The Ultimate Easter Macaron Box


 
The ultimate Easter Macaron Box - creme egg macarons, hot cross bun macarons, coconut macarons, chocolate peanut butter macarons and peeps marshmallow macarons make up the most amazing Easter inspired box. This would make an incredible easter gift, and can be customised however you like!
The ultimate Easter Macaron Box - creme egg macarons, hot cross bun macarons, coconut macarons, chocolate peanut butter macarons and peeps marshmallow macarons make up the most amazing Easter inspired box. This would make an incredible easter gift, and can be customised however you like!
The ultimate Easter Macaron Box - creme egg macarons, hot cross bun macarons, coconut macarons, chocolate peanut butter macarons and peeps marshmallow macarons make up the most amazing Easter inspired box. This would make an incredible easter gift, and can be customised however you like!
The ultimate Easter Macaron Box - creme egg macarons, hot cross bun macarons, coconut macarons, chocolate peanut butter macarons and peeps marshmallow macarons make up the most amazing Easter inspired box. This would make an incredible easter gift, and can be customised however you like!
The ultimate Easter Macaron Box - creme egg macarons, hot cross bun macarons, coconut macarons, chocolate peanut butter macarons and peeps marshmallow macarons make up the most amazing Easter inspired box. This would make an incredible easter gift, and can be customised however you like!
The ultimate Easter Macaron Box - creme egg macarons, hot cross bun macarons, coconut macarons, chocolate peanut butter macarons and peeps marshmallow macarons make up the most amazing Easter inspired box. This would make an incredible easter gift, and can be customised however you like!
The ultimate Easter Macaron Box - creme egg macarons, hot cross bun macarons, coconut macarons, chocolate peanut butter macarons and peeps marshmallow macarons make up the most amazing Easter inspired box. This would make an incredible easter gift, and can be customised however you like!

I am so, SO excited for Easter baking season. I think it might be my actual favourite - I spent today making dark chocolate cardamom hot cross buns and a carrot cake sheet cake, but I still have a bunch more recipes lined up that I can’t wait to share with you!

Jase and I couldn’t let the best baking season go by without a macaron box, and I think we really knocked it out of the park this time. We brought back our first mac recipe we shared - the creme egg mac, and then filled the box with a whole bunch of other Easter inspired flavours. I am totally obsessed with how this box came out, and I hope that you give some of the recipes a try! I am particularly excited by how the chocolate peanut butter and peeps macarons came out - this was our first time piping marshmallow into macarons, and I certainly don’t think that it will be our last.

We’ve come full circle with our macaron recipes - this is the 13th that we have shared! It was so fun to see how much we have learnt along the way, and it’s super satisfying to see how consistently we can make macs now. It goes to show that to get good at something, practice is really the best way to master a skill. Trial and error, and working out what works and what doesn’t work for you seems to be the best way. Everyone works out their own wee way of making things. This way works best for us, and has worked for a bunch of others, but it may require some wee tweaks to get it to suit you- don’t be afraid to play around and see what is best! xx

Here’s what we ended up with:

  • Creme Egg Macarons - Speckled shell filled with a Creme Egg chocolate ganache

  • Hot Cross Bun Macaron - Vanilla bean shell filled with a spiced German buttercream

  • Coconut Macaron - Vanilla bean shell filled with a coconut Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Macaron - Chocolate shell filled with peanut butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • Peeps Macaron - Sugared Vanilla bean shell filled with a vanilla bean marshmallow and rolled in sanding sugar

A few wee tips:

  • I have added the base recipe we use for the shells down below, then at the end I have put the variations in food colouring or finishing that we did to make each shell ‘flavour’ (they are all vanilla bean flavour, except for the chocolate, and I have added in a note, or you can just refer to this recipe. The filling recipes and assembly instructions will be underneath the shell recipe.

  • Everything I have learnt along the way about making macarons is in the notes of this post - I update it whenever I have something to add. I suggest giving it a good read through before you start if you are new to macs!

  • We used this box to make this cookie box - Rich cut me little dividers on the laser cutter, but the craft wood is soft enough that you can use a craft knife and a ruler. We then just taped the dividers in.

  • We made all the shells except for the chocolate ones on one day (we could have done them all on the one day, we just got lazy), the mini egg ganache, and the pastry cream for the Hot Cross Bun German buttercream, and then the following day made the remainder of the fillings, filled the macarons, and filled and shot the box. If you break up your workload, and prep your ingredients before you start (having enough sheet pans is important), it isn’t too much work!

  • We worked it so that we could re-use some of the fillings - we made one larger batch of swiss meringue buttercream (double what is listed below, so 4 sticks of butter), then split it, and added the coconut to half and the peanut butter to the remaining half. This made the filling process super easy as we didn’t need to make five fillings from scratch

  • In terms of work flow, we were able to start the next batch of shells soon after piping out the previous ones. Like I mentioned before, this only works if you have lots of sheet pans!

  • If you are colouring one batch of batter two different colours, mix it part of the way, then split the batter into separate bowls (half a batch of batter weighs 420g), then add the gel food colouring and finish the mixing process. For example we split a batch and coloured half for the creme egg macs, and half for the peeps macs, then did the same with the coconut macs and the hot cross bun macs. We made one bigger batch of the chocolate shells as the cocoa powder has to be mixed in with the ground almond mixture.

  • Store all the shells in an airtight container until ready to fill.

 

 

Vanilla Bean Macarons

- Makes about 30 Macarons -

Macaron Shell Recipe from I love Macarons, with adaptations from Fox and Crane 

Note: this is the base recipe for every shell we made in the box, except the chocolate shells. For Chocolate shells, reduce the powdered sugar to 270g, and add in 20g dark dutch process or black cocoa with the powdered sugar mix. There is a recipe here.

Macaron Shells
170g ground almonds
300g powdered sugar
180g egg whites, at room temperature
160g sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

 

- PROCESS -

Preheat oven to 300˚f / 150˚c, and position the oven rack in the centre of the oven. Using a round cookie cutter or the base of a large piping tip (something about 1.5 inches in diameter), draw a "template" for your macarons on a piece of parchment paper, leaving about 3/4" between each circle. 

Combine the almond meal and powdered sugar together in a large bowl. Sift the mixture twice, to ensure there are no large lumps and that the mixture is properly aerated. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add the sugar, increase the mixer speed, and whip on high until the meringue starts to firm up. Add gel food colouring, if using, a few drops at a time, until the desired colour is reached. Add vanilla and mix until incorporated. Continue to whip until the meringue forms stiff peaks (there is a good example here). 

Remove the bowl from the mixer. Add half of the ground almond and powdered sugar mixture, and fold into the meringue. You want to deflate the meringue just a little at this stage, to combine the meringue and ground almond mixture. 

Add the remaining ground almond mixture, and stir lightly to combine. Now comes the important part - mixing the batter to the correct consistency. Again, this video does a good job of explaining it. Fold the mixture in a series of 'turns', deflating the batter by spreading it against the side of the bowl. Turn the bowl slightly and repeat the movement - scooping the batter from the bottom of the bowl, and spreading it against the side. Continuously check the consistency of the batter - you want it to flow like lava when you lift the spatula from the bowl, and you should be able to 'draw' a figure 8 with it, without the batter breaking (again, watch lots of videos to get an idea! They help so much). This step can take some practice until you know what it should feel and look like. If in doubt you are better to under mix them than over mix them - the process of putting the batter into the bag and piping out will help mix a little too.

Fit a large pastry bag with a medium sized round tip, such as an ateco #805. Place the macaron template on a sheet pan, and place a second piece of parchment over it. Holding the piping bag at a 90˚ angle to the surface, pipe out the batter into blobs the size of the circles drawn on the template. Finish off each piped circle with a little "flick" of your wrist to minimise the batter forming a point (it will still form a small one, but we can get rid of this with banging). Remove the template from under the macarons.

Hold the baking sheet in two hands, and carefully but firmly, evenly bang it against the bench. Repeat this a few more times - this will get rid of any air bubbles, remove points on the top, and help them to spread out slightly. 

Repeat the piping and banging process until you have used up all of the batter - I usually make three sheet pans worth.

Allow the macarons to dry at room temperature for approximately 30 minutes, or until they form a skin that you can touch without your finger sticking to them. This time will drastically vary depending on the humidity. 

About fifteen minutes before you are going to bake the macarons, place a spare sheet pan in the oven to preheat - this is going to be used to place under the pan with the macarons on it, to double up, which should help with even baking. Bake the macarons one sheet at a time - place the sheet with the macarons on the preheated sheet, and place in the oven. 

Bake for approximately 18 minutes, rotating the pan once during the cooking process, and checking for doneness after 15 minutes. The macarons should develop a foot (the ruffled part on the bottom of the macaron), and bake without browning. To see if they are done - press down lightly on a shell. If the foot gives way, it needs a little longer, if it is stable, then it is close to being done. Test a macaron shell - if you can peel it away cleanly from the paper, they are done. If they are stable but cannot yet peel away cleanly, give them another minute or so. Again, this part takes a little trial and error depending on your oven. If they seem done but do not peel away cleanly, do not worry - there is a little trick for that! 

Remove from the oven, and allow to cool on the sheet pan for 10 minutes before peeling off the parchment paper and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack. Repeat the baking with the remaining trays, using the same spare sheet pan to double up.

If your macs do not peel away cleanly, place them, on the parchment paper, into the freezer for 5-10 minutes, then peel away from the paper. 

Store cooled macarons in an airtight container until ready to use. 

-FLAVOUR / COLOUR VARIATIONS -

  • For Creme egg shells, tint the shells with grey/blue gel colouring (we used ‘ash’ by americolor and a tiny drop of black), then splatter with watered down black gel food colouring using a paintbrush after the shells have baked. Fill with Creme egg ganache (recipe follows)

  • For Hot Cross Bun shells, tint the shells with brown food colouring (we used ‘chocolate brown' by americolor), then fill with spiced German Buttercream (recipe follows)

  • For the Coconut shells, tint the shells with yellow food colouring (we used ‘lemon yellow’ by americolor), then fill with coconut Swiss Meringue Buttercream (recipe follows)

  • For the Chocolate shells, add 20g dark dutch process or black cocoa to the powdered sugar mix - see the note above, or there is a recipe here. Fill with peanut butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream (recipe follows)

  • For the Peeps shells, tint the shells bright pink (we used ‘deep pink’ by americolor), and dust with pink sanding sugar once piped. Fill with vanilla bean marshmallow (recipe follows)

  • If you would like to add a cross to the hot cross bun macarons, you can make one out of powdered sugar and milk. Sift 100g powdered sugar into a bowl, then add milk until you form a thick paste. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a small round tip, and pipe crosses on half the shells (do this before you fill them).

 

 

Creme egg ganache

- Makes enough to fill 30 Macarons -

12 regular sized cadbury creme eggs (35g each, 420g total), chopped
90g (6 Tbsp) Heavy Cream
30g (2 Tbsp) unsalted butter
100g milk chocolate

- PROCESS -

Place all of the ingredients in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water, ensuring that the bowl does not touch the water. Stir with a whisk or spatula until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Transfer to a container, and press a piece of plastic wrap directly against the surface of the filling. Refrigerate for about an hour, stirring occasionally, until the ganache has firmed up to a piping consistency. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip.

Pair each macaron shell with another of a similar size. Pipe a circle of buttercream on one half, and then sandwich with the second shell. Macarons taste best if you 'mature' them in the fridge overnight to let the flavours meld, but they are perfect eaten immediately too! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

 

 

Spiced German Buttercream

- Makes enough to fill 30 Macarons -

110g dark brown sugar
12g (1 1/2 Tbsp) cornstarch
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp salt
190g whole milk
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin spice or mixed spice
340g (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

- PROCESS -

In a bowl, whisk together the sugar and corn starch, then whisk in the egg, egg yolk and salt. In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and pumpkin spice / mixed spice. Heat to to just shy of a simmer.  Remove from the heat.

Using one hand to whisk constantly, pour half of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture. This helps to temper the eggs and stop them from scrambling. Whisk until incorporated, and then pour the whole lot back into the saucepan.

Heat the milk and egg mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it begins to bubble. It will thicken quickly. Once it has thickened, cook for one minute, then remove from the heat. Pour into a shallow container or bowl of a stand mixer and press some plastic wrap over the surface to avoid a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cold - at least four hours, preferably overnight. If you need to speed this process up, you can place the pastry cream in a bowl, then place the bowl in an ice bath. Stir frequently.

Fit your mixer with the whisk attachment, and place the pastry cream in the bowl. Whip the mixture on medium until creamy and lump-free. Begin adding the butter, a few cubes at a time, until fully incorporated. It may look curdled at some point but just keep whipping - it will come together! Store in an airtight container until ready to use, or if using immediately, transfer to a piping bag fitted with large french star tip.

Pair up the macaron shells, and a round of buttercream on one half. Top with the second shell. Macarons taste best if you 'mature' them in the fridge overnight to let the flavours meld, but they are perfect eaten immediately too! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

 

 

Coconut Swiss Meringue buttercream

- Makes enough to fill 30 Macarons -

60g egg whites
100g granulated sugar
pinch of salt
225g (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
½ tsp vanilla bean paste
100g coconut threads or flakes, blitzed in a food processor until finely chopped
Sprinkles to finish (we used ‘hangin’ with my peeps’ by sprinkle pop)

- PROCESS -

Place the egg whites, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer or a heat proof bowl. Place over a pot of simmering water, ensuring that the water does not touch the bowl. Heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture registers 160˚f / 70˚c on a thermometer and the sugar has dissolved. Carefully transfer the bowl to the mixer, and fit with the whisk attachment. Whip the egg whites on high until they are snowy white and fluffy, 8-10 minutes. Add the butter one chunk at a time. The mixture may look curdled - but just keep mixing! Once all the butter is incorporated, mix on high for a further 10 minutes.

Once the buttercream has finished mixing, and is smooth and silky, add in the vanilla bean paste. Mix for a further 2-3 minutes, then switch to the paddle attachment and mix on low for one minute to remove any air. Add the blitzed coconut and mix to combine. Fit a piping bag with a large round tip, and fill the bag with the buttercream.

Pair up the macaron shells, and pipe a round of buttercream on one half of each pair. Top with the second shell. Smooth any buttercream that is sticking over the edges with your finger, then roll the macarons in sprinkles so that the sprinkles stick to the buttercream. Macarons taste best if you 'mature' them in the fridge overnight to let the flavours meld, but they are perfect eaten immediately too! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

 

 

Peanut Butter Swiss Meringue buttercream

- Makes enough to fill 30 Macarons -

60g egg whites
100g granulated sugar
pinch of salt
225g (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
½ tsp vanilla bean paste
150g smooth/creamy peanut butter (processed peanut butter is best, natural may seize your buttercream)

- PROCESS -

Place the egg whites, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer or a heat proof bowl. Place over a pot of simmering water, ensuring that the water does not touch the bowl. Heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture registers 160˚f / 70˚c on a thermometer and the sugar has dissolved. Carefully transfer the bowl to the mixer, and fit with the whisk attachment. Whip the egg whites on high until they are snowy white and fluffy, 8-10 minutes. Add the butter one chunk at a time. The mixture may look curdled - but just keep mixing! Once all the butter is incorporated, mix on high for a further 10 minutes.

Once the buttercream has finished mixing, and is smooth and silky, add in the vanilla bean paste and peanut butter. Mix for a further 2-3 minutes, then switch to the paddle attachment and mix on low for one minute to remove any air. Fit a piping bag with a small french star tip, and fill the bag with the buttercream.

Pair up the macaron shells, and pipe a round of buttercream blobs on one half of each pair. Top with the second shell. Smooth any buttercream that is sticking over the edges with your finger, then roll the macarons in sprinkles so that the sprinkles stick to the buttercream. Macarons taste best if you 'mature' them in the fridge overnight to let the flavours meld, but they are perfect eaten immediately too! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

 

 

Vanilla Bean Marshmallow

- Makes enough to fill 30 Macarons -

Note - make sure you have everything ready to go before you make the marshmallow, as you will have to work quite quickly once it is whipped. Pair up the shells and have the piping bag ready. Extra marshmallow can be cured in a greased loaf pan.

14g (2 packets) powdered gelatine
76g cold water
103g liquid honey
76g water
265g sugar
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
Bright Pink gel food colour (we used ‘deep pink’ by americolor)
Pink Sanding sugar to finish (optional)

- PROCESS -

Fit a large piping bag with a round tip. Fit the stand mixer with the whisk attachment. In the mixing bowl, combine the cold water and gelatin and mix well with a fork, and leave to bloom while you prepare the sugar syrup.

In a medium pot, combine the water, honey, vanilla, and sugar. Heat over medium to high heat, stirring occasionally. Heat until the syrup reaches 240˚f /120˚c, then remove from the heat and leave to cool to 210˚f /100˚c.

Turn the mixer on to medium, and mix for a few seconds to help break up the bloomed gelatin. With the mixer running, VERY carefully pour the hot sugar syrup into the mixer. Turn the speed up to high, and whip for 5-7 minutes, until the marshmallow has doubled in volume, has turned white, and holds somewhat of a peak when you stop the mixer and lift out the whisk. While the marshmallow is mixing, add pink gel food colouring as desired. Transfer to the piping bag.

Pair up the macaron shells, and pipe a round of marshmallow on one half of each pair. Top with the second shell. Press down lightly, then carefully sprinkle the exposed marshmallow with pink sanding sugar. Macarons taste best if you 'mature' them in the fridge overnight to let the flavours meld, but they are perfect eaten immediately too! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

The ultimate Easter Macaron Box - creme egg macarons, hot cross bun macarons, coconut macarons, chocolate peanut butter macarons and peeps marshmallow macarons make up the most amazing Easter inspired box. This would make an incredible easter gift, and can be customised however you like!

The Ultimate Easter Treat Box


 
The Ultimate Easter treat box - iced cookies, cardamom linzers, hand pies, macarons, crispy rice treats and Easter mallows make the most amazing treat box, and are complimented perfectly by super cute foil wrapped chocolate eggs. This box would make the most perfect Easter gift, or the components are perfect alone for Easter treats. #easterbox #cookiebox #easterbaking
The Ultimate Easter treat box - iced cookies, cardamom linzers, hand pies, macarons, crispy rice treats and Easter mallows make the most amazing treat box, and are complimented perfectly by super cute foil wrapped chocolate eggs. This box would make the most perfect Easter gift, or the components are perfect alone for Easter treats. #easterbox #cookiebox #easterbaking
The Ultimate Easter treat box - iced cookies, cardamom linzers, hand pies, macarons, crispy rice treats and Easter mallows make the most amazing treat box, and are complimented perfectly by super cute foil wrapped chocolate eggs. This box would make the most perfect Easter gift, or the components are perfect alone for Easter treats. #easterbox #cookiebox #easterbaking
The Ultimate Easter treat box - iced cookies, cardamom linzers, hand pies, macarons, crispy rice treats and Easter mallows make the most amazing treat box, and are complimented perfectly by super cute foil wrapped chocolate eggs. This box would make the most perfect Easter gift, or the components are perfect alone for Easter treats. #easterbox #cookiebox #easterbaking
The Ultimate Easter treat box - iced cookies, cardamom linzers, hand pies, macarons, crispy rice treats and Easter mallows make the most amazing treat box, and are complimented perfectly by super cute foil wrapped chocolate eggs. This box would make the most perfect Easter gift, or the components are perfect alone for Easter treats. #easterbox #cookiebox #easterbaking
The Ultimate Easter treat box - iced cookies, cardamom linzers, hand pies, macarons, crispy rice treats and Easter mallows make the most amazing treat box, and are complimented perfectly by super cute foil wrapped chocolate eggs. This box would make the most perfect Easter gift, or the components are perfect alone for Easter treats. #easterbox #cookiebox #easterbaking
The Ultimate Easter treat box - iced cookies, cardamom linzers, hand pies, macarons, crispy rice treats and Easter mallows make the most amazing treat box, and are complimented perfectly by super cute foil wrapped chocolate eggs. This box would make the most perfect Easter gift, or the components are perfect alone for Easter treats. #easterbox #cookiebox #easterbaking
The Ultimate Easter treat box - iced cookies, cardamom linzers, hand pies, macarons, crispy rice treats and Easter mallows make the most amazing treat box, and are complimented perfectly by super cute foil wrapped chocolate eggs. This box would make the most perfect Easter gift, or the components are perfect alone for Easter treats. #easterbox #cookiebox #easterbaking
The Ultimate Easter treat box - iced cookies, cardamom linzers, hand pies, macarons, crispy rice treats and Easter mallows make the most amazing treat box, and are complimented perfectly by super cute foil wrapped chocolate eggs. This box would make the most perfect Easter gift, or the components are perfect alone for Easter treats. #easterbox #cookiebox #easterbaking

Thank you so much to ALDI for sponsoring this post! All opinions are my own - thank you for supporting the businesses that keep Cloudy Kitchen going!

I’m not sure how, but it’s suddenly almost Easter. Which makes me so excited for a few reasons - the weather should finally warm up, I love Easter Eggs (I always get Mum to send me some from home), but most of all - Easter baking is so, so much fun! I love how many different treats can be made to incorporate Easter and Spring flavours, and pastel coloured anything is always going to be a winner in my books.

I figured the best way to kick off the Easter Baking season was with a treat box! These are super fun to make, and make incredible gifts. I have partnered with ALDI for this treat box - showing off some of their baking staples. Their products are incredibly well priced (something that is super hard to come by in NYC!!), and are great quality. They are definitely my go-to for stocking up on basics such as their Countryside Creamery Unsalted Butter, Baker’s Corner Powdered Sugar, and Baker’s Corner All-Purpose Flour. Also - I’m not sure if it’s just me (it most likely is just me), but I get a huge kick out of going to new supermarkets and looking at all the new and different things that they have! If you have an ALDI I highly recommend checking it out if you haven’t already!

I wanted to make a variety of treats for this box to show how easy and fun they are to put together - I like making a couple of time intensive recipes that can easily be doubled (such as the macarons and hand pies), and then pairing them with some easy to make treats (Cardamom Linzers, Marshmallows, and Brown Butter Crispy Rice Bars), and then rounding it out with some store bought items - this time I chose to use a bunch of Moser Roth and Choceur Easter Eggs from ALDI (which are available Starting the 27th of March). I also like using recipes that can be used in a few applications - for example I made one batch of the Cardamom Linzer dough, and filled some with Jam, and iced others with some Royal icing to provide a variation in designs. Adding in the Easter eggs was the perfect finishing touch - not only are they super delicious, but they are crazy cute and really help with driving the Easter theme home! This treat box would make a great Easter gift, or as something to take along to an event or Easter brunch - either one or two batches of the recipes that I have included here would be great for making 7-8 boxes for family and friends.

A few wee tips:

  • I find that prep is key for these! The day before I put these together, I made the cookies for the Linzers and iced Cookies, made the Crispy Rice Treat bars, made the shells for the macarons, made the dough for the and pies, covered some of the cardamom cookies in royal icing, and made the marshmallows. That meant that on the day of assembly, I just had to bake off the hand pies, fill the macarons, fill the linzers, and cut shapes from the marshmallows. Breaking up the jobs like this really helped to keep on top of things.

  • You can use whatever box you like! I used a wooden box and made some dividers from craft wood, but I have seen them done in cardboard boxes using dividers or even cupcake liners to pop the treats in.

  • Don’t feel like you have to make everything in a treat box! Even just one homemade cookie with a bunch of Easter eggs is perfect - you do you here. ALDI has an amazing range of Easter goodies that would go great in your box. I used the Choceur Milk Chocolate Hollow Eggs, the Choceur Hollow Mini Bunnies, the Moser Roth Mini Truffle Easter Eggs in Milk Chocolate and Hazelnut, and the Choceur Solid Milk Chocolate Eggs.

 

 

Cardamom Linzer Cookies

- Makes about 32 Cookies -

Prep time: 20 minutes, plus chill time
Bake time: 30-40 minutes total (8-10 minutes per tray)

Note - I cut a couple of the cookies using a larger egg cutter, and iced them with royal icing, just as a fun little visual variation for the box! I have included my royal icing recipe and directions below.

Cardamom Linzer Dough
170g Countryside Creamery Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
150g sugar
50g brown sugar
1 Simply Nature Grade A Organic Cage Free Brown Egg, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
310g Baker’s Corner All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom

Filling
Jam or Preserves of choice (I used the Award Winning Specially Selected Blackberry Fruit Spread)

To Finish
Baker’s Corner Powdered Sugar, for dusting

Royal Icing Detailing (optional)
1/4 cup (60g) water
15g (1 Tbsp) meringue powder
340g (2 3/4 cups) Baker’s Corner Powdered Sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

 

- PROCESS -

CARDAMOM COOKIES

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together on medium high speed until pale, 3-4 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and mix to combine, scraping down the edges as needed.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and cardamom. Add to the wet ingredients, and mix until just combined.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface, and gently bring together with your hands. Form into a rectangle, and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for approximately an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350°f /180°c. Line 3-4 baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the fridge and divide into two. Working with one piece of dough at a time, place between two large pieces of parchment paper, and roll to approximately 1/4” (7mm) thickness. Transfer, still covered in the parchment, to a baking sheet, and place in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes to allow the dough to firm. Repeat with the second portion of dough.

Remove one sheet from the freezer, and peel off the Top sheet of the parchment paper. Using a cutter of your desired size (I used an egg cutter that was 2” in height), cut out shapes from your dough. Place on the lined baking sheets, leaving a little room in between. If the dough starts to soften, return to the freezer to firm up. Repeat until all the dough has been used up.

Place the cut out cookies in the freezer for 10 minutes, then, using a small shaped cutter (I used a small egg cutter), cut out a hole in the middle of half of the cookies. Repeat the rolling and cutting process while the first sheet is baking. You may end up with 3-4 baking sheets worth of cookies - store any cookies that aren’t being baked in the freezer while they are waiting to be baked off.

Bake each sheet one at a time for 8-9 minutes, until the edges are set. You may need to increase the baking time if your cookies are slightly larger.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely. Repeat the baking process with the remaining cookies. Store in an airtight container until you are ready to assemble.

FILLING AND ASSEMBLY

Pair up the cookies so each has a solid half, and half with a cut-out. Place the cut-out pieces on a wire rack, and, if desired, dust generously with powdered sugar. Place all the solid halves smooth side down (so the side that was against the baking sheet is facing up), then, using either a spoon or a piping bag, place about 1 tsp of jam on each cookie. Top with a cut-out half. Repeat with the remaining cookies. Store in an airtight container - these are best served on the day they are assembled, but you can store the components separately for several days.

ROYAL ICING

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whisk together the water and meringue powder. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla, and then mix on low for 8-10 minutes. The mixture will become very thick.

Transfer about half of the icing to a small bowl, and place the rest in a small container with plastic wrap pressed against the surface. Thin down the icing with more water, adding a teaspoon at a time until it is a pipe-able consistency. Transfer to a small piping bag fitted with a small round tip. Pipe a border around the edge of each cookie, then fill in by piping icing within the border. Smooth down with a skewer. Repeat on as many cookies as desired. Allow to dry for at least a few hours before you pipe on detail.

To pipe on the detail, thin down the remaining icing, and colour as desired. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a round tip, and pipe designs onto the cookies. Allow to dry before eating.

Store cookies in an airtight container.

 

 

Vanilla Bean Marshmallows

- Makes one 9” x 13” pan of marshmallow -

Prep time: 30 minutes, plus 3-4 hours for marshmallows to cure

Note - I repeated the recipe twice to give me pink and yellow marshmallows. The thing I love about homemade marshmallows is that they last a super long time - just keep them in an airtight container. I cut mine out using Easter shaped cutters, but cutting into squares with a sharp knife works just as well too - just be sure to dust either the knife or your cutter in the marshmallow dust to make sure that it doesn’t stick.

Marshmallow Dust
35g (1/4 cup) Baker’s Corner Powdered Sugar
35g (1/4 cup) corn starch

Vanilla Marshmallows
Countryside Creamery Unsalted Butter for greasing pan.
75g cold water
14g (2 sachets) powdered gelatin
75g cold water
270g sugar
105 g light corn syrup
1 tablespoon (18g) vanilla bean paste, or 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
Gel food colouring as desired (optional)

 

- PROCESS -

MARSHMALLOW DUST

Sift together the powdered sugar and corn starch. Set aside - this will be used to dust the pan.

VANILLA BEAN MARSHMALLOWS

Grease a 9” x 13” quarter sheet pan with butter, and dust with marshmallow dust. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine 75 grams water with the powdered gelatin. Combine well and leave to bloom while you prepare the sugar syrup.

In a medium sized heavy bottom saucepan, heat the second measure of water, granulated sugar, light corn syrup, and vanilla bean paste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until a candy thermometer registers 240˚f (116˚c). Remove from the heat, and allow to cool to 210˚f (99˚c).

Turn the mixer to medium speed, and allow it to break up the gelatin slightly. Carefully stream in the sugar syrup mixture. Increase the speed to high, and beat until the marshmallow has doubled in volume, holds a small peak, and is fluffy, 5 to 7 minutes. Add food colouring if desired. Working quickly, scrape into the prepared pan, and smooth down with a lightly oiled offset spatula. Dust with additional marshmallow dust, and allow to cure for at least 3 hours.

Dust a work surface with marshmallow dust, and turn the marshmallow onto it. Using an Easter cutter of your desired size, cut out marshmallows, dusting the cutter with marshmallow dust as needed. I used egg cutters and a chick cutter.

Store in an airtight container until ready to use.

 

 

Macarons with Dark Chocolate Mint Swiss Meringue Buttercream

- Makes about 24 macarons -

Prep time: 45 minutes, plus time for macarons to dry
Bake time: 30 minutes

Note - After mixing in the powdered sugar and almond flour mixture into the meringue, I divided the mixture into three, and coloured each individually, then continued to mix until they were the correct consistency. This is an easy way to make several colours from one batch of batter. I also added some ‘speckles’ by flicking on some black gel food colouring diluted with water using a paintbrush after they had baked.

Macaron Shells
170g Baker’s Corner Almond Flour
300g Baker’s Corner Powdered Sugar
180g Simply Nature Grade A Organic Cage Free Brown Egg whites, at room temperature
160g sugar
Gel food colour as desired
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

Mint Chocolate Chip Swiss Meringue Buttercream
65g egg whites, or 2 large egg whites - I used Simply Nature Grade A Organic Cage Free Brown Eggs
1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
1/8 tsp kosher salt
225g (8oz, or two sticks) Countryside Creamery Unsalted Butter, cold and cut into small pieces
1 tsp vanilla
125g dark chocolate
1/8 tsp peppermint extract

 

- PROCESS -

MACARON SHELLS

Preheat oven to 300˚f / 150˚c, and position the oven rack in the centre of the oven. Using a round cookie cutter or the base of a large piping tip (something about 1.5 inches in diameter), draw a "template" for your macarons on a piece of parchment paper, leaving about 3/4" between each circle. 

Combine the almond flour and powdered sugar together in a large bowl. Sift the mixture twice, to ensure there are no large lumps and that the mixture is properly aerated. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add the sugar, increase the mixer speed, and whip on high until the meringue starts to firm up. Add gel food colour if desired. Add vanilla and mix until incorporated. Continue to whip until the meringue forms stiff peaks.

Remove the bowl from the mixer. Add half of the almond flour and powdered sugar mixture, and fold into the meringue. You want to deflate the meringue just a little at this stage, to combine the meringue and almond flour mixture.

Add the remaining almond flour mixture, and stir lightly to combine. Now comes the important part - mixing the batter to the correct consistency. Fold the mixture in a series of 'turns', deflating the batter by spreading it against the side of the bowl. Turn the bowl slightly and repeat the movement - scooping the batter from the bottom of the bowl, and spreading it against the side. Continuously check the consistency of the batter - you want it to flow like lava when you lift the spatula from the bowl, and you should be able to 'draw' a figure 8 with it, without the batter breaking (again, watch lots of videos to get an idea! They help so much). This step can take some practice until you know what it should feel and look like. If in doubt you are better to under mix them than over mix them - the process of putting the batter into the bag and piping out will help mix a little too.

Fit a large pastry bag with a medium sized round tip, such as an Ateco #805. Place the macaron template on a sheet pan, and place a second piece of parchment over it. Holding the piping bag at a 90˚ angle to the surface, pipe out the batter into blobs the size of the circles drawn on the template. Finish off each piped circle with a little "flick" of your wrist to minimise the batter forming a point (it will still form a small one, but we can get rid of this with banging). Remove the template from under the macarons.

Hold the baking sheet in two hands, and carefully but firmly, evenly bang it against the bench. Repeat this a few more times - this will get rid of any air bubbles, remove points on the top, and help them to spread out slightly. 

Repeat the piping and banging process until you have used up all of the batter - I usually make three sheet pans worth.

Allow the macarons to dry at room temperature for approximately 30 minutes, or until they form a skin that you can touch without your finger sticking to them. This time will drastically vary depending on the humidity. 

About fifteen minutes before you are going to bake the macarons, place a spare sheet pan in the oven to preheat - this is going to be used to place under the pan with the macarons on it, to double up, which should help with even baking. Bake the macarons one sheet at a time - place the sheet with the macarons on the preheated sheet, and place in the oven. 

Bake for approximately 18 minutes, rotating the pan once during the cooking process, and checking for doneness after 15 minutes. The macarons should develop a foot (the ruffled part on the bottom of the macaron), and bake without browning. To see if they are done - press down lightly on a shell. If the foot gives way, it needs a little longer, if it is stable, then it is close to being done. Test a macaron shell - if you can peel it away cleanly from the paper, they are done. If they are stable but cannot yet peel away cleanly, give them another minute or so. Again, this part takes a little trial and error depending on your oven. If they seem done but do not peel away cleanly, do not worry - there is a little trick for that! 

Remove from the oven, and allow to cool on the sheet pan for 10 minutes before peeling off the parchment paper and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack. Repeat the baking with the remaining trays, using the same spare sheet pan to double up.

If your macs do not peel away cleanly, place them, on the parchment paper, into the freezer for 5-10 minutes, then peel away from the paper. 

Store shells in an airtight container until ready to fill. These can be made 2-3 days in advance, provided they are stored in an airtight container.

DARK CHOCOLATE MINT SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM

Place the egg whites, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer or a heat proof bowl. Place over a pot of simmering water, ensuring that the water does not touch the bowl. Heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture registers 160˚f / 70˚c on a thermometer and the sugar has dissolved. Carefully transfer the bowl to the mixer, and fit with the whisk attachment. Whip the egg whites on high until the mixture has begun to cool slightly and the egg whites are white and fluffy and hold a stiff peak, 8-10 minutes. Add the butter one chunk at a time. The mixture may look curdled - but just keep mixing! Once all the butter is incorporated, mix on high for a further 5 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix until incorporated.

While the buttercream is mixing, melt the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl in 30 second increments in the microwave. Set aside to cool slightly. 

Once the buttercream has finished mixing, and is smooth and silky, add in the cooled chocolate, and peppermint extract. Mix for a further 2-3 minutes, then switch to the paddle attachment and mix on low for one minute to remove any air. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a round tip.

ASSEMBLY

Pair up each macaron shell with another of equal size. Pipe a blob of buttercream on one side of the pair, and gently press the second half on to adhere. Macarons can be eaten immediately, but are best after a night in the fridge in an airtight container to let the flavours meld.

 

 

Brown Butter Crispy Rice Treat Bars

- Makes one 9”x9” pan of bars -

Prep time: 15 Minutes, Plus time for the bars to set

115g (one stick) Countryside Creamery Unsalted Butter
285g (one 10oz bag) marshmallows
175g Millville Crispy Rice cereal
Flaky sea salt, to finish
Sprinkles of your choice, to finish

- PROCESS -

Grease a 9”x9” pan with butter (I used the Crofton Speckled Bakeware Pan from ALDI, available starting March 27th).

Place the Crispy Rice cereal in a large bowl. In a medium heavy bottomed saucepan, place the butter over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until the butter melts, and then continue to cook, stirring well, until the butter begins to go brown and smell toasty. Remove the butter from the heat, and add the marshmallows and vanilla, stirring well. Leave to sit for 1-2 minutes to help the butter melt the marshmallows, then stir until the marshmallows are melted and the mixture is well combined.

Pour the marshmallow mixture over the Crispy Rice cereal, and mix well until well combined. It may seem sticky, but make sure that you keep mixing to make sure all of the cereal is evenly coated.

Transfer to the greased pan, and press down with a spoon or wet fingers. Sprinkle with sprinkles and flaky sea salt, then leave to cool and set before slicing into bars. Store in an airtight container

 

 

Mini Jam Hand Pies

- Makes about 20 Hand Pies -

Prep time: 45 minutes, plus overnight rest for the dough and chilling time for the hand pies
Bake time: 25 minutes

Note - You can fill these with whatever you like! I used the Specially Selected Fruit Spread from ALDI in Blackberry, Strawberry and Raspberry. You can mix and match the fillings - using a premade jam makes these super quick and easy, and they are so good! They are also great to make ahead and store in the freezer - make them up to the point where you freeze them solid, then transfer to an airtight container and store in the freezer until you are ready to bake!

Pie Dough
2 1/2 cups (310g) Baker’s Corner All-Purpose Flour
Pinch of salt
2 tsp (8g) sugar
2 sticks (226g) Countryside Creamery Unsalted Butter, cold, cut into cubes
1 cup (240ml) cold water
1 cup ice
1/4 cup (60ml) apple cider vinegar

Filling
Fruit Spread or Jam of your choice

Egg wash - one Simply Nature Grade A Organic Cage Free Brown Egg, whisked with 1 Tbsp water
Turbinado or raw sugar to finish, optional

 

- PROCESS -

PIE DOUGH

Place flour, sugar and salt into a large bowl. Cut butter into chunks, and add to the flour. Toss lightly to coat. Working quickly, using a pastry blender or  your fingers,  cut the butter into the flour mixture until there are only pea-sized chunks left. You want a few lumps of butter remaining to keep the pastry nice and tender.

Combine ice, water and cider vinegar in a bowl. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of the ice water into the flour and butter mixture, and using a stiff spatula or your hands, mix in well. Continue adding water a tablespoon at a time ( I normally need about 8-10 tbsp.) until you have a dough that holds together well, but is not too wet. Squeeze together with your fingertips to make a homogenous dough. Shape into two rectangles, and wrap in plastic wrap. Rest in the fridge for at least two hours, or preferably overnight. 

FILLING AND ASSEMBLY

On a lightly floured surface, working with one piece of dough at a time, roll into a rough rectangle, with a dough thickness of approximately 1/8”. Using a circle cutter (I used a 2 3/4” cutter), cut circles of dough, and place onto a lined baking sheet. Repeat with the second piece of pie dough, until you have used it all. Scraps can be gently pressed back together and wrapped in plastic, then re-rolled and used for extra circles. Store cut circles in the fridge while you finish rolling out the dough.

Once you have cut out your circles, combine the egg wash in a small bowl. Working with two circles at a time (otherwise the egg wash tends to dry out and not stick), paint two of the circles with egg wash. Place a small teaspoon of jam filling in the centre of one circle, then place the second circle, egg wash side down, on top, making sure to press out any air.

Lightly seal the hand pie with your fingers, then transfer to a lined baking sheet and crimp the edges with a fork (do not crimp the edges on your work surface or it makes the hand pie very hard to move).

Repeat with the remaining circles, until you have made all of your hand pies. If you would like to add cut-outs, you can roll together some scraps, briefly freeze the rolled out dough, and then use pie stamps to stamp out the dough. Adhere to the hand pies with egg wash.

Place the baking sheet with the hand pies in the freezer, and freeze for 20-30 minutes, or until completely solid. While the pies are in the freezer, preheat the oven to 425°f / 220°c.

Create air holes in the top of the pies using a fork, to allow steam to escape while baking. Brush the hand pies all over with egg wash, and then sprinkle with raw sugar.

Bake the hand pies for 20-25 minutes, until deeply golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature - store leftovers in foil, and reheat in the oven to re-crisp the pastry.

The Ultimate Easter treat box - iced cookies, cardamom linzers, hand pies, macarons, crispy rice treats and Easter mallows make the most amazing treat box, and are complimented perfectly by super cute foil wrapped chocolate eggs. This box would make the most perfect Easter gift, or the components are perfect alone for Easter treats. #easterbox #cookiebox #easterbaking

Thank you so much to ALDI for sponsoring this post! All opinions are my own.

The Ultimate Valentine's Day Treat Box


 
The Ultimate Valentine's Day treat box - a perfect mix of cookies and sweet treats to help celebrate valentine's day or the ones you love. This would make the most amazing gift - we included macarons, painted sugar cookies, linzer cookies, chocolate sandwich cookies, meringue kisses, soft earl grey caramels, and marshmallow hearts. #valentinesday #cookiebox
The Ultimate Valentine's Day treat box - a perfect mix of cookies and sweet treats to help celebrate valentine's day or the ones you love. This would make the most amazing gift - we included macarons, painted sugar cookies, linzer cookies, chocolate sandwich cookies, meringue kisses, soft earl grey caramels, and marshmallow hearts. #valentinesday #cookiebox
The Ultimate Valentine's Day treat box - a perfect mix of cookies and sweet treats to help celebrate valentine's day or the ones you love. This would make the most amazing gift - we included macarons, painted sugar cookies, linzer cookies, chocolate sandwich cookies, meringue kisses, soft earl grey caramels, and marshmallow hearts. #valentinesday #cookiebox
The Ultimate Valentine's Day treat box - a perfect mix of cookies and sweet treats to help celebrate valentine's day or the ones you love. This would make the most amazing gift - we included macarons, painted sugar cookies, linzer cookies, chocolate sandwich cookies, meringue kisses, soft earl grey caramels, and marshmallow hearts. #valentinesday #cookiebox
The Ultimate Valentine's Day treat box - a perfect mix of cookies and sweet treats to help celebrate valentine's day or the ones you love. This would make the most amazing gift - we included macarons, painted sugar cookies, linzer cookies, chocolate sandwich cookies, meringue kisses, soft earl grey caramels, and marshmallow hearts. #valentinesday #cookiebox
The Ultimate Valentine's Day treat box - a perfect mix of cookies and sweet treats to help celebrate valentine's day or the ones you love. This would make the most amazing gift - we included macarons, painted sugar cookies, linzer cookies, chocolate sandwich cookies, meringue kisses, soft earl grey caramels, and marshmallow hearts. #valentinesday #cookiebox
The Ultimate Valentine's Day treat box - a perfect mix of cookies and sweet treats to help celebrate valentine's day or the ones you love. This would make the most amazing gift - we included macarons, painted sugar cookies, linzer cookies, chocolate sandwich cookies, meringue kisses, soft earl grey caramels, and marshmallow hearts. #valentinesday #cookiebox
The Ultimate Valentine's Day treat box - a perfect mix of cookies and sweet treats to help celebrate valentine's day or the ones you love. This would make the most amazing gift - we included macarons, painted sugar cookies, linzer cookies, chocolate sandwich cookies, meringue kisses, soft earl grey caramels, and marshmallow hearts. #valentinesday #cookiebox
The Ultimate Valentine's Day treat box - a perfect mix of cookies and sweet treats to help celebrate valentine's day or the ones you love. This would make the most amazing gift - we included macarons, painted sugar cookies, linzer cookies, chocolate sandwich cookies, meringue kisses, soft earl grey caramels, and marshmallow hearts. #valentinesday #cookiebox
The Ultimate Valentine's Day treat box - a perfect mix of cookies and sweet treats to help celebrate valentine's day or the ones you love. This would make the most amazing gift - we included macarons, painted sugar cookies, linzer cookies, chocolate sandwich cookies, meringue kisses, soft earl grey caramels, and marshmallow hearts. #valentinesday #cookiebox

I couldn’t let Valentine’s day go by without a sneaky wee cookie box. Personally I’m not a giant fan of Valentine’s day, but what I do really love is making super cute pink stuff, so here we are! My friend Chelsea reached out a while back and asked if I wanted to do a wee valentine’s day collab with some macarons, so I roped in Jase and we took it one step further and came up with this epic Valentine’s themed treat box! We each did a bunch of prep the day before, then got together and put it all together, hung out, and took 12 zillion photos. It was the best day.

Jase and I made Dark Chocolate and Raspberry Macarons (classic v day flavour, chocolate and berries), and then some meringue kisses, which are super easy to make - the recipe makes loads, and they keep for a super long time. We also tried our hand at making some soft caramels, which turned out beautifully. We made an earl grey version, and I’m now hooked on making them and can’t wait to make more in the future. Finally, we also made some super cute marshmallow hearts, flavoured with a freeze dried raspberry powder.

Chelsea brought Sugar cookies, linzers, and chocolate sandwich cookies. She ices the cookies with royal icing and then paints on them with edible paint - I am totally, totally blown away by her talent. She did some wee heart cookies which became little conversation hearts, and then made THE most amazing, detailed, valentine’s themed cookies I have ever, ever seen. She chatted away while she just casually painted macarons, a task which would have me hiding in the corner in tears five seconds in. She’s also just an amazing human being, and will be opening a bakeshop in the near future. I am so excited for her, but also so, so grateful that I am lucky enough to call so many amazingly talented people my friends! Yay to more collabs in the future!

Here’s what we ended up with:

  • Earl Grey caramels

  • Vanilla bean Meringue Kisses

  • Raspberry Heart Shaped Marshmallows

  • Linzer Cookies with Raspberry Jam (Chelsea brought these but I have included a version below)

  • Dark Chocolate and Raspberry Macarons - Recipe Here

  • Chocolate Sandwich Cookies (This recipe, but without any leavener, and filled with extra buttercream from the macarons)

  • Decorated Sugar cookies (Chelsea made these with her recipe, but I have a version here - I like this royal icing recipe)

A few wee tips:

  • The key to a good Cookie box (in my opinion), is choosing one colour and sticking with it as a theme throughout. We went with pink for valentine’s day.

  • We did all the prep work the day beforehand, then put it together and shot it the next day!

  • Make sure you plan out your cookie box before you start so that you have a good mixture of things - I like to do a combination of cookies but also little sweet treaty things such as as the caramels and the meringue kisses

  • A good way of making things a little easier on yourself is to make some components that can be used in a few places - for example, the jam and the buttercream from the macarons can be used to fill the linzers and chocolate cookies.

  • Here is the box we used - I got Rich to make us some dividers on the laser cutter.

 

 

Earl Grey Caramels

- Makes about 160 caramels -

Recipe Adapted from ‘Candy Is Magic’ by Jami Curl

Earl Grey Cream
300g Heavy Cream
30g Loose leaf Earl grey tea

Caramels
438g Glucose syrup or light corn syrup
800g sugar
220g Earl Grey Cream
8g Kosher Salt
2g Vanilla bean powder (I used Heilala)
330g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 1 inch cubes

 

- PROCESS -

EARL GREY CREAM

Place the heavy cream in a small saucepan, and heat over low to medium heat until just shy of a simmer. Add the loose leaf tea, cover the pot, and steep for 20 minutes. Strain the cream through a fine mesh sieve, pressing down on the tea to get as much liquid out as possible. Clean out the saucepan, wipe dry, and measure 220g of the cream into the saucepan. Place over a low heat until ready to use. If you are making ahead, store in an airtight container in the fridge, then rewarm when ready to use.

CARAMELS

Butter a 9” x 13” pan and have nearby.

Place the corn syrup or glucose into a large heavy bottomed saucepan (It is easiest to weigh directly into the pan). Heat over medium high, until it begins to bubble. Swirl the pot occasionally to prevent any hot spots

Sprinkle in a third of the sugar, and, using a spatula or wooden spoon, poke the sugar so it is covered by the corn syrup. Do not stir at any time. Once all of the sugar has been covered, add the second third, and repeat the poking process. Repeat with the final third of sugar.

Place the cream into a small saucepan and place over low heat. Add the salt and vanilla bean powder.

Cook the corn syrup and sugar mixture, swirling the pot occasionally, until it is dark amber in colour. This should take around 13 to 15 minutes. Do not walk away from the caramel - it is important you watch it carefully so you can swirl the pot as needed to distribute the heat and ensure even cooking.

Once the mixture is dark amber, remove from the heat, and add in the earl grey cream mixture, followed by the butter. Using a large whisk, whisk the mixture for 5 minutes, until it is completely emulsified. Make sure you whisk for the full 5 minutes to ensure this.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, and allow to set for at least 3 hours, or ideally overnight.

To cut, prepare a chopping board and sharp knife. Carefully lift the caramel out of the pan - I found it was easiest to start in one corner and slowly work my way out. Use a ruler to mark the caramel - we did approximately 1 1/2 “ by 3/4” pieces, but you can cut however you like - 1” squares work great too.

Wrap the caramels in wax paper or cellophane squares - we used wax paper squares.

 

 

Vanilla Bean Meringue Kisses

- Makes about 60 meringue kisses, or about 24 nests -

Note: This recipe is very scaleable - the ratio of egg whites to sugar is 1:1.5, so adjust to your liking. Because the meringues are essentially ‘dried’ rather than cooked, you can pipe various sizes and bake all together.

200g egg whites
300g granulated sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
Pink Gel Food colouring (Optional)

 

- PROCESS -

MERINGUE

Preheat the oven to 225˚f / 110˚c. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Fit two large piping bags with your tip of choice (I used an Ateco #826).

Measure the egg whites and granulated sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer or other heatproof bowl. Place over a pot of simmering water, ensuring that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Heat the mixture, whisking often and watching the edges carefully, until it no longer feels gritty when rubbed between your fingers, and it registers at least 70˚c / 160˚f on a thermometer. 

Carefully transfer to a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add the vanilla. Whip on high speed until stiff peaks form, approximately 4-5 minutes. Transfer half to a to piping bag, then colour the remainder with a few drops of gel food colouring, mix to incorporate, and transfer to the second piping bag.

Use a few small blobs of meringue to secure the parchment paper to the baking sheet. Pipe 'kisses', onto the baking paper lined sheets, leaving a small amount of space between each (they will not spread in the oven). You can pipe whatever shape you would like here - blobs, nests, kisses etc.

Place the baking sheets into the oven. Bake for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until they feel firm and no longer sticky, and peel cleanly off the paper when you lift them up. Turn off the oven, and leave them in there for at least an additional hour to dry out and crisp up.

Store in an airtight container until ready to use.

 

 

Raspberry Marshmallows

- Makes one 13” x 9” pan of marshmallows -

Marshmallow Dust
35g (1/4 cup) powdered sugar
35g (1/4 cup) Corn Starch

Raspberry Marshmallows
75g cold water
14g (2 sachets) powdered gelatine
75g cold water
270g Sugar
106 g light corn syrup
1 tablespoon (18g) vanilla bean paste, or 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
20g freeze-dried raspberry powder (we used Freshas brand)

- PROCESS -

MARSHMALLOW DUST

Sift together the powdered sugar and corn starch. Set aside - this will be used to dust the pan.

RASPBERRY MARSHMALLOWS

Grease a 9” x 13” quarter sheet pan with butter, and dust with marshmallow dust. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine 75 grams water with the powdered gelatine. Combine well and leave to bloom while you prepare the sugar syrup.

In a medium sized heavy bottom saucepan, heat the second measure of water, granulated sugar, light corn syrup, vanilla bean paste, and freeze dried raspberry powder. Cook, stirring occasionally, until a candy thermometer registers 240˚f (116˚c). Remove from the heat, and allow to cool to 210˚f (99˚c).

Turn the mixer to medium speed, and allow it to break up the gelatine slightly. Carefully stream in the sugar syrup mixture. Increase the speed to high, and beat until the marshmallow has doubled in volume, holds a small peak, and is fluffy, 5 to 7 minutes. Working quickly, scrape into the prepared pan, and smooth down with a lightly oiled offset spatula. Dust with additional marshmallow dust, and allow to cure for at least 3 hours.

Dust a work surface with marshmallow dust, and turn the marshmallow onto it. Using a heart cutter of your desired size, cut out heart mallows, dusting the cutter with marshmallow dust as needed.

Store in an airtight container until ready to use.


 

 

Shortbread Linzer Cookies

- Makes approximately 18 sandwich cookies, depending on size -

Shortbread Roll-out Cookies
180g unsalted butter, at room temperature
65g powdered sugar, sifted
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
265 g all-purpose flour
Powdered sugar to dust

Raspberry Quick Jam
375g frozen raspberries
400g granulated sugar

- PROCESS -

SHORTBREAD COOKIES

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, powdered sugar, salt, and vanilla bean paste on high speed until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add the flour, and mix on low until just combined.

Dump the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, and press out into a rectangle. Wrap tightly, and refrigerate for at least two hours, or overnight, to allow the butter to firm up.

Place the wrapped dough on the bench for 10-15 minutes to allow it to soften slightly. Cut two pieces of parchment paper the same size as a half baking sheet (13” x 18”). Unwrap the dough, and place between the two sheets of parchment paper. Using a rolling pin, bang the dough gently to help flatten out, then roll to the size of the parchment paper. If you have some wrinkles in the parchment paper, which will then in turn cause wrinkles in your dough, peel the sheet off and smooth it back onto the dough, then continue rolling.

Once you have rolled your dough to the size of the parchment paper, transfer it, still between the two sheets of paper, to a baking sheet, and place in the freezer to firm up, 15-20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 325˚f (170˚c). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a 2” fluted cookie cutter, cut circles of dough, and transfer them to the prepared baking sheet (you can fit quite a few cookies on a baking sheet, as they do not spread much). If the dough starts to soften, return to the freezer to firm up. Re-roll scraps, freeze briefly, then cut out the rest of the dough.

Place the cut out cookies in the freezer for 10 minutes, then, using a small shaped cutter, cut out a hole in the middle of half of the cookies.

One sheet at a time, bake the cookies for 11-12 minutes, until the shortbread is set and only just beginning to go golden. Remove from the oven, allow to cool for 15 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

RASPBERRY QUICK JAM

In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, mash the raspberries roughly. Bring to a rolling boil, and then add the sugar. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a container or sterilised jars, and allow to cool completely before using. Store in the fridge.

FILLING AND ASSEMBLY

Pair up the cookies so each pair has one solid half, and one half with a cut-out. Arrange the halves with a cut-out on a wire rack, and dust generously with powdered sugar. Place all the solid halves, smooth side (the side that was facing upwards on the baking sheet) down, and, either using a piping bag or a spoon, dollop about a teaspoon of the Raspberry Jam Filling onto the halves. Top with a cut-out half, and carefully press down to sandwich. Repeat with remaining cookies.

Store leftovers in an airtight container. If you are not planning on eating these on the first or second day, store the cookies and the filling separate, and sandwich closer to eating, to avoid them going soggy.

The Ultimate Valentine's Day treat box - a perfect mix of cookies and sweet treats to help celebrate valentine's day or the ones you love. This would make the most amazing gift - we included macarons, painted sugar cookies, linzer cookies, chocolate sandwich cookies, meringue kisses, soft earl grey caramels, and marshmallow hearts. #valentinesday #cookiebox