Oh, they’re tiny! – JD, 5
I’m thoroughly smitten with a new cookbook from Sarah Al-Hamad, Sun Bread and Sticky Toffee. It’s a wonderfully creative volume with sumptuous travel-style photography accompanying mouth-watering recipes such as Orange, Date & Cinnamon Muffins; Queen Elizabeth Cake; Peanut-Date Cookies & Desert Energy Balls.
The Fennel Macarons with Fresh Mint Date Ganache recipe caught my eye straight away so I decided to give them a go. I think I made a few mistakes, such as over-whisking the egg whites so that the mix was a bit dry and lumpy, and then piping the macarons a bit too small, but overall I think the result is rather beautiful.
And they tasted amazing. The liquorice tones of the fennel, the cool cream cheese, the fresh, aromatic mint, the caramel tones of the dates, the crisp shell and chewy middle of the macarons – divine!
Here’s the recipe, reproduced with kind permission from the author. Makes 30.
For the macarons:
- 80g ground almonds
- 110g icing sugar
- 1tsp fennel seeds
- 2 large egg whites
- 25 fine raw/golden caster sugar
For the filling:
- 100g cream cheese
- 75g dates, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp date syrup
- 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint
- Sift the ground almonds and icing sugar into a large bowl
- Grind the fennel seeds using a mortar and pestle, discard any husks, and add to the almonds and sugar
- In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks, then gradually add the sugar in the three stage, whisking continually until the sugar has been absorbed and the mixture is stiff and glossy
- Using a large metal spoon, gently fold the almond mixture into the egg whites until well combined. The mixture should be slightly looser but dry
- Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper
- Spoon the mixture into a piping bag and start by dabbing a tiny amount underneath the paper, in all four corners, to prevent it from sliding
- Pipe out 30 small disc 1 inch / 3cm wide onto the baking tray
- Once they have all been piped, lift and drop the tray twice on the work surface to get any air out of the sheels.
- Leave to stand for 30 minutes at room temperature until a thin skin forms on each of the shells
- Preheat the oven to 160C. Bake for 10-12 minutes with the oven door slightly ajar until set and pale golden
- Leave to cool completely on a wire rack
- Meanwhile, gently beat the cream cheese, dates, and date syrup together until creamy
- Stir in the fresh mint
- Pipe or spoon the ganache between two equally sized macaron shells and press together very lightly to sandwich the filling
- Refrigerate to set or eat immediately
Sun Bread and Sticky Toffee is published by Interlink Books and available in jacketed hardback for £17.99. In my opinion, it’s well worth investing in.
Disclosure: we were sent Sun Bread and Sticky Toffee for review. No payment was received. All posts are 100% honest.