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Simpler Than You Think: Chai Spiced Macarons

18 Jul 2015

Does the idea of baking anything other than your simple, taught the recipe when you're 10 years old, cupcakes fill you with dread? Do you avoid any baking that looks like it could be too tricky for you?

Well, I have a confession to make. Despite writing a baking blog, I'd never even attempted dough until two Christmases ago, I'd never attempted meringues until last Summer and I only braved Macarons this Christmas. Each time I attempted these slightly trickier bakes, I was pleasantly surprised at how good the first batch came out and it has encouraged me to share with you my favourite recipes for some impressive, simpler than you think recipes.

Now, I'm not saying that these kinds of things don't still require a lot more time, effort, trial and error than the classic bakes. What I am saying, is that they are possible, even if you're not a confident baker.

Take my Mum, for example, who claimed that she has 'never been able to make meringues', which I initially took to mean they were incredibly difficult to make and only worked for the most experienced of bakers. When I then attempted them myself and managed a half decent first batch, I asked Mum exactly why she thought that they were impossible. She replied by saying that she never whisked them enough. So it was a problem of lack of patience, rather than lack of skill.

Macarons are dainty, sweet, light, and impressive. You can be creative with their colour and flavour and it will only take you a few attempts to get them perfect, I promise. So, without further ado, here is my favourite foolproof recipe for Chai Macarons:

You will need:
(Based on the recipe)
4 egg whites
70g caster sugar
225g icing sugar
120g ground almonds

For the Chai Buttercream filling:
75g unsalted butter
175g icing sugar
4 tsp Drink Me Chai Spice (available in most supermarkets)
a few tsp water
a sprinkling of cinnamon

Step One. Carefully separate the eggs, being careful to make sure that you have no yolk in your mixing bowl. Pour in the sugar and whisk with an electric whisk or mixer until stiff peaks form. The way I judge this other than by appearance, is to tip the bowl over one of my family member's heads and hope the mixture doesn't fall out. If you're using food colouring then add this in and mix a bit more.

Step Two. Sift the icing sugar with the ground almonds and a pinch of salt. Carefully pour into the meringue mixture and fold gently until all is combined and the mixture is not lumpy but not over smooth.

Step Three. Pour your mixture into a piping bag with a large round tipped nozzle and pipe onto baking trays lined with baking paper. It would help to draw out some template shapes, so they end up slightly more uniform in appearance than mine! Once done, firmly whack the tray onto a surface a good few times, this will help the surfaces of the macarons to be smooth and uncracked.

Step Four. Place your macarons in the oven at 150 degrees for 20-30 minutes, until they come off the tray easily without sticking.

Step Five. To make your buttercream simply mix the butter, icing sugar and spices together and add enough water to make it a smooth consistency. Then, sandwich your macarons together.

Tip: I always put the cracked ones at the bottom so it looks like I'm an awesome baker and have baked them all to smooth perfection.

These quantities tend to make a heck of a lot of macarons, I'm talking 20 - 30 depending on the size, which is perfect for first-time bakers because you can pick the best ones to display!

If you fancy another Chai spiced recipe, then check out my yummy Chai Tea Cupcakes...

Imogen x

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Please feel free to leave a comment, it really makes my day! Imogen x