Monthly Archives: June 2011

Limoncello Macarons

I prefer making macarons to eating them.

There.  I’ve said it.  I generally find them too sweet for my taste.  I hear gasps of horror and disbelief.  Believe it.  It’s almost considered sacrilege to admit something like that, isn’t it??  I’m a brave soul so I’ll stand my ground.  I do find the process of making them to be very therapeutic, a form of meditation, if you will.  OK, melting and tempering chocolate is my number one on the therapeutic scale and kneading bread dough is also really good (especially when de-stressing!).  I’m not sure what it is.  Perhaps it’s all that meringue action … and you know I love making meringue.  Maybe it’s all that rhythmic folding of the macaronage. 

Scrape. Turn. Flip.  Faster pussycat ...

Whatever it is, it’s very soothing.  Recently, I had a rather harrowing experience with my oven that resulted in some peculiar looking macarons which admittedly detracted from the whole meditation idea.  I was calm until I put each tray into the oven.  At that point, I was breaking out into a cold sweat.  Drove me nuts.  But since the oven has been sorted … all’s well and back to normal.  Now, I am a bit of a perfectionist.  *cough, cough*   But I don’t need them to be perfect every time.  Let’s face it, that’s unrealistic.  But I’m happy with them as they are.  I can’t afford to be a princess about it.  I make them practically every week for my father.   He always hopes I’ve got a few cracked ones so he can have them ASAP.  He’s rather addicted to them.  Me?  I’m just not sure that’s manly 😉

None of that changes the fact they can be really sweet.  They are quite small, though, and if you pick your fillings right, they don’t have to be sickly sweet.  My favourite?  Raspberry or lime and dark chocolate ganache.  I also quite like this version.  The filling isn’t too sweet and is so light, it’s a perfect foil for the sweet, crackly shell.

A splash of Limoncello doesn’t hurt.

Just enough to transport you to the Amalfi coast.

Riding a Vespa.

In my dreams.  *sighs audibly*  😀

The recipe for the macaron shells is the same as the one given in the Wattleseed Frangelico Macarons post, using the Italian meringue method.

You know they are gluten and wheat free, right?  Yes, they are.

Yield 30 – 36 macarons (depends on the size)

Macaron Shells
150 grams almond meal
150 grams icing sugar
55 grams egg white
135 grams sugar
40 grams water
55 grams egg white
pinch of salt
yellow food colouring (gel or powder)

Limoncello Filling
175 grams ricotta
75 grams mascarpone
30 grams icing sugar
100 grams cream
40 millilitres Limoncello

For the macaron shells
Preheat the oven to 150°C.  Line 2 – 3 large baking sheets with silpat sheets or baking paper.  Set aside.

Place the almond meal and icing sugar into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture is very fine and silky in texture.  You can test it between two fingers.  I do this before sifting the mixture, but if you prefer, just sift the almond meal and icing sugar together.  Once done, place in a large mixing bowl.  Add the 55 grams of egg white and mix well with a spatula until you obtain a smooth paste.  Set aside.

Place the remaining 55 grams of egg white and salt into the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer and start whisking at low-medium speed.  Place the water into a saucepan and add the sugar.  Dissolve the sugar, in the water, over a low heat.  Bring to the boil and cook until the sugar reaches 115°C.  By this stage the egg whites should have reached a soft peak stage.  Continue whisking at medium speed as you pour the syrup into the egg whites in a thin, steady stream.  Keep whisking until the bowl cools to just warm.  I usually whisk the meringue for about 10 minutes or so and turn up the speed for a minute or two at the end.  Towards the end of whisking, add a little of the yellow food colouring until you get the desired shade.  The meringue needs to be stiff.  When you lift the whisk, there should be a solid stiff clump on the whisk.  It should be able to look you in the eye without flinching.  The coloured meringue should not be streaked with white.

Scrape a small amount of the meringue into the bowl with the almond mixture and work it into the mixture to lighten it, using a spatula or pastry scraper.  I prefer the scraper.  Scrape the remaining meringue into the bowl and fold it into the almond mixture, flipping it over on to itself, and turning the bowl with each fold.  Make sure to scrape down the bowl to ensure the mixture is homogenous, and there are no streaks of meringue or almonds.  Continue folding until the macaronage is at the stage where a little mixture, lifted, will fall back into itself slowly (i.e. the magma/lava stage everyone goes on about).

Fit a large piping bag with a plain tip and pipe small mounds onto the baking sheets.  Rap the baking sheets hard onto the bench to expel any air bubbles.  Rap it again, harder, if you’re not sure.  Harder.  That’s it.  You need to be disturbing the peace in your neighbourhood.  Air bubbles are bad.  Get rid of them.

You can pop them straight into the oven or leave until the mixture forms a light crust for about 30 – 60 minutes.  It’s up to you.  Won’t matter either way.  Bake for about 15 – 16 minutes.  Depending on your oven, they may need another minute or so.

Remove the macaron shells from the oven and set aside to cool.  Remove from the baking sheets and pair up shells of the same size.

For the Limoncello filling
Place the ricotta, mascarpone, and icing sugar into a bowl and beat until smooth and creamy.  Add the cream and Limoncello and whisk until thickened and light.

Fit a piping bag with a plain tip and fill with the Limoncello filling.  Pipe onto the macaron halves and sandwich the pairs together.  Refrigerate a few hours at least to allow the macarons to mature and flavours develop.

Because of the creamy filling, the macarons will soften more than those filled with ganache.  They are best eaten within a day or two.  Enjoy!

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Strawberries ‘n’ Cream Panna Cotta … tennis anyone?

We are very blessed in Australia to have access to wonderful fresh strawberries all year round with different growing regions having different seasons throughout the year.  Right now, Queensland strawberries have started to appear and are sweet and juicy.

So when I settle down to watch a spot of tennis at Wimbledon, do I rue that I’m not actually there in person?  Well, maybe just a little.   But I can still have my strawberries and cream and get all comfy in the evening and cheer on my favourite players, so I’m not missing out too much.  Plus we seem to be having more sunny days, albeit chilly, here in Melbourne, than at Wimbledon.  I’ve loved tennis since I was allowed to join a club as a child, totally obsessed with the sport.  I no longer play, but I do have fond memories of sneaking in to the Australian Open when it was still played on grass, at Kooyong, and watching Bjorn Borg at the height of his career.  My all time top tennis hero.  I don’t recall always having a ticket for centre court … although I vaguely remember sneaking past security 😉

But back to strawberries and cream.  A fine Wimbledon tradition.  I’m not going to sully that tradition by throwing a few strawberries into a bowl with some cream poured over them all sad and forlorn looking, am I?  Yawn.  Boring.  No!  This is the greatest Grand Slam event of the year.  Why not pay tribute to it and whip up a little panna cotta with vanilla and top it off with a fresh strawberry compote … and a splash of fig vincotto?  Cos I like a surprise ingredient … and it’s a little out of the ordinary.  Take note of this one, because I promise it will be popping up again in future posts. 😉

Calogiuri Vincotto ai Fichi

I’m a big fan of vincotto and the black fig vincotto is so unctuous and sweet and mellow, it was just begging to join the party.  It’s fantastic drizzled over the berries but there will be no drizzle action here because I’m not tempting the rain gods of Wimbledon and frankly, drizzling looks messy.  So I added it to the compote instead.  Wow.  No, really.  WOW.

Crème fraîche adds a lovely tang to the panna cotta to lift it above your average panna cotta experience.  The little flecks of vanilla beans?  That’s just vanilla perfection.  You know it.  I know it.

The cool thing about panna cotta is that it looks like hard work but it isn’t.  It takes almost no time to make, and there’s plenty of down-time waiting around for it to set.  Lots of time to kick back and watch some tennis or take a cat nap so you can stay up late as I must.  Invite a few friends over.  Then tuck in when you get a little peckish for your Wimbledon strawberries ‘n’ cream fix … cos we don’t give a fig if we’re not actually there on centre court.   Well … *shrugs*

Oh, who’s my favourite player?  Rafael Nadal.  Hands down. I hope you win, Rafa, you champ! 😀


Serves 6

Ingredients
Vanilla Panna Cotta
300 grams crème fraîche
300 millilitres cream (35% butterfat)
75 grams sugar
3 teaspoons pure vanilla bean extract OR seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean
5 grams gelatine leaves (about 2 1/2 sheets)

Strawberry Vincotto Compote
300 grams strawberries, hulled and quartered
25 grams sugar
1 tablespoon/15 millilitres fig vincotto
2 grams gelatine leaves (about 1 sheet)

6 perfect strawberries, halved
lemon balm or mint sprigs, to decorate (optional)

Make the panna cotta
Place the crème fraîche, cream, sugar, and vanilla into a saucepan over a low heat.  Stir until the sugar is dissolved.  Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water to cover for a few minutes, until softened (while the cream is on the stove).  Bring the cream mixture to the boil, stirring gently.  When the cream reaches simmering point, take off the heat.

Drain the gelatine and squeeze out any excess water.  Add the gelatine to the warm cream mixture and stir until dissolved.  Do not pour the cream mixture over the gelatine!  Pour the panna cotta mixture into serving glasses or cups.  Cool slightly and refrigerate until set, about 4 to 5 hours.

Make the compote
Place the strawberries and sugar into a saucepan over a low heat and stir until the sugar dissolves and the strawberries soften.   Soften the gelatine in some cold water while the strawberries cook.  Mash the strawberries with a fork and heat for another 2 to 3 minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in the fig vincotto.

Drain the gelatine and squeeze out any excess water.  Add to the strawberry compote and set aside to cool slightly.

Spoon or pour the compote over the vanilla panna cotta in each glass.  Refrigerate until set, at least a few hours, before serving.

Before serving, decorate with fresh strawberries and lemon balm or mint sprigs.

Eat it as you settle down to watch the tennis 🙂

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Cherry Protein Bars

Whoaaaa … back on the healthy side of the fence for this post 🙂  I did promise, after all.

I’ve got something a bit different for you this time around.  Not only do these little bars give you a good energy boost and some heart healthy fats but also a good little protein kick and some complex carbohydrates.  Not so shabby as a pre-workout snack.  Maybe even a great little recovery snack.  All fantabulous stuff.  But wait, that doesn’t make them different …

Well, usually, I’d be throwing in almond meal or some other ground up nuts in place of refined flours, yeah?  Yeah.  But that leaves a lot of people out in the cold.  With sad faces 😦    So I got me some quinoa flour.  I thought these bars might just be interesting with quinoa flour.   A little hesitant … quinoa flour smells rather beany.  But ay carumba, once these bars have cooled, that beany smell and taste I worried about is so mild, it’s actually more nutty than beany.  WIN!  So, that’s different.

You might have noticed that they’re also gluten-free and wheat-free.  That’s a WIN-WIN scenario, if that’s your brand of issue.  They can also be lactose-free and still yum.  WIN-WIN-WIN.  No losers here.

So you can make these with almond meal or coconut flour (as I’ve indicated below) or a combination.  Mostly, that’s how I’d do it for me.  The almonds would certainly increase the amount of protein in each bar.  BUT … and there’s always a BUT … if you have a nut allergy, give the quinoa flour a go.  It’s very high in protein compared with other flours (about 17%) and is a nutritionally dense food with iron, calcium, zinc, potassium, magnesium and a host of amino acids.  I hear the nut-allergy folk cry YAY!   Totally.   A lot of people with tree-nut allergies find coconut poses no problem.  If it does for you, substitutes are provided in the recipe.   Using the different ingredients for variety is actually great as it makes these bars very versatile and you don’t get bored with them too quickly.  Just quietly, I’m a fan of the cacao butter.  Of course.  Winning to the power of infinity.

I used ASN HP-100 protein in this as it packs a high-quality whopping 25 grams of protein per 28 gram serving.  I also used Valrhona Guanaja 70% chocolate.  Protein bars don’t deserve bad chocolate anymore than you do.  So use the good stuff.  It’s actually got its own decent protein and fibre contribution plus all those woohoo antioxidants.  Ditto the cherries.  Delicious powerhouses of antioxidants plus natural anti-inflammatory properties and there’s a lot of talk about them helping muscle recovery.  I’m not even going to rave about the chia seeds or I’d have to use the term superfood.  Oops.

When it comes down to it though, the important thing is that these bars are really light, moist, and delish.  And they’ve got chocolate.  You cannot lose.  KAPOW!

I feel inspired to go for a run.  Enjoy 🙂

If you’re feeling inclined towards something a little more pastry oriented, check out my guest post at the lovely Gourmantine’s Blog!  Her blog is fabulous as are her recipes.  I’m just a lucky baker, fortunate enough to be invited onto her culinary stage.  It was a lot of fun to do and hey, after being good munching on these bars, a few eclairs with zabaione cream make for a decent cheat treat. 😀

Makes 12 large or 24 small bars

Ingredients
3 large egg whites
60 grams coconut sugar or brown sugar
12 grams coconut butter/oil or cacao butter
1 teaspoon vanilla bean extract
10 grams chia seeds
50 grams whey protein powder
120 grams quinoa or coconut flour or almond meal (or a combination)
3 teaspoons baking powder
165 millilitres skim milk (<0.1% fat) or oat/rice/almond/soy milk
120 grams fresh or frozen pitted cherries, chopped (sweet or tart)

100 grams 70% chocolate
10 grams coconut butter or cacao butter

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Line a 18cm x 28cm (7″ x 11″) pan with baking paper and set aside.

Beat the egg whites and sugar until frothy. Add all the other ingredients, except the cherries, and mix well until smooth.   I actually did all that in a food processor.  Easy.  Stir in the cherries.   Don’t do that in the food processor 🙂

Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 15 minutes. Remove and set on a wire rack to cool.

Melt the chocolate and coconut or cacao butter together. Cool until it is starting to thicken. Pour over the cherry bar slab and spread evenly. Cut into 12 large or 24 small bars. Allow the chocolate to set at room temperature. Store in an airtight container.

Nutritional Profile

Data for this nutritional profile is based on standard profiles for all ingredients.  Amounts for the chocolate are based on Valrhona’s Guanaja chocolate (70%) and the whey protein powder quantities are based on ASN’s HP-100 protein supplement.

Nutritional Profile: Cherry Protein Bars (Quinoa version)

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Cherry Amaretto Cupcakes

I had every (good/virtuous/saintly) intention of posting a healthy recipe to satisfy myself and my fellow healthy, clean-eating, protein crazy kindred spirits out there.  Never fear, I’m working on it over the next day or so.  It’s a’comin’.  In the meantime, something for everyone else … oh who am I kidding?  As a very wise, very astute personal trainer friend of mine (aka Nikki at Cinchpt) keeps saying:

“If you’re going to have a cheat meal or treat, make it something truly fantastic that you will enjoy” … and variations on that theme 🙂

So in keeping with that sage ethos and a need for small portions, it’s cupcake time.  Again.  Hell, I bought a barrel full of cupcake liners and decorative girly stuff and I intend to use them.

I also just got me a bag of bitter almonds (technically they’re bitter apricot kernels).  They are what give amaretti biscuits that distinctive bitter almond flavour.  Ditto the Amaretto di Saronno liqueur.  Isn’t it divine?  Yes.  You wouldn’t eat these little kernels by the bagful though as they do contain traces of cyanide.  Used in small amounts in cooking though, they impart a lovely flavour that bitter almond essence can only hope to imitate.

Oh, I can hear the cries of despair … bitter almonds?  I can’t find them anywhere!!!!!!!!!!!!  If you’re in Melbourne, Mediterranean Wholesalers stock them and you may also be able to find them at specialty nut shops and continental grocers.  Elsewhere, try the same types of stores.  If you really can’t find them, do not despair.  Substitute fifty grams of sweet almonds, for the bitter almonds, and add two teaspoons of bitter almond essence to the cupcakes.  Crisis over.  The cupcakes will be delicious.

I love cherries and almonds and yes, I’m aware that I’m totally out of season again.  Well, pardon me for following a fine tradition of preserving and storing foods for the winter.  Snap frozen cherries, picked at their peak, are great.  So, when in season, use fresh.  Otherwise frozen are lovely.  You get that wonderful burst of summer.  If you are freezing them yourself, pit them first.  Pitting frozen cherries is a lesson in how to get frostbite and tempt the loss of digits.  It hurts a lot before the numbness takes over and you lose all feeling in your fingers.  Voice of experience … some things I just have to learn the hard way 😀

So cherries, almonds and mascarpone.  The cherry mascarpone frosting is luscious, fruity and creamy.  The amaretto cupcakes are soft and light as air.  Moist but not greasy.  They really do taste like amaretti biscuits 🙂

Just like an amaretto cherry cheesecake … only not.  It’s a cupcake.  Cherry-amaretto-spectacular.  And just a little edgy, which is good because I don’t know what evil fairy made me go for the pink pearly bits and lacy butterfly skirt thingy.

Makes 18 cupcakes

Ingredients
Amaretto Cupcakes
200 grams sugar
50 grams bitter almonds (i.e. bitter apricot kernels)
185 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 eggs
40 millilitres Amaretto di Saronno liqueur (optional)
170 grams plain flour
3 teaspoons baking powder

Cherry Mascarpone Frosting
80 grams pitted cherries (fresh or frozen)
300 grams mascarpone
150 grams icing sugar
85 grams unsalted butter, melted and cooled


Make the cupcakes
Preheat the oven to 180°C.  Set 18 cupcake liners on a baking tray or use to line muffin tins.  Set aside.

Place 50 grams of the sugar and the bitter almonds in the bowl of a food processor and grind until fine.  Set aside.

Place the remaining 150 grams of sugar and the butter in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer and beat until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix well after each addition.  Add the bitter almonds and the Amaretto liqueur, if using, and mix until the batter is smooth.

Sift the flour and baking powder together.  Add to the batter and mix until the batter is light and fluffy.

Two-thirds fill the cupcake liners with the batter and bake at 180°C for about 20 minutes until risen and golden.  Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack before frosting.

Make the frosting
If using frozen cherries, defrost and drain them before weighing and using.  Purée the cherries and set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer, whisk together the mascarpone and icing sugar until thick and light.  Add the cherry purée and whisk again until smooth.  Whisk the cooled butter until it starts to thicken slightly.  Add the butter to the mascarpone cream and whisk until thickened.  Chill for about 15 – 20 minutes before using.

Fit a large piping bag with a decorative tip and fill with the mascarpone cream.  Pipe the frosting on to each cupcake.

They are at their best served on the day they are made, of course, but … un-iced cupcakes will keep for several days stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry spot.  Frosted cupcakes will keep for a day or two covered in the refrigerator.  Let them come to room temperature before serving.

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Wattleseed Frangelico Macarons

What is it about Australian native bush foods that makes them so darn exotic?  OK, they’re Australian native bush foods.  That’s exotic enough for most people, especially if you’re not in Australia …  What many people might not know, though, is what an incredible diversity of fabulous indigenous foods we have on our doorstep here.  Check them out.  Do it.  You will be amazed.  You will want to try them.

One of my favourite bush food staples is roasted wattleseed.  It has a warm coffee-like aroma and flavour but then … there’s a hint of nuttiness … hazelnut?  Maybe some subtle overtones of … chocolate?  It’s delightfully complex.   I use it in ice-creams, creams, desserts, cakes, pretty much anything.  So why not macarons?  Indeed.

Wattleseed.  Frangelico.  A match made in heaven.  Quite literally, if the Frangelico dudes have any street cred 😀  It’s exotic and yet so classic and familiar at the same time.  Complex flavour, but a very simple combination.  No weird stuff.  Very Italo-Australian.  Ha!

Rather than adding wattleseed to the filling, I added it to the macaron shells.  I think they look rather cool with the wattleseed specks throughout and it lets you taste the flavours more cleanly.  The filling is a simple ganache with Frangelico liqueur.

Don’t use a chocolate that is too intense for this or it will overpower the Frangelico.  A good quality chocolate with a cacao solids percentage in the sixties would be great.  I like the Michel Cluizel Vila Gracinda or the Valrhona Gran Couva especially as they are both very smooth and seem to match the Frangelico and wattleseed flavours beautifully.  But that’s just me.

The recipe for the macaron shells I’ve given here follows the Italian meringue method.  I use this often, mostly just because I enjoy making Italian meringue.  I’m sure there’s a pill to cure that affliction but frankly, I’m happy to stay afflicted.  I’m a bit of a fan of the old Italian meringue.  I whistle while making it 🙂

Blanching and grinding almonds into a fine meal is fantastic, but if you don’t have either the time or inclination, just buy ground almond meal.  Depending on the degree to which the almond meal is ground, you may need to give it a whirl in a food processor before sifting.  I do this every time, just to make sure that the almond meal is really fine as it gives a better result.

I’m not going to go on about how to make macarons.  There’s already so much written about them.  Honestly, a lot of the beliefs about macaron making are more myth than reality.  In this, I must agree with the very wise, very scientific Stella (aka Brave Tart).  So, for the best, and most entertaining dissertation on macaron making and debunking some of those myths, I’d refer you to Stella’s excellent posts:  Macaron Mythbusters and The Ten Commandments.  You will laugh (a lot) and you will learn (even more).   As a scientist, I can vouch for the integrity of her experimental method!

But for now, I just want you to enjoy this particular macaron 🙂   Macarons are best served at least 24 hours after making them.  After filling, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours.  This will develop both the flavour and the texture so that the shell will be crispy and the inside will be soft.  Delicious … and that’s from someone who prefers making them to eating them.  Scandalous.

Of course, they are both wheat and gluten free.

Yield 30 – 36 macarons (depends on the size)

Macaron Shells
150 grams almond meal
150 grams icing sugar
1 teaspoon roasted wattleseed
55 grams egg white
135 grams sugar
40 grams water
55 grams egg white
pinch of salt

Ganache Filling
200 grams 60% – 64% couverture / dark chocolate
200 grams cream
50 millilitres Frangelico liqueur

For the macaron shells
Preheat the oven to 150°C.  Line 2 – 3 large baking sheets with silpat sheets or baking paper.  Set aside.

Place the almond meal and icing sugar into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture is very fine and silky in texture.  You can test it between two fingers.  I do this before sifting the mixture, but if you prefer, just sift the almond meal and icing sugar together.  Once done, place in a large mixing bowl.  Add the wattleseed and 55 grams of egg white and mix well with a spatula until you obtain a smooth paste.  Set aside.

Place the remaining 55 grams of egg white and salt into the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer and start whisking at low-medium speed.  Place the water into a saucepan and add the sugar.  Dissolve the sugar, in the water, over a low heat.  Bring to the boil and cook until the sugar reaches 115°C.  By this stage the egg whites should have reached a soft peak stage.  Continue whisking at medium speed as you pour the syrup into the egg whites in a thin, steady stream.  Keep whisking until the bowl cools to just warm.  I usually whisk the meringue for about 10 minutes or so and turn up the speed for a minute or two at the end.  The meringue needs to be stiff.  When you lift the whisk, there should be a solid stiff clump on the whisk.  It should be able to look you in the eye without flinching.

Scrape a small amount of the meringue into the bowl with the almond mixture and work it into the mixture to lighten it, using a spatula or pastry scraper.  I prefer the scraper.  Scrape the remaining meringue into the bowl and fold it into the almond mixture, flipping it over on to itself, and turning the bowl with each fold.  Make sure to scrape down the bowl to ensure the mixture is homogenous, and there are no streaks of meringue or almonds.  Continue folding until the macaronage is at the stage where a little mixture, lifted, will fall back into itself slowly (i.e. the magma/lava stage everyone goes on about).

Fit a large piping bag with a plain tip and pipe small mounds onto the baking sheets.  Rap the baking sheets hard onto the bench to expel any air bubbles.  Rap it again, harder, if you’re not sure.   You can pop them straight into the oven or leave until the mixture forms a light crust for about 30 – 60 minutes.  It’s up to you.  Won’t matter either way.  Bake for about 15 – 16 minutes.  Depending on your oven, they may need another minute or so.

Remove the macaron shells from the oven and set aside to cool.  Remove from the baking sheets and pair up shells of the same size.

For the ganache
Chop the chocolate into small, even pieces and place in a heat proof bowl.   Bring the cream to a boil in a heavy-based saucepan and immediately pour over the chocolate.  Leave for about 20-30 seconds then stir until the chocolate is melted and the ganache is smooth.  Gently whisk in the Frangelico liqueur.  To cool the ganache to a piping consistency quickly, pour the ganache onto a silpat sheet on a baking tray, and spread evenly with a spatula or knife.  Cover lightly with cling film, letting the cling film touch the surface of the ganache.  Refrigerate until it thickens and can be piped.  This might take anywhere between 10 – 20 minutes, depending on your fridge.  Fit a large piping bag with a plain tip and fill with the ganache.

Pipe the ganache on to one half of the shells and top with the other half of each pair.  Gently twist the the shells together so that the filling distributes evenly.  Store filled macarons in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours before serving.  Remove from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving, to allow them to come to room temperature.  Enjoy!

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