Valentine's rich dark chocolate and raspberry macaroons
- 2 x 80g egg whites
- 200g caster sugar
- 75ml water
- 200g ground almonds
- 180g icing sugar
- 20g cocoa powder
- 300ml double cream
- 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
- 2 tbsp icing sugar
- 150g fresh raspberries, halved
Place the caster sugar and water into a small saucepan and heat on the simmering plate until the sugar has completely dissolved, move the saucepan to the boiling plate and using a sugar thermometer, monitor the temperature of the sugar.
When the temperature reaches 100°c, begin to whisk 80g of egg whites until stiff peaks are achieved. Once the sugar syrup is at 115°c, remove from the heat and very gently in a steady trickle, pour the sugar syrup into the egg whites, with the whisk still beating. Once all the sugar syrup has been incorporated, continue to whisk for 10-15 minutes until the sides of the bowl feel cool. Place in the refrigerator to completely chill while continuing with the next stages of the recipe.
In a liquidizer place the ground almonds, icing sugar and cocoa powder and pulse. Remove from the liquidizer and pass through a sieve. Stir in the remaining egg whites until you have a firm batter.
Line your 2 baking trays with the templates (I used 6.5cm love hearts as a shape for my templates) and greaseproof paper.
Add a third of the meringue to the almond paste, and beat until fully incorporated. Add the remaining meringue and beat until the mixture is one colour. Place in a piping bag with a plain piping nozzle and pipe onto the baking trays using your template as a guide.
Leave the macaroons to skin for 1-2 hours or until the tops are dry and not sticky.
2 Oven AGA: Place the baking tray on the grid shelf set on the floor of the Roasting Oven and slide the cold plain shelf on the second set of runners down. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the macaroons are firm to touch on the top but still have a little wobble at the foot of the macaroon.
3, 4 and 5 Oven AGA: Place the roaster on the grid shelf on the floor of the Baking Oven. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the macaroons are firm to touch on the top but still have a little wobble at the foot of the macaroon.
Leave the macaroons for 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack to cool completely. Whip the cream with the vanilla and icing sugar to soft peaks. To assemble the macaroons spread a very thin layer of cream on one macaroon shell. Place the raspberry halves around the outer edge and fill the middle with cream, place another shell on the top.
By Alexandra Dibble
AGA Rangemaster Group Home Economist