When it comes to packaged foods/mixes I am a bit of a snob. I think it goes back to when we were kids and Mum and Nan would always say ‘packet mix’ cake/biscuits/meals were never as good as the real thing.
When looking through my sister’s pantry, I came across a ‘packet mix’ for vanilla cupcakes, and to be honest, they looked really good! As she is one of the least domesticated people I know, I offered to make them for her, until I noticed the expiry date was two years ago.
This then inspired me to checkout the packaged goodies at the supermarket earlier this week. It was a strange feeling, I actually felt guilty standing in front of them, and could hear Mum and Nan commenting already!
The ones that caught my eye were by Adriano Zumbo. Like many people, I was introduced to him and his crazy recipes through MasterChef. I can remember watching the contestants attempting to construct his macaron tower and thinking it was an impossible task – especially since I have never made macarons! Spying a box for ‘Salted Caramel Macarons’ I made the decision to take the plunge.
These were SUPER easy! I’d also like to think my years of watching MasterChef have paid off. Whilst the instructions were excellent, I remembered it was important to let them sit before putting into the oven and to not over mix. The template was a great idea, and I was so proud when an army of perfect little domes came out of the oven. He suggest cooking time of 14 – 18 minutes, I found 14 minutes was plenty of time in my oven.
Adriano also says the addition of sea salt to the caramel is optional…. I went for it and am so glad I did. Even Scott my toughest critic was impressed! The mixture made around 22 complete macarons. I would have had a couple more, except a little boy I know stole a couple from the tray whilst I was distracted feeding his brother – when a toddler goes quiet, you just know something bad is going down….. They were so good that I even broke my ‘one piece rule’ and went back for a second!! Now my next challenge will be making them from scratch….