Baking with ProCook – Chocolate and Coconut Macaroons with a twist

Chocolate and Coconut Macaroons
Chocolate and Coconut Macaroons

A couple of weeks ago I posted my first in a series of posts titled “Baking with ProCook”, we had this great plan to bake everyday so we can test all 6 silicone moulds and tell you about them… and as the saying goes about the best laid plans of mice and men that is to say this plan didn’t work out for us so well… a general lack of time, life getting in a way and to be totally honest just a small touch of pure laziness (I blame the weather it does not inspire one to greatness) stopped us from sticking to our plan… but nothing is lost, we will still do it, just slower than we planned when we set out…

Our new ProCook silicone 12 cup bunsheet came with a mint chocolate cupcake recipe attached to it. We said that we will try all the recipes from the packaging but to be honest we are just not very big cupcake fans – muffins, oh yes please, but cupcakes…

This is a full recipe from the packaging In case you are a cupcake fan and would like to try it Mint Chocolate Cupcakes
This is a full recipe from the packaging
In case you are a cupcake fan and would like to try it
Mint Chocolate Cupcakes

So when wondering what to bake in it, we came up with an idea… a remake with a twist on an already published recipe – our chocolate macaroons. However don’t panic this is not a rehash of an old post, well not completely anyways. This time they are Chocolate and Coconut Macaroons baked in cupcake forms, which means that they are much thicker and taste totally different… they are more like a small cake than a typical cookie (if that makes any sense)

There are 3 main changes when comparing it to our original recipe:

  1. Reduced volume of almonds  and the addition of the coconut
  2. Baking mould instead of flat baking tray / sheet
  3. The inclusion of double cream

The cream Mark came up with to avoid the issue that arose in the original recipe. When you add the melted chocolate to the dry ingredients, the shock of hitting the cold ingredients made the chocolate almost immediately set, this made combining the ingredients evenly almost impossible. It did work up to a point but the end product lacked consistency as some macaroons where far more chocolaty than others. The addition of the cream removes this problem completely.

So what do you need to make them?

  • 130g plain dark chocolate (or milk chocolate if you prefer)
  • 50ml of double cream
  • 200g ground almonds
  • 100g desiccated coconut
  • 130g caster sugar
  • 1/4tsp almond essence
  • 2tbps Drinking chocolate (use cocoa powder if you used milk chocolate)
  • 3 medium egg whites
  • Icing sugar for dusting

So how did we do it?

Preheat your oven to 180C.

Boil a kettle and fill a mug up with the hot water and pop a fork into it to warm up.

Prepare your 12 cup bunsheet – we used a silicone one and greased it slightly as per the directions for first time use.

Break up the bar of chocolate into the smallest pieces your finger strength will allow and put into a heatproof bowl over a pan with hot water, now add the cream and the almond essence. Stir gently and melt the chocolate, yes I know it takes an age but stir until smooth, then let it cool slightly whilst you get on with the next phase.

Place the ground almond and desiccated coconut in a large mixing bowl and add the sugar, drinking chocolate (or cocoa powder) and stir to combine. You will be done when the mixture looks like breadcrumbs and the colours are evenly distributed, and of course no lumps.

Whisk the 3 egg whites in a food mixer until stiff peaks form

Add the egg white foam to your bowl of dry ingredients and mix gently with a large metal spoon. Use the motion of around the edge and over the top till almost combined.

Pour in your chocolate mixture and mix gentle now till combined

Use two spoons to fill your bunsheet moulds, one to do the scooping and one to help ease your gooey goodness off the first spoon and into the moulds. Now grab that hot fork from the mug of hot water, the one you were wondering “what’s that for?”, and press each top down slightly to make ridges.

If you have too much mixture for your bunsheet you could always invest in a second one, as we are now going to do, because yes there is always some mixture left over. Until that second bunsheet arrives however you can always line a flat baking tray with some baking paper and scoop dollops of your left over mixture onto it, spacing them out evenly to aid the cooking. Don’t forget to squash them down a bit though to make the ridges.

Left: baked in a silicone bun sheet Right: baked on the flat sheet
Left: baked in a silicone bun sheet
Right: baked on the flat sheet

Sprinkle a good dusting of caster sugar over the top of each one, this will caramelise in the oven and help make a crunchy top.

Nothing else to do so off to the oven they go for around 12-15 minutes depending on the enthusiasm of your cooker. Test them by poking one gently with your finger, if the top is set and dry to the touch, take them out, don’t worry that they may feel squidgy and not firm in the middle, they are meant to be like that and they will set as they cool. So in conclusion be very careful not to leave them for two long or you will lose the magic of the gooey chewy yummy middle bit that makes macaroons so special

Once you have removed them from the oven let them cool for a couple of minutes and then turn them out onto a wire cooling rack.

Time to cool down
Time to cool down

Enjoy with a nice latté as we tend to do or maybe a more traditional cup of your favourite tea if that’s more to your taste…and reach a state of Zen tranquillity replete with lots of “mmmmmm’s”  and thus inevitably prepare yourself to make them quite often.

All packed up for storage, ready for later...
All packed up for storage, ready for later…
Link up your recipe of the week

Baking with ProCook – Date and Walnut Loaf

Date and Walnut Loaf
Date and Walnut Loaf

We are in the process of testing the full silicone baking range from ProCook – all 6 pieces of it… At first we thought that we will make something we normally bake, you know one of our favourite recipes, but once the bakeware arrived we noticed that on the external packaging with every mould there was a recipe on the back, a suggested use of the mould… so we decided that it would be good to try and re-create them.

Today is day one of our adventure with ProCook and so we created a Date and Walnut Loaf following the easy steps as provided on the back of the packaging.

Date and Walnut Loaf Recipe - really easy to follow
Date and Walnut Loaf Recipe – really easy to follow

I will write below all the ingredients and steps as seen in the pictures, just in case you want to make it yourself, so it is easier to copy/paste.

That's all you need...
That’s all you need…
... and now in correct measurements...
… and now in the correct measurements…

Ingredients:

  • 100g chopped dates
  • 100g chopped walnuts
  • 175g plain flour
  • 175g butter
  • 175g light soft brown sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 25g whole walnuts to decorate

Method:

Ready for action!
Ready for action!

Lightly grease the silicon loaf mould; we had to do this as recommended for the initial use.

Soaking time...
Soaking time…

Place chopped dates in heat proof bowl and add 4 tbsp of boiling water and set aside for 10 minutes.

Mixing steps
Mixing steps

Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.

Sift the flour and add beaten eggs and mix well.

Now drain the dates and add to the mixture with the chopped walnuts, and stir to combine.

Finishing touches
Finishing touches

Turn the mixture into a loaf mould.

Arrange walnut pieces on top and bake in an oven at 170C / 325F / Gas 3 for about 50 minutes.

Ready when inserted skewer comes out clean.

Time to cool down!
Time to cool down!

Turn out and cool on a wire rack.

Cut to desired slices and enjoy!

Yummy
Yummy

This was first time we have baked a loaf like this, of course we have had a Date and Walnut cake, it is after all a popular cake, but this is the first attempt at creating one.

The task complete we are left with the impression that it must rank as one of the easiest cakes to make in the world, 15 minutes from initial thought to popping it in the oven. OK that may be extended if like us you own a tired old cooker that wheezes and puffs it way to temperatureJ.

For the hour of cooking, our cake took a little longer than the stated 50 minutes, the kitchen was filled with a wonderful aroma and we were positively salivating to try out the cake. Patience is a virtue often in short supply and this was one of those times…

Once cooked we let it cool for half an hour in the mould before trying to remove it, and what a pleasant surprise, it just fell out there was no need for cutting around the cake to help ease it out like in a traditional tin.

Then comes the part we all love and enjoy, no not the eating… patience remember, I am talking about the washing up! Even this is not a problem for they are dishwasher safe and come up a treat. One thing that you will need to do, or at least we do maybe it’s because of our dishwasher, but when you come to unload the dishwasher the moulds will still be wet so you need to air dry them on a draining board before storing, not bad as problems go hey. For those readers not blessed with the joy of a dishwasher rest assured the silicone moulds are very easy to clean; which is handy as you are not meant to use any scrubbing brushes on them or you will ruin them.

So in conclusion our feelings after day one of six are that the moulds do the job admirably, easy to work with and easy to clean. If you are a traditionalist and only cook in tins then our experience today would make us urge you to try this new fangled modern cooking utensil, you will enjoy the benefits brought from the new materials.