I hope all of you had an amazing Christmas! This holiday season I finally felt as though I could say I have perfected perfected the French macaron. After many... many attempts I finally had a batch come out perfectly! They were very much a hit at our holiday party so expect to see some more on the blog soon!

This week I decided to break open a cookbook rather than go to the Internet for inspiration. (Shocker I know.) However, I picked up a new book focus on Irish dishes and I couldn't wait to test a couple. Its been a while since I have made a roulade cake, so I thought I'd give it a try!

noun: roulade; plural noun: roulades
a dish cooked or served in the form of a roll, typically made from a flat piece of meat, fish, or sponge cake, spread with a soft filling and rolled up into a spiral.

The great thing about a roulade is that it can be filled with anything, so feel free to get creative!

On another note, I'm trying something a bit different with my food photography today. I was inspired by some food blogs to try some messy food photography and a messy roulade cake seems like the perfect starting point!

Hope you enjoy!

Chocolate Raspberry Roulade

Serves 10

For the cake:
6 eggs, separated, at room temperature
250 g icing sugar
25g baking soda
100 g cocoa powder

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a baking tray measuring about 12x16 with a little butter and line it with baking parchment. Using a handheld electric mixer, whisk together the egg yolks and 175g of the icing sugar on high until very pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Set aside. In a clean bowl with clean beaters, whisk the egg whites until they hold soft peaks. Add the rest of the icing sugar and beat until very glossy stiff peaks form.
Sift the cornflour and cocoa together. Fold this into the egg-yolk mixture alternately with the egg whites until well blended. Spread mixture evenly on prepared baking tray. Bake until edges are firm and middle is still very soft to the touch, about 8-10 minutes. Cool completely and remove from pan.

For the Filling:
12 oz whipping cream
50 g caster sugar*
1/8 tsp. vanilla paste
350 ml raspberry jam
2 Tablespoons water
8 oz fresh raspberries

Whip cream until it holds still peaks. Fold in caster sugar and vanilla and set aside. Stir the raspberry jam and the water together. Brush diluted jam atop the cooled cake, covering the whole surface. Then, layer the whipped cream atop the cake, leaving about a 2 inch border. The whipped cream layer should be approx. 3/4 inch thick.  Sprinkle raspberries atop the whipped cream layer.
Starting at the side farthest away from you, roll the sponge up lengthwise, curling it over on itself with the help of the parchment. Carefully transfer to a serving tray and refrigerate for an hour before serving.

*To make cater sugar, place 50g granulated sugar in a coffee grinder and pulse until very fine. 

The cake should be super moist, almost fudge-y. Hope you enjoy!
Until next week.

Want something impressive to bake this holiday season? Skip the trite sugar cookies and kiss cookies, and try the French macaron. They can be made in a variety of flavors, from egg nog to candy cane!

This week I'm sharing one of my favorites: candy cane macarons.

Now, these cookies do have an air of difficulty about them. However, this shouldn't stop the beginner baker. My first few times making these cookies were a disaster, and was eventually scraped, however, I've picked up on a few tricks to help you out! Trust me, people will love these unique cookies for Christmas, or any other occasion!

Candy Cane Macarons

Makes approx. 20 cookies
**Must use food scale for the cookie shells**

For the macaron shells:
200 grams confectioners’ sugar
110 grams slivered almonds (no skin)
90 grams egg whites (aged at room temperature for 1 day or 3-5 days in the fridge, do not skip this step!!)
25 grams granulated sugar

To make the macaron shells, combine the confectioners’ sugar and almonds in a food processor. Pulse until the almonds are finely ground and the mixture is well blended. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat, gradually adding the granulated sugar. Beat until a stiff, glossy meringue forms (do not over-beat). 

Add the ground nut mixture to the bowl with the egg whites. Fold together with a spatula until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated and the batter is thick and smooth. (Do not over mix, but be sure all ingredients are combined.)

Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Fit a pastry bag with a plain round tip and pipe small rounds onto the prepared baking sheets, about 1½ inches in diameter, by holding the bag perfectly perpendicular to the counter and smoothly giving pressure without moving the tip. Let the piped rounds sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes to get "skins" on the tops of the cookies.

Preheat the oven to 280˚ F. Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool 15-20 minutes before removing from the baking sheet. (Do not touch while cooling.) Let cool completely before filling.

For the filling:
1/2 cup sugar
2 large egg whites
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Put the sugar and egg whites in a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture will look like marshmallow cream. Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat the meringue on medium speed until it cools and forms a thick shiny meringue, about 5 minutes. Switch to the paddle attachment and add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, beating until smooth. Once all the butter is in, beat in the butter cream on medium-high speed until it is thick and very smooth, 6-10 minutes. Divided the butter cream in two portions.

For garnish:
Crushed candy canes

To assemble the macarons, pair up the shells by size. Add the finished frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip. Pipe a small round of frosting onto the flat side of one shell from each pair. Sandwich together with the other shell and push gently together so that the frosting reaches the edges of the cookies. Place the crushed candy canes in a shallow dish. Gently roll the assembled macarons in the crushed candy canes so they adhere to the frosting.

Hope you enjoy them as much as I did!
Stay tuned for more macaron recipies, as I'm looking forward to making some more!

Until next week!