Usually I’ll be slouching in bed and suddenly have an idea of what I want to talk to you guys about. But this time. Nothing, nada, nichts. So do I just write about something boring and uninspiring or do I just tell you the truth? I’m stuck. Feeling like a rubber Wellington boot in mud, truly and inevitably stuck. I keep trying to pull myself out of that stiff mud but I can’t.
It’s not that I don’t think that these meringue cookies are delicious, because they are. They’re beautifully silky with a surprisingly mallow centre. Chunks of chocolate pop through the slithers of toasty almonds. Light as a feather but they still have some substance to them.
But I don’t just want to write about the food. I want my blog to be more than that. Similar to these cookies I suppose; I want it to look pretty on the outside but have substance at its core. I don’t want the writing to be too deep or serious; but more light-hearted, happy and funny. Just like these Almond Rochers, fluffy and fun to play with… but still good writing. Am I even making sense? See! I can’t even explain things anymore.
Not all things go your way though. Us bakers should know that best of all; just think about all the burnt cakes and lumpy custards. Life throws plot twists all the time. All you can do is yell a bit, eat a doughnut and try again. Ingredients – Recipe adapted from the Tartine Patisserie Book – Makes 30 cookies Note: Rocher means ‘boulder’ in french!
- 4 large egg whites
- 230g icing sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 70g sliced/flaked almonds
- 130g dark chocolate chips
Method Note: If you make ice creams a lot, or anything that uses a lot of egg yolks, and you have egg whites left over; freeze them in plastic tubs. This way you can keep them for recipes like this one, that require lots of whites. Leave to defrost in the fridge overnight. One large egg white weighs 30g, this way you can weigh out however many you need from the freezer. Pre-heat your oven to 175 degrees C. Prepare two baking trays lined with baking paper ready for later. Place the almonds on a baking tray and roast for 8 minutes until golden brown. Set aside to cool. Once cool, break up with your fingers so that most of the almond slithers are in half. Leave aside until needed. Take your chocolate chips and place onto a chopping board. Roughly chop the chocolate until the chunks are a bit smaller; at least in half. Place with the almond slithers for later. Place the egg whites, icing sugar and salt in a large bowl over a pan of simmering water. Make sure the water isn’t touching the bottom of the mixing bowl. Whisk the egg mix over the steaming pan for about 5 minutes until hot (120 degrees F.) Pour the egg mix into the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk on high until glossy. The meringue should be able to hold its shape. You can also do this with an electric hand whisk. Fold in the almonds, chocolate and vanilla with a spatula. Taking two small spoons, place small mounds of the mix onto the trays about 1 inch apart. Place in the oven (still at 175 degrees F) and bake for 15 minutes with the oven door agar. I used a wooden spoon to do this just make sure the end doesn’t get burnt! By keeping the door agar, it lets out any moisture from the oven. Place on a cooling rack until cool. Keep for up to 1 week in an airtight container.