Rose & Vanilla Macarons

Rose-and-Vanilla-Macarons-Claireabellemakes-Self-Packaging

This post has been sponsored by SelfPackaging.

 

It’s been a while since my last baking post so today I wanted to share twist on my original macaron recipe with the help of the guys at SelfPackaging. Keep reading for a Rose and Vanilla Macaron recipe and to see some super cute packaging ideas. These macarons make great thank you gifts or wedding favours and with a bit of practice, they are not too difficult to make, I promise!

Ingredients (makes 16):

  • 75g Ground Almonds
  • 115g Icing Sugar
  • 2 x Egg White (aged are best)
  • 50g Caster Sugar
  • 3 tbsp Vanilla Bean Paste
  • 1/4 tsp rose water
  • Pink food colouring
  • Vanilla icing – I used this ready made one
  • Baking sheet
Vanilla-Bean-Paste

Begin by sifting the ground almonds and icing sugar into a bowl. I whizzed them in the food processor to get a fine mix.

Whisk the egg whites until holding soft peaks. Some argue that aged egg whites are not necessary, but I find that it does make a difference to the texture of the macaron and the feet. (You should aim to separate the egg whites and store in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 days before baking.)

Gradually add the caster sugar, vanilla paste and rose water continuing to whisk until the meringue is glossy and stiff.

The next step is to fold in the almond and icing sugar mixture in 3 portions until throughly blended. Cut and fold until the consistency is shiny and thick. At this point you can also add a small amount of food colouring and fold in.

Making-Macarons

Pipe onto your baking sheet in 32 rounds using a plain nozzle (these will be sandwiched to make 16 total).

I use a nifty silicone mat with baking paper on so I have a guide when piping. I’d highly recommend them (this one is from Squires Kitchen).

Piping-Macarons

The next step is important as it ensures the macarons are even and without air bubbles. Tap the baking tray firmly onto your work surface a couple of times.

The macarons must now be left to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature. This will allow them to form a ‘shell’.

Preheat your oven to 160 degrees Celsius (325 Fahrenheit / Gas Mark 3).  I baked my macarons for 6 minutes in a fan oven. Leave the macarons to cool for 10 minutes before peeling off the baking tray.

Assemble the macarons by sandwiching each one with the vanilla buttercream.

Rose-and-Vanilla-Macarons Next up, it’s time to box up your macarons! SelfPackaging have some great single macaron boxes that are easy to assemble and come flat packed for delivery.
Self-Packaging-Macaron Boxes The food protection sleeve keeps the macarons in place for gifting and they are easy to fold and secure with the tab, just as the box sleeve does too. Macaron-Boxes-Self-Packaging The ribbon and tags were a great excuse to practice my brush lettering to give the boxes a final finish. Rose-and-Vanilla-Macaron Now I’m going to confess that macarons never last long in my house! However, they usually have a shelf life of 2-3 days if you store the individual boxes in an air tight container. Self-Packaging-Macaron Boxes-ClaireabellemakesNow, who is ready for a macaron party?!
Macaron-Recipe-ClaireabellemakesA big thanks to SelfPackaging for sponsoring today’s post and keeping the blog side of my business going. I loved having an excuse to bake and share their boxes – now I’m thinking about all the handmade gifts I want to make so I can try out the rest of what they have on offer. Be sure to check them out and let me know if you have any ideas on what I can make next!

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Toffee Apple Upside Down Cake: #PinkLadyPassItOn

Claireabellemakes-Pink Lady Toffee Apple Upside Down Cake

It’s been a long time since I shared any baking posts here on Claireabellemakes, but this weekend I had the chance to try something new for the Pink Lady ® Pass It On campaign!

The idea behind the campaign was to encourage four bloggers to pass on their skills to another and take time for ourselves. Each blogger is from a different niche (crafts, illustration, beauty and food) which has been fantastic for discovering new people to follow!

So, why the Toffee Apple Upside Down Cake? My parcel was put together by the lovely Laura from Wholeheartedly Healthy who writes a beautiful food blog with a ton of nutritious recipes. We had to include apples in our projects for one another and as Pink Lady ® are actually the only apples I like the flavour of, I was excited to bake with them.

Toffee-Apple-Upside-Down-Cake

Laura’s recipe was pretty simple and doesn’t require any fancy mixers or equipment. Hurrah! I love a cake that just needs a wooden spoon and a bowl.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Pink Lady ® apples
  • 25g butter (or margarine)
  • 85g soft brown sugar
  • 180g plain wholemeal flour
  • 110g soft brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 80ml sunflower oil
  • 180ml water
  • 1tsp vinegar

Pink-Lady-Apples

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 180c and grease and line a large baking dish
  • Grate 2 of the apples and set aside
  • Melt together the butter/margarine and 80g of sugar in a pan over a low heat

Toffee-Apple-Upside-Down-Cake-Recipe

  • Pour the melted mixture into the baking dish and top with slices of apple from the remaining apples

Apple-Cake-With-Pink-Lady-Apples

  • Combine the remaining sugar, flour, cinnamon and bicarb in large bowl
  • In a separate bowl combine the water, oil vinegar and grated apple

Baking-with-Pink-Lady-apples

  • Mix the wet ingredients into the dry, quickly and throroughly
  • Pour the cake mixture on top of the caramel and sliced apples
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool for 5 minutes before turning out upside down!

Toffee-Apple-Upside-Down-Cake-with-Pink-Lady

My oven runs pretty hot, so I baked my cake for around 20-25 minutes. The consistency was lovely and sticky and the caramel topping felt like a real treat!

Even though I have a Kitchen Aid mixer, I haven’t been baking as much as I used to, especially as I’ve been trying to watch my weight and eat a bit cleaner. The wholemeal flour and apples make this recipe feel less naughty and the crisp flavour of the Pink Ladies still comes through.

Finished-Toffee-Apple-Upside-Down-CakeOne of the things I loved about this was that it was an upside down cake. I can’t remember making one before, so it was quite the novelty waiting to see how it would turn out! You could also change the way the apples are sliced to make the top look a bit different. Pink-Lady-Pass-It-On-CampaignObviously I had to taste test my creation and it was thoroughly enjoyable! A nice moist treat that feels like a dessert rather than a sponge cake. I reckon it would be nice served warm with a bit of ice cream on the side for a real treat. Pink-Lady-Apples-Pass-It-On

A big thanks to Laura for sending such a great parcel! It felt a bit like Christmas as the contents were a complete surprise.

I had an absolute ball making my parcel for Sarah from the Temporary: Secretary blog. I got to make a kit to share one of my favourite DIYs and did some hand lettering for the instructions and labeling. Packaging is one of my favourite things – so I went to town on making her parcel as pretty as I could. Check out Sarah’s blog  post to see what she ended up making.

I hope you enjoyed a little change from the norm here today! Let me know if you end up trying the recipe and what you think of my attempt. It’s definitely made me think about doing more recipe posts here on the blog again. Would you like to see that?

And don’t forget to check out #PinkLadyPassItOn to see everyone’s parcels and creations!

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This post was sponsored by Pink Lady ®.

Christmas Teas From Bluebird Tea Co

Sometimes I’m a real cliche when it comes to being a crafter. I do my knitting on the train, I hoard posh wool I can’t bear to use and I drink tea when I’m making stuff. I used to be a big coffee fan until I discovered flavoured teas a few years back and I’ve been hooked ever since.

Pumpkin-Pie-Spice-Tea

Pumpkin Pie Spice Tea from Bluebird Tea Co

G and I went to Brighton around this time last year (see my post about it here) and whilst there, we visited Bluebird Tea Company. It was a teeny little shop with a huge amount of loose tea to choose from. I tried their festive and Christmas teas and I’m pleased to see they are back in abundance this year! They even have tea hampers and tea baubles for your tree which is genius. Christmas-Tea-Selection

I have a ritual in the afternoons where I make a pot of loose leaf tea for one. Or if I just want a cup, an infuser is perfect.
Tea-InfuserAs a teetotaler, I always feel I am missing out on festive drinks, so this mulled wine tea fills that gap for me! Orange, clove and cinnamon give it a distinctly Christmas feel and if you want to make it boozy, you can chuck it on the stove with some red wine.  Quite a few of their teas are available as ‘cocktail kits’ too. Mulled-Wine-Flavour-Tea

The guys at Bluebird have been getting creative too. Their new screen printed tote bags are only a fiver. I am trying hard to remember a reusable bag when shopping now, but I do forget at least once a week!Bluebird-Tea-Company-Tote-BagIs it weird that I really enjoyed taking pictures of tea for this post? There’s something about loose tea and all the different textures and ingredients that make it interesting to look at. Especially as the pumpkin spice one had little pumpkin sprinkles in!

By the way, I’m at Renegade market today doing some Christmas craft shopping, so expect a haul post very soon!

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*Bluebird sent me the tea for review purposes. As always opinions are my own. Read more about my disclosure policy here.

Spring Flower Biscuit Recipe

Spring-Flower-Biscuits-ClaireabellemakesToday I’ve teamed up with the lovely guys at Cake Decorating Store to bring you a recipe. It’s been ages since I had time to bake, so I was really grateful when they sent me some products that were new to me, to share with you here on the blog.

These candy melts are so easy to use and perfect if you’re not up for making your own icing. You can use them for cake pops and lollipops too and they just need melting in the microwave before using.

Cake-Decorating-Store

The flower blossom shaped cutters were perfect to make some spring biscuits and I had a lot of fun decorating with sprinkles and flower candies.

Flower-Biscuit-RecipeHere’s the recipe for these decorated vanilla sugar cookies (makes 16):

  • 100g softened unsalted butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 medium egg
  • 225g plain flour

1) Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius or 160 degrees for fan. Line a tray with parchment paper.

2) Beat the butter and sugar together until soft and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and slowly add the egg with one tablespoon of flour. Add remaining flour and beat again until the mixture forms a dough.

3) Bring the mixture together with your hands and wrap in parchment paper. Chill in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour.

4) Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until it is 0.5cm thick. Using a cookie cutter, cut out your flower shapes and bake on the tray for 10-12 minutes until slightly golden.

5) Cool the biscuits on a wire wrack and decorate using the candy melts or ready to roll icing.

Vanilla-Sugar-Cookies-Recipe-Claireabellemakes

I hope you enjoyed this recipe today and please do check out the Cake Decorating Store if you enjoy baking. They have so many products on offer I could spend all day browsing!

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*Ingredients and supplies for this recipe were provided by Cake Decorating Store for review purposes. All opinions are my own. Read more about my disclosure policy here.

DIY Chalkboard Tea Tins

DIY-Chalkboard-Tea-Tins-By-Claireabellemakes

Today I’m teaming up with Space Station who have challenged me to find a storage solution for my home. I had a cupboard full of tea which was super unorganised, so I’m sharing a DIY for these Chalkboard Tea Tins!

This is a loose tea storage idea, but it could easily be used for tea bags too.

Loose-Tea-Storage-Ideas

Supplies needed:

DIY-Tea-Tins-Supplies-Claireabellemakes

I also had a plastic tray which I wanted to place the tea tins on, but I really didn’t like the design of it, so it got some copper spray paint love!

Copper-Tray-Upcycle-Claireabellemakes

Kilner jar lids usually come in two parts, so begin by separating the disk section and spraying with a coat of primer. This will enable the chalkboard paint to stick. Leave to dry.

Mason-Jar-Tea-Storage-DIY-Claireabellemakes

Then paint the lids with the chalkboard paint, I did 2 coats. You can also get chalkboard spray paint if you aren’t keen on using a paintbrush.

Chalkboard-Tea-Tin-DIY-ClaireabellemakesOnce the lids are dry, reassemble and fill your jars with the loose leaf tea. Most of my teas are from Jenier Teas and Bluebird Tea Co in Brighton (they also have an online store).

Tea-Storage-Ideas-Claireabellemakes

Using a white paint marker, I added the tea names to the lids. You could use chalk too, but I wanted more permanent labels. By the time I had prepared the tea jars, my copper tray was all dry.

Chalkboard-Mason-Jar-For-Tea-Claireabellemakes

I think it looks really nice to have my tea organised in this way. It is going to be so handy when guests visit and I don’t have to deal with all the packets falling out of the cupboard!

DIY-Blackboard-Tea-Tin-Claireabellemakes

My favourite teas at the moment are Rhubarb and Custard and Birthday Cake, which is a vanilla rooibos with sprinkles in it! I don’t drink black tea that often as I am caffeine free 99% of the time.

Loose-Leaf-Tea-Collection-Claireabellemakes

Now, who wants a cuppa?

Chalkboard-Tea-Jars-Claireabellemakes

Thanks for letting me share my tea storage DIY today!

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*Space Station kindly reimbursed me for the supplies used in this project.
*Some pages on this site may contain links to outside sites, including paid affiliates. Read more about my disclosure policy here.