Counting down the days when we head back to Singers… just another 2 more months to go. Looking back on my brief expat wife stint, well, it has been short but really memorable. Have learned loads – improved on my culinary skills, tried to learn French but kinda failed, traveled loads and made a bunch of incredible friends.
Among our small circle of friends in Geneva, I feel really blessed to have met this special group of ladies who hail from America. On learning that we were going to be heading back to Singapore soon, us ladies decided that we should try to organise a little girlie-trip away from the men. Nothing too dramatic, just an overnight trip to a place where we could chill and relax. Fine by me and I was really excited about going away, you know to explore more on Europe before we head back and I guess no better way than to do it with this bunch of adventurous ladies.
Trying to coordinate our schedules was a toughie, I’m partly to ‘blame’ for we’re trying to make the most of our remaining time here so our travel schedules have been really packed. So L from the Swiss Watch Blog suggested that we get together at her place one afternoon to discuss and get the ball rolling.
I was recently gifted with a Macaron Recipe book by Sam from Schwingen in Switzerland and I wanted to make good this gift by making a batch of PB & J (Peanut Butter and Jam) Macarons for the girls when we have our little discussion. So over our cuppa coffees/ teas plus little bites, we skyped A over at Switzerland Hughes (she couldn’t be there physically because she had to stay in to wait for the plumber) and nailed down the date plus venue for our girlie-trip. Can’t wait for the trip… there’ll be loads of bubbly and a couple of laughs along the way I’m sure. Stay tuned!
Finally, here’s the recipe for our tea-time snack – Hazelnut Macarons with Peanut Butter & Jam. Go on try them, makes a fine treat for a wonderful afternoon with friends.
Hazelnut Macarons with Peanut Butter & Jam
Makes about 10 filled bite-sized macarons
For Macaron Batter
- 1 egg white (preferably aged for 3 days) brought to room temperature
- A pinch of Cream of Tartar
- 38g icing sugar
- 36g powdered almonds
- 30g granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon of gel-based yellow colouring
- Handful of powdered hazelnuts for topping
- Line baking tray with 2 pieces of parchment paper.
- Sift powdered sugar with the powdered almonds to ensure that there are no lumps.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg white until they begin to foam. At this stage, add the pinch of cream of tartar and the granulated sugar gradually. Continue beating until very stiff and firm. When you invert the bowl, the egg white batter has to stay put. That’s the time you know when you should stop. I decided to play it safe and whisked the egg white batter for about 5 minutes before stiff peaks were formed. Continue to beat the egg whites on high for another 1-2 minutes. Add colouring to batter.
- Carefully fold the dry ingredients, in 3 batches, into the beaten egg whites with a flexible rubber spatula (ideally). Stop folding when the mixture is smooth and there are no streaks of egg white. I used close to 50 strokes to incorporate the dry mixture into the egg whites. Slowly scrape the batter into the pastry bag (standing the bag in a tall glass helps if you’re alone).
- Pipe the batter on the parchment-lined baking sheets in 1-inch circles, evenly spaced one-inch (3 cm) apart. Sprinkle crushed hazelnuts on top of macaron shells.
- Rap the baking sheet a few times firmly on the counter top to flatten the macarons and to remove the air-bubbles in the macarons.
- Leave the macarons out in the open for at least 30 minutes to an hour. This step is important to allow the top of the macaron shell to dry up so that you get a smooth surface for the macarons. You will know when to pop the macarons into the oven when you touch the macarons and the batter does not stick to your fingers. Be careful not to leave them out too much for it will give you crunchy macarons and you don’t want that. This step is important and if you skip it, your macarons might flatten . While waiting, preheat oven to 160 degrees C.
- Bake for 15 mins and let cool completely before removing from baking sheet.
- Spread peanut butter and jam on the macaron shell.
- Sandwich and you are done!
It’s recommended that you let the flavours sit inside the macaron for 1 day before having them. Also recommended that you take the macarons out from the refrigerator 2 hours before eating them. Enjoy!
I’ve been busy in the kitchen… Click here to check out my baking adventures in Geneva.