Saturday, 24 June 2017

Chocolate dipped macaroons

I'm a Good Bitch Baker this weekend and felt like trying something different. Thumbing through a new cookbook, I came across a recipe for chocolate dipped macaroons. Remember macaroons? They were all we knew before macarons came along. What's the difference? This explanation is harsh but accurate.

These macaroons are actually light and crispy. They're pretty much meringues with desiccated coconut rolled through and dipped in chocolate.

For a smooth finish, roll the mixture into balls and pat down the rough edges. For a chunky coconut rough-type finish, drop spoonfuls of mixture onto the tray.

Chocolate dipped macaroons

  • 2 egg whites
  • 180 g caster sugar
  • 4 t cornflour (cornstarch)
  • 180 g desiccated coconut
  • 130 g dark chocolate for dipping
  1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Line two trays with baking paper.
  2. Whisk egg whites in a clean, dry mixing bowl until firm peaks form.
  3. Gradually add the sugar, beating well after each addition. Beat until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is thick and glossy.
  4. Add the cornflour and mix until the ingredients are just combined.
  5. Add the coconut to the egg white mixture. Using a slotted metal spoon, mix until just combined.
  6. Roll heaped teaspoons of the mixture into balls and drop onto the prepared trays.
  7. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the macaroons are lightly golden. Remove from oven and leave to cool on the trays. 
  8. Melt the chocolate in a small bowl and dip the top half of each macaroon into it. Leave to set on a drip tray.
Makes 36 macaroons.

Chocolate dipped macaroons

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

High tea at Aston Norwood Gardens

Kaitoke Country Gardens at the base of the Rimutaka Hill has undergone a makeover in recent months and has now been reborn as Aston Norwood Gardens. The venue is positioning itself as more of an all season destination and aiming for the country-style wedding market. Among the cafe's offerings is high tea. Don't mind if we do!

The table setting was cute. Delicate tea cups with well loved but worn out decorative spoons were presented alongside sugar cubes and a fake flower spray. The bubbles were poured on arrival and our tea cups whisked away to be returned bearing the coffees of our choice.

Country charm
Three tiers of food were delivered to our table. We were left to work out what we'd been served.

Sparkling high tea
The savoury tier had two tomato, cucumber and pesto white bread sandwiches each and a handful of about five heated up frozen savouries and sausage rolls. I sampled two (two more than I'd ever normally eat in a typical year!) before giving up and leaving the rest to take home to Mr Weka.

Sandwiches and heated savouries
The middle layer was pseudo-sweet, with home-style ginger crunch, then a lemon curd pre-made tart and scone with jam and cream. Looking across at the next table I noticed that some others had chocolate slices and what looked to be a miniature glass of berry coulis. It would have been interesting to try them both.

Ginger crunch, lemon curd tart and scones
The top layer once again featured pre-made pastry tarts, one featuring jam and covered with more jam and cream and the other filled with chocolate and caramel. Not unpleasant but nothing special.

Berry jam and chocolate tarts
I'd describe this experience as a high tea of sorts. I was disappointed with the lack of variety and very surprised at how much of the food was pre-prepared from frozen or store bought but still presented as high tea. It's not somewhere I'd rush back to but we still enjoyed some time out to catch up during a busy weekend.