Hay Hay, It’s Donna Day #2: Chocolate Almond Macaroons

Can you see the cow-pat similarity? Having missed the first Winos and Foodies Hay Hay, It’s Donna Day – and you all know about my love of Donna Hay! – I had every intention of making a real effort for the second episode in what looks like becoming a long-running series of worldwide bake-ins. Glutton Rabbit at Pearl of the Orient chose Macaroons for Hay Hay, It’s Donna Day #2 but I’m not a huge macaroon fan. Besides, I was down home and the Little Sister took one look at the recipe that I’d printed off from Pearl of the Orient and went “ugh! There’s coconut in it.” I have memories of making coconut macaroons when I was a child and they were never a great success – unlike anything involving chocolate. Then I remembered a recipe for Chocolate Almond Macaroons that I had come across in Taste: Baking with Flavour by Dean Brettschneider and Lauraine Jacobs. Although the book is back in New Zealand, there’s still the internet and the Cuisine website came up trumps with just the recipe that I had noted in the cookbook.

As it was my mother’s birthday on Saturday, the kitchen was rather busy. I had decided to cook Beef and Red Wine Pie for dinner so that had to go on first, Little Sister was across the table putting the finishing touches to her Squidgy Chocolate Cake (one of Delia‘s classics) and trying to barricade Mum from the room, the Other Sister was in and out getting my father to bend the door of her car back into place (it’s not easy owning a ’95 Fiesta in Cork these days), the Boyfriend was reporting on the goings on while the Little Brother teased the dogs and kicked a football around the kitchen. As a result, these macaroons got too little attention and I never got a chance to make the chocolate ganache filling. Between Pie and Cake they were completely overshadowed and I didn’t even get to remove them from the baking tray until Sunday. Thrown into a lunchbox they made the trip from near Charleville to Dublin that afternoon. There, without any distractions (or the filling), I discovered that these macaroons were curiously moreish. They’re not much to look at – resembling nothing so much as regularly shaped, although lighter brown, cow pats – but the combination of crisp crust and soft, slightly nutty, interior is a winner. The Boyfriend discovered this at the same time, only in a more intense way, and I now have discovered that he’s eaten about three to every one I eat.

Although not the flop that I initially thought, I do think that these macaroons could be made better by adding some grated chocolate and a handful of flaked almonds when folding the dry ingredients into the egg whites. And maybe some orange zest – I even brought my zester home with me at the weekend to try out this theory! Alas, juggling everything else meant that these only got made with half my attention. Still, thanks to Glutton Rabbit for giving me the idea to dig out that recipe although I don’t know if there was much use of “creativity and cooking skills” in this angle of the world. Still, not everything always works out, especially in the cooking department! I wonder how everybody else got on?



Food writer. Broadcaster. Blogger. Author. Married to Eight Degrees Brewing. Member of the Irish Food Writers' Guild, founder of Irish Food Bloggers Association and co-author of Sláinte: The Complete Guide to Irish Craft Beer & Cider (New Island)

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11 Responses

  1. Bron says:

    Mmmm I dunno, I think they’re pretty yummy looking “cow pats”Anyway I’d rather step in one of those, than the larger, greener cow pats found around my place 😉

  2. Caroline says:

    Green cow pats? What are your cows/bullocks/heifers/calves eating?!Great to (virtually) meet another Canterbury food blogger. Pity I’m back in Dublin now or we could have a bloggers meet-up in Christchurch! Did you use some of the gorgeous Canterbury Pure Wasabi in your macaroons? I tasted that at Savour NZ and fell in love with it. You just can’t get that quality of wasabi in Ireland.

  3. Bron says:

    ‘fraid not, should order myself some though eh!

  4. Madam Caroline,They are such lovely looking macaroons. They don’t resemble cow pats at all but they do remind me of dorayaki (Japanese sweet bean pancake). Thanks for participating. Stay tuned for the round up next week!

  5. Caroline says:

    Glutton Rabbit: Ah, my poor macaroons – thanks for being kind to them! Still, they did all get eaten up so I think that substance rather won out over style or appearance this time.Bron: you can find Pure Wasabi in most delis and it really is worth searching out. The first time I tasted it what struck me was a slow heat rather than the firey sinus-cleaning burn I’m used to with sushi wasabi. And it’s such a gorgeous mild green colour compared to the more synthetic stuff.

  6. Barbara says:

    Thanks for participating Caroline. I’m sure they tasted wonderful despite how you thought they looked.

  7. Caroline says:

    Thanks Barbara! I’m still loving your gorgeous-looking macaroons. Methinks I’ve a long way to go but, sure, isn’t that what cooking is all about, learning from your mistakes?

  8. Céline says:

    oh Goodness me!!! Macarons, my favourite!!!! your ones look gorgeous, yum!

  9. Caroline says:

    Thanks Céline – there’s a French link too as Lauraine mentions in Taste about how Dean was inspired by the macaroons at Jean-Luc Poujuran’s Parisian pâtisserie. Your pic of Chocolate Macaroons looks similar to mine albeit not so cow-pat like! And you actually got around to filling them, unlike someone I could mention, ahem…

  10. Céline says:

    Hi, I just had a look at the recipe:http://cuisine.co.nz/index.cfm?pageID=32649&r=5Far too much icing sugar and too little chocolate, plus they forgot to mention that you have to choose a very bitter and unsweetened chocolate powder. Plus their ones don’t look that great, you can notice that their surface is not smooth, they have a little bump on top.OK, maybe I’m being just a little perfectionist with my macarons

  11. Caroline says:

    And aren’t macaroons as good a thing as any – and better than many – to be perfectionist about? Thanks for those tips. I’ll have to try one of your own recipes!

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