Monday, December 19, 2005

Biscuit Bonanza

Oh my goodness, did we eat!!! And chat, and laugh, and drink...

Saturday was my first blogger meeting (Celia, Jeanne, Jenni, Joanna, Johanna, Martina, Melissa and Melissa's friend Wampe) and what a feast it turned out to be! Johanna, the host, treated us to Sauerkraut, Bratwurst and various Austrian dips. But that was only the 'amuse bouche'! We continued with a sumptious cheese fondue, complete with smoked hams and gherkins, washed down with white wine. Just in case we were still short of a calorie or two in this first instalment of the annual 'put on a stone in one month' marathon, we were then treated to mulled wine/cider and the complete array of Christmas cookies that everyone had brought! (The variety shown above is only plate 1...) Of course, every single one had to be sampled and swapped! YES!!! We all went home with containers full of the most delicious homebaked creations!
Just opening my tin, the smell catapults me back to a gappy toothed little me, singing Christmas songs by the light of the candles on the advent wreath, with my Mum and my brother, just as Johanna had conjured up on Saturday... Thank you so much Johanna for bringing back such happy memories, for hosting this event, and for all the hard work that went into it. Thank you to everyone else, too, for being absolutely marvellous company and such terrific biscuit bakers. Particular thanks must go to Melissa for her driving me down to "Twickers", and Joanna for driving me to High Wycombe.

I won't go into all the details of my semi-catastrophic cookie making, suffice it to say that OH had already noticed the mark on the dining room table and had inspected it and found a whole piece missing underneath... ooops!I've also got muscular ache, though why in my left arm, that remains a mystery.
Anyway, here's the recipe I followed:

Haselnussmakronen – Hazelnut Macaroons

Recipe says, it will make 70, my empirical research says: 50 at the most...

4 egg whites
200g caster sugar
1 pinch of cinnamon
1 pinch of salt
300g ground hazelnuts (for best taste, grind just before making macaroons)
50-70 whole hazelnuts (just in case)

Beat the egg whites until stiff, add the sugar in batches and continue beating until the mixture stands in stiff peaks, then carefully fold in the rest of the ingredients, except the whole hazelnuts. With two wet teaspoons, drop walnut sized heaps of the mixture on to a baking tray lined with baking paper. Place whole hazelnuts in the middle of each macaroon. Allow to stand. (Some recipes suggest letting them rest at room temperature for an hour...)

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 130º C for ca 20 minutes.

It is important at this point that you don’t go up into the attic to search for your nice Christmas tin...

Will keep for several weeks in an airtight container.
Apparently, they can even be frozen...

variations I found:
4 drops of bitter almond essence/vanilla essence
100g desiccated coconut & 200g ground hazelnuts
a mixture of ground and flaked hazelnuts
1 teaspoon lemon juice
icing sugar instead of caster sugar
grated lemon rind

I also found that it might be possible to ‘grind’ the hazelnuts in a food processor...

My Mum used to make coconut macaroons all year round, but I never took to those as much, they were just too sweet for my liking. Of course, it would also be dead easy to make them with almonds, for which I might try the ground/flaked mixture for a more varied texture.

The suggested temperature in the recipes ranged from 120º C to 300º C, and the suggested baking time from 8*-30 minutes, making it the ideal recipe for me, operating with a mini oven where the temperature cannot be determined (at least not by you - you get what you’re given), and where the heat can disappear despite of the stepladders’ valiant efforts...

* 8-10 minutes at 185º C, for soft macaroons, suggests one recipe

Soon to come:
Was mache ich mit dem Eigelb?
What do I do with the yolks?

I wonder how similar my advocaat is to Johanna's home made Bailey's?


Joanna said...

Hi Zabeena, thanks so much for posting the delicious hazelnut recipe, I'm going to try it soon. Great to meet you the other day, we were so busy talking that we forgot all about Andrew's food parcel. Sorry my comment about round robins turns out to be longer than your original post - I did warn you I'd send it to you.

Happy Christmas

Mona said...

MMMMMMMMM. Yummy! We have some macaroons in the fridge and I think I like them better chilled. Good suggestion:)
Have a merry merry Christmas! Can you believe it's 2 days away?! AAH!

Zabeena said...

Joanna: yes, great meeting you; and yes, I have to send a small parcel to Andrew, hardly worth it, but...
Mona: macaroons in the fridge? Interesting!
Merry Chritsmas to you and everyone else!!
(It's my birthday today (and my eldest son's), so we're already celebrating... continuing tomorrow, which is the main day... evening really... in a German family)

Andrew said...

Heh its Christmas! WHERES MY PRESENTS! ;-)

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