Melting Moments

IMG_3370For the past few days we’ve been basking in real summer warmth. You know the type, when it’s almost too hot to do anything, when the dogs spend their days sprawling in the shade, the most energetic thing they do is to open and close one eye, just in case they should miss something. When the lizards scatter across the terracotta tiled roofs and when the frogs in the pond lay motionless in the sun, so well camouflaged one could almost miss them. The chickens take it in turns to indulge themselves in the dust bath and our newest addition, the ducks, spend every waking hour on the water.

These are the days when meals need to be leisurely and most certainly eaten outdoors in the shade. Fortunately it was Ascension weekend, making it a four day break for many.

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We had the most charmingly delightful guests staying and thoroughly enjoyed being able to take the time to chat to them and share a meal and a few glasses of wine, and of course some eggs and our first salad of the year from the garden!

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Which actually leads me to my post today. We all love to entertain and to share lunch or dinner with friends and family. But to me there is little point in doing this if it becomes incredibly stressful and utterly exhausting. I am always looking for ways to make dining a pleasure for all but at the same time relatively easy and simple, whilst making things as nice as possible. Of course a bbq is a simple choice with plenty of side salads,

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but what about dessert?

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Many people are passionate about the perfect French Macarons, but I do like to make desserts myself, I enjoy pretending to be a pastry chef for an hour but I am hopeless at making macarons. I have tried and failed and tried again, they are never a success, ever! In fact they cannot even be called edible, the taste is fine but the mixture never sets. So I have graciously admitted defeat. Instead I now make a Kiwi classic, learnt from our time spent in New Zealand. The utterly delightful Melting Moment.

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They are light and buttery and so simple to make and they have the flavour of a super light, melt in the mouth, crumbly shortbread with a flavoured buttercream layer in between.

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Quite often recipes for these suggest a lemon icing. I have used orange and it was delicious. I’ve even added a little orange zest or lemon zest to the biscuit batter to mix things up a little and with great success I might add.  There are numerous variations, the list is endless, as long as your imagination really. However, for lunch this week I chose what I consider three of the classics. Vanilla cream, a rich chocolate cream and a strawberry cream.

This recipe makes 15 biscuits. Remember each biscuit is made up of two sandwiched together so this is 30 individual biscuits.

Ingredients

for the Biscuits

  • 275 grams butter, softened
  • ½ cup icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • ½ cup cornflour

for a Basic Buttercream Icing

  • 1 Cup Icing Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 60g softened butter

Now this is where you can make things just as you want them and experiment a little.

For the basic buttercream, mix all the ingredients together and mix thoroughly until you have a really smooth cream.

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For the Rich Chocolate Buttercream I added a heaped tablespoon of cocoa powder to the above recipe and a teaspoon of boiling water.

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For the Strawberry Buttercream I blended a handful (4 or 5) strawberries in the small bowl of the food processor and added these to the mixture, stirring well until well blended.

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Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 160C/320F
  • Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.
  • Beat the butter, icing sugar and vanilla essence together in a mixer for 3 to 4 minutes until light and creamy. This part is absolutely vital for the success and light texture of these biscuits.
  • Combine the flour and cornflour and mix gently into the butter cream mixture. Do not over mix at this stage.
  • Place a small amount, about the size of a walnut, spaced apart on the baking trays.
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  • Use a fork dipped in a little flour each time to flatten them a little.
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  • Bake for 12-14 minutes until the biscuits are firm. They should remain pale in colour.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

Now you can fill these with your choice of filling. I use a small sized palette knife and spread  a good sized portion on to the underside of one biscuit. Sandwich this together with the second biscuit on top.

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These will keep for two or three days in an airtight container.

They may not be French Macarons, but I promise you they are a pretty good compromise. In fact I have served these to French friends, admitting my failing at their French delicacy and they have devoured these with much relish, so they must be half ok!

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26 thoughts on “Melting Moments

  • I will definitely try your recipe – thank you for it! Is your cup measurement the American 8 oz cup? Your weather sounds heavenly! In Orkney today we have had mainly fog and rain.
    Not very energising.

  • OH, YUM!! I have never heard of these but they sound so delicious!! I love to end a meal with something sweet and have decided that life is too short not to make this part of my every day routine so am always looking for something delicious but easy. My “go to” is berries or pineapple dipped in dark chocolate. Did you know BOTH ARE HEALTH FOODS!! 🙂 But, what a lovely alternative to try!! Thank you so much for sharing!

  • I completely agree that having friends for dinner isn’t fun if it’s too much work, especially if it’s hot and summertime. 🙂 Having a set of easy but delicious recipes is what’s called for. As for macarons, I must admit that even though I part time in a patisserie where people come in for macarons all time, I don’t really care for them that much. Too sweet. I might give these a try, though. My signature dessert is blueberry crisp which is also good because it can be made year-round as you can use fresh or frozen berries. It’s also good cold, although it’s rare that any survives that long. 🙂

    Our spring hasn’t been too warm and it’s been very, very rainy. We’re actually on our second day of sunshine, a rarity these days. Hard on the farmers!!

    janet

  • Oh darling Susan! I never stress over desserts. I don’t make them! Either I let my guests turn up with something or I cut up a watermelon in chunks, or put a bowl with strawberries and hand out fromage blanc/Greek yoghurt/something else, put a mix of brown sugar & cinnamon next to it, or I buy (if I’m very lucky) a panettone, I love to make a fresh fruit salad or even a fruit tart (gâteau aux whatever grows in the garden, is available on the market) but I never, ever tempt my happiness to grow sour over baking something I can’t/won’t do with great joy.
    And in the last few days where I was alone at my lovely home, I lived of salads, tuna, said strawberries, melon with dry cured ham, a glass of red and espresso, I had my wonderful breakfasts with the occasional 3’50” organic egg, confiture of a quality only the French manage to make so brilliantly – and tomorrow I’ve planned to stir fry 3 pock choi with spring onions and a drop or 4 of virgin olive oil and sea salt – that will be awesome!
    Thank you for this post – made me realise that I could eat a little bit something before going to bed – I made (to take along) an apricot/rhubarbe tart (the latter from my garden, but they are stringy and fine, not fleshy and heavy – not enough water obviously!) puff pastry (bio, shop bought) to great acclaim, ate a pound of straws with a fromage blanc, made a large bowl of organic tomatoes with Swiss Bio Basil & spring onions for 2 days – and I’m a happy girl right now…. Maybe a tartine with lovely butter and a cup of tea after all that cold stuff I drank!?

  • As a Kiwi, yes melting moments are defiinately one of our faves. Try them with passion fruit in the icing. Yum

  • Melting Moments look and sound delicious and easy to prepare ahead of time – perhaps even frozen! I do like making desserts for guests. Enjoy these summer days.

  • Well hey – I guess you knew that my eyes would light up at the mention of Melting Moments! Definitely a favourite, and I remember Mum and even my Grandma making them. Lovely, as always, to read of your ‘doings’, and of the warm weather. I leave for France at the end of the month and can’t wait!

  • Sounds wonderful and I’m ready to make them but have a couple of questions.
    I’m in the US and don’t know what corn flour is?
    Also is vanilla essence the same as vanilla flavoring?

  • The desserts look delicious. I have a recipe folder of summer dishes I make at our vacation house. We always walk to the Sweet Shop for ice cream afterwards, so there is no need to make dessert.

  • With 10 years in NZ and 10 yrs in Aus, I am well versed in the delights of ‘Melting Moments’…yummmmmm!!! They really are so easy-peasy to make. You’ve just taken me back ‘home’ for a brief moment, and of course, I need to make some now!

  • What a delightful 2 wks. we had at your Gite! What an inspiration your entire family was to us—-we are eager already to come again! Thank you so very, very much for the warmest of hospitality. Thank you to Roddy for his constant care for us! . We were surprised at the beauty of rural France. . . we so much enjoyed every single minute inspite of not the best of weather. The warm oven in the Gite—yes, that made all the difference, along w/your warm hospitality. You are both so gifted in compassion & care. We feel you are a family that we would love to keep in contact w/& hopefully return! Love to each of you.

  • How I love macarons but have stopped making and eating them since my husband has diabetes. I used to make melting moments a lot years ago but somehow forgot how good they are so thank you for the reminder. Yours look delicious Will definitely be baking a batch😊

  • Thank you for sharing those receipes, will have to give them a try. As for macarons, it took me 17 trys over one weekend a few years back to make a set that was edible and actually looked like a traditional macaron. I have never looked backed, but admit, it is a lot of work and takes some advance planning (I age my egg white for 5 days in the fridge!).

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