We put up our Christmas tree today, much to the ire of Koji who tossed a half-confused, half-annoyed “It’s still November!” in my direction after I sent him a picture complete with an exclamation mark filled caption.
(He’s right, of course, but Thanksgiving is tomorrow, there’s less than five weeks left til C-Day and I’ve already done half my shopping and am sick of keeping it stuffed in the back of my wardrobe. So there.)
Also, I’d gotten a little season-happy a week or so back and started my Christmas baking.
A more sensible person might have started her Christmas baking with more non-perishable items. Some gingersnaps perhaps. Or a tray of miniature fruit cakes. Something that gets better over time and will survive the thirty-something days we have left until all and sunder eat too much, sleep too much and spend just that little bit more than they should.
But I had powdered food colouring, the first candy canes of the season and a brand new bottle of pandan extract.
And with that I got piping.
Devastatingly red shells, adorned in squiggles, swirls and polka dots. Hands stained from a red powdered food colouring related disaster that had others shying away from my seemingly-infected fingers.
Peppy green shells, covered in spirals, letteres, stars and spots. My mother’s pandan extract stock sneakily depleted. A grandma wandering into the kitchen expecting chiffon cake.
She loitered curiously about the kitchen, poured herself a glass of water and peered at the trays that sat drying on the benchtop.
“You are making biscuits?”
“Yes. Do you want to help?”
“I’ll call you when they are done then.”
“Are they done?”
My initial thought was to make them baubles, with little wisps of gold string attached to a shiny maca-bauble encased in a clear plastic bag.
But the bags I bought were too large, and it seemed almost cruel to gift just one lowly mac.
And so, a spread.
Christmas decorations out. Tinsel relegated to the back of the cupboard. (Where, in my opinion, it belongs. Silly scratchy shiny mess!)
This batch, already a week old, will hold itself in the freezer for the week and a half until my first big Christmas get together with the girls I went to school with.
(Plus a new fiancee! Plus a baby! Neither of which are mine!)
The rest (or should I say, those not squirreled away for the occasion) are fair game.
A situation that my chiffon-cake-less granny is more than pleased with.
christmas bauble macaron
makes approximately 40 macaron sandwiches (with two shells & one set of filling… and leftover filling)
you will need (for the macaron):
200g egg whites
220g almond meal (I used Lucky Brand)
400g icing sugar
100g caster sugar
2 tsp powdered egg whites (optional)
red powdered food colouring
green powdered food colouring
how to do it:
1. Put the egg whites in a microwaveable bowl and zap on defrost for about 10 seconds. Let them sit while you continue with the recipe.
2. Put the almond meal and icing sugar into a food processor and pulse until it is well combined and there are no lumps left. Place this mixture into a large bowl.
3. Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites and powdered egg white (if using) until they reach soft peak stage. Add the caster sugar a bit at a time and continue beating until they form stiff / firm peaks.
4. Add the meringue mixture to the almond meal, coconut & icing sugar mixture and stir quickly and firmly at first to combine the mixtures and bash all of the stiff bubbles out of the egg whites. Once it starts looking combined, take out a scoop (about 1/5) of the mixture and place it in a separate bowl. Split the remaining mixture in half.
5. Add the red food colouring to one of the large bowls of mixture and green food colouring to the other large bowl. Leave the small bowl of the mixture untinted.
6. In each bowl, stir carefully until the colour is combined into the mix and the mixture becomes shiny again. If you flick a streak of mixture across its surface, it should disappear back into the mixture in a few seconds.
7. Using a round piping tip (between 0.7 – 1cm is ok) and piping bag, pipe the coloured mixture onto a baking sheet in 3cm circles.
8. Place the plain (uncoloured) mixture into a piping bag with a 0.1 or 0.2cm round tip and pipe your desired pattern. If you are quick enough, the mixture will dissolve into the colour so that there is no visible bump. If you would like a bumpier texture (where the plain mixture sits on top of the coloured mixture) wait 15 minutes or so before starting to pipe the white mixture onto the macaron.
9. Leave the macaron to sit for at least half an hour after the last piping is done, or until you can touch the surface of the macaron without leaving fingerprints.
10. Pre-heat your oven to 150C and bake the macaron for 20-25 minutes, turning the heat down at the end if they start to brown too much.
11. Fill the red macaron with dark chocolate peppermint ganache and the green macaron with pandan white chocolate ganache.
dark chocolate peppermint ganache
you will need:
3 large candy canes
400g dark chocolate
150ml heavy cream
how to do it:
1. Break the candy canes up and either chop them finely or pulse in a food processor until they are reduced to fine rubble.
2. Melt the dark chocolate and the heavy cream together in a saucepan over low heat (or, if you are nervous about working with chocolate, use a bain marie so that the chocolate does not overheat and split).
3. Stir in the candy cane rubble.
4. Chill until it is thick before piping onto the shells.
white chocolate pandan ganache
you will need:
400g white chocolate
150ml heavy cream
2tsp pandan extract (from most asian groceries)
how to do it:
1. Melt the white chocolate and the heavy cream together in a saucepan over low heat (or, if you are nervous about working with chocolate, use a bain marie so that the chocolate does not overheat and split).
2. Stir in the pandan extract. The mixture will turn bright green and smell amazing!
3. Chill until it is thick before piping onto the shells.
For more Christmas recipes on onebitemore, click here!