How wrong could one person be?
Very. They were, as Craig Revell-Horwood would say of Ann Widdecombe's dancing in 'Strictly Come Dancing' *:
'an absolute disss-arrrhh-sstarr darling'.
I even tried them twice to see if they would work. A whole bunch of egg, the entire local shop's supply of ground almonds and a very, very messy kitchen later, my postmortem on the macaroons revealed that:
a) When, during the first batch I made, my electric handmixer started making an awful clunking noise, followed by smelling strongly of smoke and then, indeed, billowing black smoke, I should have, erm, stopped. Gallantly continuing with the first batch, and then the second, with the rather pathetic strength of my right arm and a non-electric whisk was not terribly successful.
b) Rather than simply guessing what 118 C feels like ('oww, that is very hot') I should have probably invested in a sugar thermometer
c) Crossing my fingers, sending a prayer up to the Gods of Baking and hoping for the best as I shoved a baking sheet full of congealed pink liquid into the oven most definately doesn't work
So, a bit like John Sergeant in the aforementioned Strictly, after one too many failed attempts, I finally gave up.
However, being rather a stubborn sort-of-so-and-so I am rather determined to attempt raspberry macaroons once again. Indeed, I stated quite clearly to the failed macaroons: 'I WILL NOT BE BEATEN BY YOU MACAROON! I WILL BE BACK!'. They didn't respond.
The tale sort of has a happy ending. Lacking a present for my friend, I turned to one of the new baking books I'd received for my birthday, the quite brilliant 'Peyton and Byrne: British Baking' and, raiding my emergency chocolate stash, made their double chocolate fairy cakes instead:
Peyton and Byrne Chocolate Fairy Cakes
100g good quality dark chocolate
110g unsalted butter at room temperature
100g caster sugar
100g light brown sugar
140g plain flour
half a teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
For the chocolate fudge icing
60g good quality dark chocolate
1 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp boiling water
90g unsalted butter
250g icing sugar
half a teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt
1. Preheat the oven to 170C/150C fan/Gas Mark 3 and line a 12 hole bun tine with paper cases
2. Melt the chocolate in a pyrex bowl over a small pan of boiling water, then set aside
3. Cream the sugars and butter together until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well.
4. Fold in the melted chocolate
5. Sift the flour and bicarb and gently fold into the creamed butter mix until well combined
6. Add the vanilla and buttermilk until just well combined
7. Fill the cases three quarters full and bake for 15 minutes or until they spring back to touch. Cool on a wired rack
8. To make the icing: melt the chocolate in a pyrex glass bowl over a small pan of boiling water
9. In a jug dissolve the cocoa powder into the boiling water, then add the melted chocolate and stir
10. Cream the softened butter, add the icing sugar, vanilla, salt and chocolate mixture and beat for about another two minutes until soft and creamy
11. Spoon, spread or pipe the icing on top of the cakes. Decorate.
- I actually only had enough ingredients to make half the icing and I found this sufficient to cover almost all the cakes (I'd already eaten a 'test' one before giving the rest to my friends)
- These were decorated with little white chocolate stars. As you can probably see.
- The cakes will last you 2-3 days in an airtight container. If there are any left after the first day that is.
* I adore this show and feel totally bereft between the months of January to September when it isn't on my screen every Saturday night.