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