Date Archives February 2013

Rose, Mint and Coconut Macaroons



With Valentines day approaching and a craving for macaroons, my girlie side made its way into these sweet little morsels over the weekend as I experimented a little with some new flavours. I love bright coloured macaroons and with some rosewater and red colouring to hand, these barged their way into the oven. I adore ANYTHING coconut related so I knocked up a coconut buttercream to sandwich these together but I couldn’t resist the green the mint adds against the rosy red. It seems this year I have a date with a macaroon………could be worse

Macaroons (makes about 30)

  • 90g egg whites (about 3. These can be old egg whites you have lying around in the fridge, they often work better)
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 110g ground almonds
  • 2tbsp red food colouring
  • 1 large tsp rosewater


  • 70g unsalted, softened butter
  • 50g coconut cream block
  • 90g icing sugar
  • 1 heaped tbsp dessicated coconut
  • Small handful chopped mint leaves
  1. Begin with the macaroons. Preheat the oven to 150°C. Line a large baking tray with parchment so that your are ready and prepare your piping bag.
  2. In a food processor, blitz the ground almonds and the icing sugar together until fine. Sieve into a large bowl.
  3. In another really clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks and then add the caster sugar a bit at a time until you have a glossy meringue. Don’t over-beat.
  4. At this stage, add the red colouring and rosewater to the egg whites (This is the point where you can add other flavours or colours of your choice)
  5. Fold in one third of the ground almond and icing sugar mix into the egg whites to loosen.
  6. Then fold in the rest until thoroughly combined but be careful not to knock out all the air.
  7. Fill your piping bag with the mixture and pipe small rounds onto the lined baking trayimage
  8. Give the tray a few sharp hits on the surface by dropping the tray from a small height to flatten the macaroons. Leave the tray in a safe place for 30 minutes.
  9. Now bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes (mine took about 13…) until they come easily away from the tray.
  10. Leave to cool. Make the buttercream. Melt the coconut block over a pan of simmering water until runny or immerse the block, in its bag, in some hot water.
  11. In a processor, mix the butter and icing sugar and then add in the coconut cream. Add the chopped mint and blitz again. Then stir in the dessicated coconut.
  12. Spoon into another piping bag and pipe enough mixture onto the back of one macaroon and sandwich with another. Continue with the rest.

Anyone you make these for will adore them….they are sweet, delicate and dreamily elegant….not to mention delicious!


Blackberry and almond slice

This recipe is one of my favourite treats for the cake tin and was thankfully saved from a copy of the ‘Waitrose Food Illustrated’ magazine from the 90’s before I was even tall enough to reach the kitchen counter. Its delicious, as is everything with a frangipane topping in my opinion. With the thought of that bumper crop of blackberries still stored safely in my freezer, half a block of sweet pastry stored in the fridge and some slight adaptation and tweaks in the recipe, it made a welcome occupier of the detoxing January cake tin……

(Alternatively you can use different flavoured jam and fruits. Cherries would be nice with a spike of Kirsch)

Sweet pastry (or buy a block of 350g)

  • 225g plain flour
  • 115g unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten


  • 150g blackberry or blackcurrant jam
  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 135g soft brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 200g ground almonds (I like to buy flaked almonds and grind them myself as it adds a much nice texture and flavour)
  • 300g blackberries
  • 50g flaked almonds
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Begin by lining a large baking tin  with parchment (about 20cm x 30cm or whatever is to hand)
  3. Roll out the pastry on floured surface to about 1 pound coin thick and cut into the shape of the tin, and line the base evenly. Prick with a fork and bake for about 15 minutes until lightly golden. Remove from the oven.
  4. Now make the frangipane. Using a spoon and some elbow grease or a blender, cream the butter and sugar.
  5. Add the eggs and vanilla bit by bit (don’t worry if it curdles)
  6. Now add the ground almonds and mix thoroughly. (Add a splash of milk if it looks too thick, depending on how big your eggs were)
  7. Spoon the jam onto the pre-cooked pastry base and spread out evenly. Top with the frangipane and spread evenly over the top to cover the jam. Sprinkle with the berries and scatter over the flaked almonds
  8. Bake for anywhere between 20-45 minutes (sorry but this depends on the tin size but usually about 30 minutes), checking every so often until golden and set. I often find frangipane takes a little longer to cook than recipes state but it will get there. It will always be more moist and soft than a cake sponge so check its done by giving it a wiggle. It should be set!

This is lovely served with some mascarpone or cream cheese, sweetened with icing sugar and a generous pinch or two of ground cinnamon….dreamy.