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  • Writer's pictureSpiced Cranachan

Masala Chai Macarons


This is one of my favourites.


Warm spices coming together with the sweet chewiness of the macarons to create one of the most addictive treats in your fridge.


You'll have a hard time trying not to sneak into your kitchen in the middle of the night and have a couple of nibbles in the dark...

Masala Chai (or cha, in Punjabi) originates from South Asia. The recipe is typically made by boiling black tea in milk and water with a mixture of aromatic herbs and spices.


Growing up, we would often have this with guests, with Sunday brunch or really whenever we had the time to make it. Nowadays there are so many variations and versions - from chai lattés to iced chai to chai smoothies - but nothing beats the original.


A lot of people have their own recipe for masala chai, with varying spices and quantities depending on their preferences. However, most traditional recipes will include green cardamom pods, cinnamon, cloves, fennel and sometimes ground ginger or black peppercorns.

I personally prefer my chai to be on the sweeter side, so I tend to add honey or more sugar to my cup. It is fair to assume my sweet tooth is what led to this recipe.


There were, however, several attempts to get it just right. Macarons can be temperamental at the best of times, so I could only really use trial and error to figure out the correct measurements and oven times, let alone the flavour balance.


But it paid off! And I am very happy with the end result.

The warmth of the spices dulls the intense sweetness of the macarons, but leaves just enough to make you feel like you're enjoying a fragrant cup of cha.


And the smooth chocolate ganache holding it all together cuts through the chewiness to take these treats even further.


Spiced, soft, melt-in-your-mouth and so light you won't want to share!



Recipe


Ingredients:


  • 200g Icing Sugar

  • 100g Ground Almonds

  • 1 tsp Salt

  • 3 Egg Whites

  • 50g Granulated Sugar

  • 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla Paste

  • 1 1/2 tsp Cocoa Powder

  • 1 tsp Cinnamon Powder

  • 1 1/2 tsp Fennel Seeds

  • 10 Cardamom Pods

  • 150g Chocolate (I used dark, 36%)

  • 100ml Double Cream


Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 100 degrees Celsius.

  2. Combine the icing sugar, salt and ground almonds in a food processor and pulse 10-15 times until extra fine. Sieve the mixture into a bowl to remove any lumps and set aside.

  3. Beat the egg whites in a separate bowl until soft peaks form. Add the granulated sugar, a little at a time, and continue to beat until it is all fully incorporated and the mixture starts to develop a 'sheen.' Continue to beat until stiff peaks are formed (you should be able to hold the bowl upside down without the contents falling out). Add the vanilla paste, cocoa powder and cinnamon powder and set aside.

  4. Finely chop the fennel seeds and cardamom seeds into small pieces, then grind in a pestle and mortar until it resembles a powder (or as close to this as possible).

  5. Add a third of the dry mixture to the wet mixture along with the fennel and cardamom powder. Gently fold with a spatula until combined. Repeat with the remaining dry ingredients then continue to stir until the resulting batter falls in ribbons.

  6. Line a rimmed baking tray with greaseproof paper and transfer the macaron mixture into a piping bag (round tip). Pipe the macarons onto the sheet in small circle shapes, spacing at least 2cm apart. Tap the tray against the table to remove any bubbles then leave to sit for at least 30 minutes or until they are dry to the touch.

  7. Bake the macarons for 12 minutes (this may vary depending on the size of your macarons. Larger macarons will need more time). Once baked, transfer to a wired rack to cool.

  8. Meanwhile, add the cream to a small pan and set over a low heat. Break the chocolate into pieces and add to a heat proof bowl. Once the cream is heated, add it to the chocolate and stir until melted. Whisk if any lumps form. If the mixture is too thick, add a splash of milk. If it is too thin, add to the fridge for 5-10 minutes until it forms a thicker consistency. Once ready, transfer to a piping bag with a round tip.

  9. Add a round 'blob' of chocolate ganache to the flat side of one macaron slice. Top it with a second macaron slice to form a sort of sandwich. Repeat with the remaining macaron slices and ganache. Serve room temperature.







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