Matcha Amaretti

Although I cannot reveal how I obtained the ground almonds during lockdown, I was delighted that they came into my possession. It meant that I could do a trial run of the recipe I was going to use as my birthday recipe. Quite often, I make macarons to share with my nearest and dearest, but after the success of Ottolenghi’s amaretti I made at Christmas (click here for recipe)and my love of matcha (see matcha, pink peppercorn and cherry madeleines click here for recipe), I decided that these matcha amaretti would be the perfect little morsel to celebrate with.

I found the recipe on https://www.loveandoliveoil.com/2019/02/matcha-amaretti-cookies.html. There is also a raspberry version using raspberry powder which also look tempting. The only changes I would make to this recipe would be to reduce the amount of sugar from 200g to 150g and also to reduce the cooking time to allow for a softer amaretti. Though I have to say I did enjoy the chewy amaretti that came as a result of 25 minutes in the oven, I prefer a softer version. Next time I’ll bake them for 15-18 minutes as in the Ottolenghi recipe.

I will definitely be baking a double batch to celebrate my birthday when we get out of lockdown, one matcha and one raspberry. For now though, I will just have to enjoy these on my own!

Ingredients

200g almond flour or very finely ground almonds, sifted

200g granulated sugar (I used 150g)

1 tablespoon matcha powder

pinch salt

2 large egg whites (about 60g)

1/4 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Icing sugar to dust

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees C. Line a baking tray with baking paper or a silicone baking mat.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, sugar, matcha and salt until evenly incorporated.
  3. In a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites and lemon juice until they hold soft peaks.
  4. Add beaten egg whites and almond extract to dry ingredients and stir until mixture forms a soft, sticky dough.
  5. Lightly dust your hands with icing sugar. Portion the dough into 1-inch balls. Roll into a smooth ball, then roll in icing sugar. Arrange on the lined baking tray, leaving 1 inch of space between balls.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes until tops are cracked and bottoms are just barely golden. If you prefer softer amaretti bake for 15-18 minutes. Remove from oven; let cool a few minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Matcha, Pink Peppercorn and Cherry Madeleines

For my birthday, a good friend of mine gave me a book on Japanese patisserie by James Campbell. It’s a stunning book with beautiful photographs of high-end patisserie, a lot of which is way beyond my culinary ability. However, these madeleines caught my eye; very easy to make, exotic flavours and I already had matcha powder and pink peppercorns in the cupboard. All I had to do was to wait for an excuse to make them.

Two things happened in the same week. First, a colleague told me it was her birthday and then another colleague gave me a gift of an edible gold spray, goldas in real gold! So out came the madeleine recipe. It was really very straight forward. I used the spray to add a bit of birthday sparkle to the tops of the madeleines. Admittedly, madeleines are probably not the ideal vehicle for edible gold spray as the contrast of the colour was not strong enough. However, the birthday girl was delighted with her luxurious, exotic madeleines.

Ingredients

150g unsalted butter

50g ground almonds

¾ tablespoon matcha powder

50g plain flour

150g egg whites (about 4 large eggs)

½ teaspoon pink peppercorns, ground

12 cherries, halved with the stones removed

Directions

  • First make a buerre noisette (browned butter). Put the diced butter in a saucepan and set over a medium-high heat for around 5-7 minutes until melted and boiling. The fat at the bottom of the pan should go a nutty-brown colour, but be careful this does not darken too much and burn. Transfer the browned butter immediately to a heatproof dish and set aside to cool until just warm.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together the ground almonds, matcha powder and flour.
  • In another bowl, whisk together the egg whites with the sugar until frothy.
  • Carefully fold the dry ingredients, the buerre noisette and ground pink peppercorns into the sugar and egg mixture until fully incorporated and no lumps remain. Transfer the mixture to the fridge to chill for at least an hour. You can also put the madeleine tins, greased with butter and dusted with flour into the freezer.
  • Preheat the oven to 180C/ Gas 4.
  • Put the chilled madeleine mixture into a piping bag and pipe in enough to almost fill the prepared tin. Alternatively, you can spoon the mixture in.