help either. But in the end everything was baked, safely packed and laid out at our client’s house. Amongst other things we brought hand-embroidered table cloths, vintage tea cups and saucers, flowers and vases and of course a spread of sweet and savoury foods.
Chocolate cupcakes with hand painted, personalised sugar disks
savoury– smoked salmon & cream cheese bagels, feta & tomato tartlets, cheese & onion chutney scones, egg & cress mini brioches, cucumber sandwiches.
sweet– lime and raspberry macarons, strawberry & vanilla shortcakes, chocolate cupcakes, chocolate-covered strawberries, rose water mini meringues, lemon drizzle loaf cake.
From £18 per head.
A TEA PARTY PREVIEW
Well, we had one day of glorious sun and now it’s back to the wind and the rain. But not before I had a chance to make some pretty tea party macarons and take advantage of yesterday’s perfect afternoon light.
Last Friday I went to the Cake International 2012 exhibition at the Excel Centre in London. I bought bottles of orange, blackcurrant and lime flavouring and decided to try out the lime one for my next macaron test.
I simply added a few drops to plain buttercream and was left with a lovely citrusy, fragrant lime cream filling :)
These macarons went off to Rose Apple Bakery’s first tea party catering event, but of course not before I had enjoyed a couple of them with a cup of tea in the short-lived sunshine.
Stay tuned for photos from the tea party!