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Roasted Tomato Mozzarella Bites

Each time I make these Roasted Tomato Mozzarella Bites, they disappear so fast I can never take any photos.  Believe me, when you make them yourself, you’ll know exactly what I mean.

The beauty about these nibbles is the roasted tomatoes. I know; slicing up fresh tomatoes, plopping on some fresh mozzarella and basil, dribbled with some olive oil and sea salt and it’s done, right? OK. Yes, I hear you.  But we don’t always get the greatest of tomatoes ALL the time.

There’s nothing to beat homegrown but when we can’t grow our own tomatoes and we’re left with slightly tasteless ones when they’re out of season or a bit tired at the supermarket, then this is the answer. Roasting the tomatoes for a few minutes first makes all the difference.

Roasted Tomato Mozzarella Bites

Roasted Tomato Mozzarella Bites

Quick Roasting Tomatoes Concentrates Flavour

The concentrated tomato flavour by quick-roasting in the oven means that there’s no need for any fancy extra ingredients.  Keep it simple. I use the longer tomatoes, as they give off less juice and so ideal for roasting quickly (e.g. Torino, Roma).

Torino Tomatoes at the French market

You’ll just need good quality fresh mozzarella (bufala even better): either balls or chopped into little bite-sized pieces.  Top each tomato slice along with a bit of fresh basil, salt and olive oil – if you really need to. To top it, here’s my Italian-blooded friend, Christina Conte, talking about the reasons to hold back on balsamic etc. on Caprese salads!

The flavour ends up being so full of blissful tomato, that you’ll just want to eat it as is. Don’t believe me? Just try it!

As I watched our cherry tomato plant just roast in the soaring temperatures this week to over 40°C, I could have probably done this recipe just by picking them directly off the plant and forgetting about the oven! Speaking of which, have you tried these salted toffee cherry tomatoes?

Luckily for us, our mini dwarf basil plant hasn’t grilled completely in this Parisian heatwave. To top it, we’ve got some pretty little basil flowers that are totally edible too. If you’re one of these people who puts the flowers to the side of the plate or picks them off, please don’t. The herb flowers pack a punch with a concentrated basil that explodes on the palette!

Roasted Tomato Mozzarella Bites

Bland Tomatoes? Roast them!

Great party food, excellent served with drinks at any time of year.  By roasting the tomatoes, the flavour is concentrated and so even the blandest of tomatoes can be livened up for a party – although the better the tomatoes, the more your toes will curl with the pure and simple taste. Cheers!

Roasted Tomato Mozzarella Bites

5 from 7 votes
Roasted tomato mozzarella bites
Roasted Tomato Mozzarella Bites
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Cooling Time
15 mins
Total Time
50 mins
 

Easy Caprese tomato mozzarella & basil bites are concentrated in flavour with roasted tomatoes, making them great party food and full of flavour at any time of year.

Course: Appetizer, Drinks, Side Dish, Snack, Starter
Cuisine: Italian, Mediterranean
Keyword: appetizers, party food, tomato mozzarella
Servings: 10 people
Calories: 94 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 5 Tomatoes (organic) (I use Roma, long tomatoes)
  • 1 tsp fleur de sel sea salt
  • pepper, to taste (optional)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • 300 g (11oz) fresh mozzarella balls (if small, one per tomato slice, otherwise cut in half)
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil leaves to top each tomato
Instructions
  1. Slice the tomatoes not too thinly (about 1.5cm) so that they'll roast and not burn (they should be still wet when done). Place slices on baking parchment on a baking tray. Roast in the oven at 170°C/150°C fan/340°F/Gas 3 for about 20 minutes until roasted but not brown.

  2. Leave to cool on the baking tray. Meanwhile, place the mozzarella balls in a bowl with the olive oil, sea salt and pepper, if using.

  3. Place the basil then mozzarella balls on each tomato slice and using a tooth pick, lift off each tomato slice, skewering the pick into the tomato and mozzarella and transfer to a serving plate. If there are leftover tomato slices, place one on top to make a sandwich.

Recipe Notes

Excellent with a glass of chilled white, rosé or red wine or try a French Kir Royal for something different.

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

 

Béarnaise Sauce – Recipe & Origins Near Paris

How many times have you seen the French classic Béarnaise Sauce on a menu and thought it was perhaps too difficult to make? Well, let me show you how easy it is to whip up the real McCoy at home. It also tastes 100 times better than the jarred stuff in supermarkets!

Moreover, did you know that there’s at least another herb in it, apart from tarragon? Read on from the birthplace of the Sauce Béarnaise itself in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, just outside Paris and discover the “simple Béarn-ecessities of life” (groan!).

Sauce Béarnaise

Difference Between Hollandaise & Béarnaise Sauce

In the 1800s, Chef Antonin Carême noted that in French cuisine, there were four basic sauces – each called a “Mother Sauce”. Later, Auguste Escoffier took Câreme’s rules of Haute Cuisine a step further by adding a basic fifth sauce, the Hollandaise sauce, an emulsion of egg yolks, white vinegar and wine (or lemon juice) plus melted butter.

The Hollandaise’s most famous offspring, the Béarnaise sauce, has the fragrant addition of shallots, tarragon and chervil – yet had nothing much to do with the French Province of Béarn. The Béarnaise Sauce was born in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, just west of Paris.

Béarnaise Sauce

The Origins of Béarnaise Sauce, near Paris

It took place at Le Pavillon Henri IV, a hotel in Saint-Germain-en-Laye which was built over the original spot of the Château Neuf, where Louis XIV was born in 1638 – for more on this part, see my post here.

In the 1830’s, Head Chef Jean-Louis Françoise-Collinet experimented with a shallot reduction then, taking the basic recipe for Sauce Hollandaise, replaced the lemon juice with white wine vinegar, shallots, chervil and tarragon and the Sauce Béarnaise was born. It’s the tarragon and white wine vinegar that makes that fragrantly addictive acidity that we associate with the star of sauces with serious steaks.

Why did Collinet call it Béarnaise? Inspired by the name of the hotel, Henri IV, it was the King’s previous home at the Château Neuf before it was a restaurant and he came from the province of Béarn. Shortly after, the chef also accidentally invented the soufflée potato and served both of his creations at the opening of the hotel in 1836.

Béarnaise sauce

Le Pavillon Henri IV, SaintGermain-en-Laye, the birthplace of Béarnaise Sauce

Béarnaise Sauce – Tarragon, Chervil and Parsley

Today, the hotel’s chef, Patrick Käppler, has posted the Béarnaise Sauce recipe in French, published by the Hotel Pavillon Henri IV here, without the actual quantities. As you can see, to continue the sauce’s tradition, he doesn’t just use the classic tarragon (estragon) – but also chervil (cerfeuil), another essential ingredient, and parsley (persil) too.

Following my challenge from L’Office de Tourisme in les Yvelines, this Béarnaise Sauce recipe was also cited by the novelist, Alexandre Dumas.  More known for his Three Muskateers and The Count of Monte Cristo, as a serious gourmet and cook, he also published his Grand Culinary Dictionary (only in French).  He cites using a good vinegar from Orléans, uses oil instead of butter and parsley or tarragon:

Alexandre Dumas: Le Grand Dictionnaire de Cuisine (1873), under “Sauce”,

Sauce échalote à la béarnaise.
Mettez dans une petite casserole deux cuillerées à bouche d’échalote hachée et quatre cuillerées de bon vinaigre d’Orléans ; la poser sur le feu et cuire les échalotes jusqu’à ce que le vinaigre soit réduit de moitié ; retirez alors la casserole, et quand l’appareil est à peu près refroidi, mêlez-lui quatorze jaunes d’oeufs, broyez-les à la cuiller et joignez-leur quatre cuillerées à bouche de bonne huile. Posez alors la casserole sur un feu doux ; liez la sauce en la tournant, retirez-la aussitôt qu’elle est à point, et lui incorporez encore un demi-verre d’huile, mais en l’alternant avec le jus d’un citron ; finir la sauce avec un peu d’estragon ou de persil haché et un peu de glace de viande.

Béarnaise Sauce

What Goes with Béarnaise Sauce?

Béarnaise Sauce can transform a simple grill and is the perfect accompaniment with salmon, chargrilled steaks, chicken and asparagus. If you love Eggs Benedict, you’ll know that poached eggs marry well with Hollandaise sauce – but try it with Béarnaise sauce, with its added herbs, and it is sheer luxury.

Béarnaise Sauce

Can Béarnaise Sauce Keep?

Béarnaise sauce is best when made as close as possible to serving.  Ideally I’m not a chef serving this in a restaurant so I don’t have these kind of worries at home but I hear the best way to keep Béarnaise sauce without it splitting is by keeping it in a thermos.

Ideally, serve within an hour (no more than 2 hours max.), keeping the sauce slightly warm (not hot!) over a pan of simmering water. If the sauce gets too hot and starts to split, add a little warm water.  Frankly, I’ve not had problems with the latter, as the recipe is so easy and as long as it’s served reasonably quickly, the results are light and fluffy.

The sauce also freezes well.

Sauce Béarnaise

Béarnaise Sauce Recipe

Many chefs make this straight in the pan using the same quantities in the recipe, just like Dumas describes above.  I prefer making it over a bain-marie (bowl over simmering water) and, although this method sounds more hassle, it’s actually much less easy to curdle the sauce and the result is light and sabayon or mousse-like. However, if you prefer to make the sauce in the same pan, then carefully ensure that the temperature doesn’t get too high.

 

Béarnaise Sauce
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
25 mins
 

An easy recipe for the classic French Sauce Béarnaise, inspired by the creator in the 1830s near Paris, in Saint-Germain-en-Laye.

Course: Condiments
Cuisine: French
Keyword: Bearnaise, Bearnaise history, French cuisine, French sauces, Hollandaise, Parisian cuisine
Servings: 6
Calories: 280 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 50 g (2oz) white wine vinegar
  • 90 g (3.5oz) white wine
  • 2 small shallots chopped finely
  • 3 branches fresh tarragon branches separated from finely chopped up leaves
  • 3 grinds black pepper
  • 3 egg yolks organic
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 125 g (4.5oz) unsalted butter gently melted
  • 1 tbsp fresh chervil finely chopped
  • pinch salt fleur de sel
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh parsley (flat-leaf) optional
Instructions
  1. Bring the white vinegar, wine, shallots, tarragon branches and pepper to a boil in a small saucepan. As soon as it boils, reduce the heat and leave to reduce for about 5 minutes until there's about a couple of tablespoons. Pour into another bowl and set aside to cool then filter out the shallots and herbs using a sieve.

  2. Fill the saucepan with 1/4 of water and bring to a simmer.  Place over it a large bowl with the cooled vinegar reduction, yolks and water then whisk constantly until the sabayon becomes mousse-like.

  3. After about 5 minutes, as soon as the sauce starts to thicken, take the bowl off the heat and, continuing to whisk, incorporate the warm, melted butter. Add the chopped tarragon, chervil and parsley, if using.  Season with a little salt and it's ready to serve.

Recipe Notes

If not serving straight away, keep at room temperature and return the bowl over the simmering water before ready to serve to re-heat, adding a little hot water if necessary.

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

The Béarn-ecessities of life
They’ll come to you …

Béarnaise Sauce

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Cranachan Parfait – An Iced Scottish Dessert on Shortbread

Looking for a taste of Scotland? Cranachan, the classic Scottish dessert, is so easy to put together and is made with simple ingredients: cream, honey, oatmeal and Whisky and layered with fresh Scottish raspberries. However, here I’ve revisited the Scottish classic with a French twist by turning it into a Cranachan Parfait.

Cranachan parfait

The Cranachan parfaits are soft honeycomb ice creams (no-churn) with a touch of Malt Whisky, topped with an oat praline crumble and served on a disk of Scottish shortbread then topped with raspberries.

The Scottish Cranachan dessert was originally served to celebrate the summer harvest festival. No matter how much people say their raspberries are better, there’s nothing to beat fresh Scottish berries! Even the best French ones don’t match up to them, in my humble opinion.

Cranachan parfait

However, when it comes to the major Scottish celebration dinners such as Burn’s Night on 25th January and Saint Andrew’s Night on 30th November, we’re always short for fresh, seasonal raspberries.

Luckily at our local Farmers’ market yesterday, I found some delicious raspberries – from Morocco! Surprisingly, they were full of flavour but as I prefer to buy local and seasonal, the berries are just for show here. Without fresh berries, thinly spread some good quality raspberry jam on the shortbread rounds before placing the Cranachan parfaits on top.

Cranachan parfait recipe method

Cranachan Parfait: Developing the Recipe

For the parfaits, I took inspiration from chef, Anne-Sophie Pic, who makes a vanilla parfait by making a hot syrup and pouring it directly onto egg yolks and whisks until frothy. She then adds whipped cream and turns it into spherical moulds. Here, I replaced the syrup with runny floral honey (ideally in Scotland, use heather honey) and since I was adding Whisky to the cream, doubled the portion of egg yolks in order for it to solidify more in the freezer, even although they will still be beautifully soft.

If you prefer a stronger-in-alcohol Scottish dessert, then try this non-churn Drambuie ice cream, delicious with chocolate ginger fondant cake!

Although made the night before, the parfaits can keep in the freezer for up to 10 days, so it’s parfait to prepare this dessert in advance.

cranachan-parfait-recipe

Making oat praline and shortbread rounds

I’ll post a separate recipe for Shortbread later – as my Granny’s Black Book of recipes contains several! Here I’ve used one of my favourites which uses more butter and, once the Shortbread is still warm and soft out of the oven, just cut out disks the same size of moulds.

Can I make this Scottish Dessert without the moulds?

No moulds? No worries. This Cranachan Parfait recipe doesn’t have to be made using moulds. Make it easier by placing the cream into a cake tin lined with parchment paper and freeze as a whole block, cutting off slices when ready to serve.

oat praline cranachan parfait

Oat Praline Crunchy Topping

Instead of oatmeal for the traditional dessert, soaked in Whisky overnight, I’ve made a simple praline with porridge oats to add some crunch for the texture. If you love crunchy praline on desserts, try this nutty nougatine recipe.

Want to go the Full Monty? Serve with Cranachan Macarons, the recipe of which is in my first book, Mad About Macarons.

Cranachan parfait Scottish dessert

Cranachan Parfait – A Chilled Scottish Dessert

Cranachan Parfait
Prep Time
40 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Freezing time
2 hrs
Total Time
1 hr 10 mins
 

Cranachan Parfait, a French twist to the traditional Scottish dessert of cream, honey, Whisky, oats, served with raspberries, buttery shortbread and topped with a crunchy oat praline.

Course: Dessert, teatime
Cuisine: French, Scottish
Keyword: cranachan, honeycomb ice cream, parfait recipe, raspberry dessert, scottish desserts, Whisky desserts
Calories: 455 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
Cranachan Parfaits
  • 4 egg yolks (organic, farm fresh)
  • 4 tbsp runny honey (Heather honey, if possible)
  • 1 tbsp Malt Whisky
  • 350 gr (12oz) Whipping Cream (30%) Crème fleurette
Oat Praline Crumble
  • 75 g (3oz) rolled oats
  • 75 g (3oz) granulated sugar
  • 10 g (0.5oz) unsalted butter
Shortbread
  • 200 g (7oz) unsalted butter (softened)
  • 75 g (3oz) caster sugar
  • 200 g (7oz) flour (all-purpose)
  • 75 g (3oz) rice flour (or cornflour)
  • pinch salt
  • fresh raspberries to serve
Instructions
Cranachan Parfaits
  1. Chill a large bowl in the fridge for the cream. Place the egg yolks in another large bowl, heat the honey without boiling it (I put it a few seconds in the microwave) and pour it over the yolks and beat with electric beaters (or a stand mixer) for about 10 minutes until thick and moussy. Add the Whisky and beat again until well mixed.

  2. In the chilled bowl, whisk the cream like a Crème Chantilly until soft peaks and the same consistency as the yolk-honey mixture. Gently fold the 2 mixtures together and spoon either into spherical silicone moulds (this used 10 spheres), greased muffin tins, or in a lined cake tin. Transfer to the freezer and leave overnight to set.

Oat Praline Crumble
  1. In a saucepan, heat the sugar with a few drops of water.  Just as it starts to change colour after about 5 minutes, stir using a wooden spoon until the sugar is completely dissolved and the caramel is medium golden. Add the butter and stir to mix well then pour in the oats. Stir until the oats are well covered then immediately transfer to a baking tray.

  2. Once cool, break the praline into small pieces and reserve in a jam jar.  (This can keep for about 10 days)

Shortbread
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/360°F/Gas 4.
    Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until pale and creamy (either by hand or in a stand mixer).  Gradually add the flour, rice flour and salt until the mixture comes together into a dough that's easy to work with. 

  2. Spread the mixture into a greased non-stick baking tin and thinly even it out using a palette knife. Alternatively roll the dough out with a rolling-pin until about 1cm thick and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes until golden brown. 

  3. When the mixture is still soft and warm, cut out disks with a cookie cutter (the same size as the moulds). Leave to cool on a wire tray.

To Serve
  1. When ready to serve, place the shortbread disk on each plate (spread each with raspberry jam if no fresh raspberries), turn out the frozen parfaits at the last minute and place on top.  Sprinkle with the oat praline and, if using, serve with fresh raspberries.

Recipe Notes

This recipe can be made even easier without the moulds or shortbread. Simply freeze the honey and Whisky cream in a lined cake tin overnight and slice before serving. Serve with the oat praline and fresh raspberries.

Store the egg whites in the fridge for 3-4 days and make macarons or financiers with them (recipes in my books) or these French Tuiles. Otherwise freeze the whites until later!

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

If you would like to try the classic, more traditional recipes for Cranachan, see my Scottish friends’ recipes, from both Christina’s Cucina and Janice’s Farmhouse Kitchen version, based on a Whisky Mac.

Cranachan parfait

Cranachan Parfait, a French twist to the Classic Scottish dessert

If you prefer to make this a gluten-free dessert then replace the shortbread with a giant pink macaron. There’s a whole chapter about giant macaron desserts, also in my book, Mad About Macarons!

Enjoy this for any Scottish occasion, or at any time of the year and ideally serve with a good single Malt Whisky.
Incidentally, the Gaelic word for cheers translates as Health, just like the French.

Cheers, Santé, Sláinte !

P.S. This is part of the egg yolk recipe database, as it uses 4 yolks.  Keep the egg whites for 3-4 days in a clean jam jar in the fridge (or freeze until ready to bake) to make macarons, financiers, tuiles or meringues from my books and le blog!

Blueberry Lemon Clafoutis

When I posted this Blueberry Lemon Clafoutis on Instagram and Facebook this morning, I realised to my horror that the recipe I was referring to had technical problems when printing so, before I go dashing off on my travels again tomorrow, here’s the recipe which is easily printable for you and not, “replace that with this” and so on.

Blueberry Lemon Clafoutis recipe

The Most Fruity Versatile French Dessert

As you can see from the original classic French Cherry Clafoutis recipe I first posted, I have been mad about clafoutis this summer.  It’s such a versatile recipe that lends itself so deliciously well to all sorts of mouthwatering fruity versions – particularly plums and berries.

Update!

See VIDEO DEMONSTRATION HERE for my gluten free French Clafoutis Recipe

In the latest recipes, I’ve added ground almonds (almond flour) instead of flour or cornflour, as I love the hint of almond with berries and cherries – plus the more eggy it is, the lighter it is too. Have you tried the following yet?

I also made a mirabelle plum version of this recipe this weekend – and added some freshly grated ginger to it for dessert, inspired by chef William Ledeuil from Paris’s Ze Kitchen Galérie.  As we’re just back from our marathon family holiday in Japan, I’m looking for ways to be a bit more playful with Asian flavours.  I’m currently developing and dreaming up some interesting ice creams and main dishes for you…so don’t forget to sign up below to keep informed when they come out!

blueberry lemon clafoutis recipe

Blueberry Lemon Clafoutis – a Twist to the French Classic

5 from 1 vote
Blueberry Lemon Clafoutis
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
35 mins
Cooling time
15 mins
Total Time
45 mins
 

A quick and easy light gluten-free Clafoutis baked custard dessert, with a blueberry and lemon twist to the French classic that's great for dessert, teatime or breakfast.

Servings: 6 people
Calories: 264 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp each butter and sugar for the dish
  • 250 g (9oz) blueberries organic
  • 5 medium eggs organic
  • 70 g (2.5oz) sugar
  • 1 grated zest of a lemon organic/unwaxed
  • 170 g (6oz) pouring (single) cream
  • 30 g (1oz) ground almonds (almond flour)
  • 1 tbsp limoncello liqueur (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C fan / 200°C / 400°F (gas 6). Wash and dry the blueberries.

  2. Generously butter a gratin, pie dish or deep cake tin. Top with a tablespoon of sugar and shake the dish to evenly spread it over the butter. Lay the blueberries in a single layer to cover the surface of the dish.

  3. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, cream, almonds and liqueur, if using.

  4. Pour the egg mixture over the blueberries and bake in the oven for about 30-35 minutes until cooked in the middle but not too dark at the edges.

  5. Set aside to cool then either serve warm or chill in the fridge until ready to serve.

Recipe Notes

I also like to add some slivered almonds to the surface before baking so that they come out for a toasted extra crunch.

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

Have you made any of the recipes from le blog or fancy making this Blueberry Lemon Clafoutis recipe?  Please do leave a comment below or take a picture and hashtag it #MadAboutMacarons on social media. Thanks so much for popping in!

If you love blueberry and lemon, you must try this chilled French Bavarois Dessert too, with a hint of roasted coriander.

Blueberry lemon Clafoutis

#Blueberry Lemon Clafoutis – PIN ME for later!

 

French Berry Gratin with Elderflower

After a bubbly afternoon of Champagne tasting in Paris last week, I promised to make this French Berry Gratin recipe with thoughts of that 100% Pinot Noir evoking grilled fruits. Isn’t it incredible how wine tastings can leave you dreaming about accompanying foods?

Berry Gratin

A fruit gratin is popular in France – probably because it not only showcases the sweetest of seasonal fruits, but it’s also such a quick yet elegant French dessert to whip up in under 30 minutes.

A Perfect Summer Heatwave Dessert

This kind of gratin isn’t to be confused with a Crème Brûlée, where the top has a thick layer of sugar and is burned to form a hard cracking layer on top. I have a classic recipe in Mad About Macarons, but try this Milk Chocolate and Passion Fruit Crème Brûlée – it’s from another planet!

Instead, this gratin dessert highlights the fruits; it’s lightly grilled without the crunch and it has a more liquid form of custard, rather similar to a Crème Anglaise rather than set.  That’s why it’s a handy summer recipe to have if you don’t want the oven on too much during a heatwave.

berry gratin recipe method

Although I say ‘sweet’, this berry gratin has just enough sugar added but not too much to overpower the natural sugars in the fruits.

It’s on the same lines as this Rhubarb and Strawberry Gratin – have you tried it yet?

Berry Gratin dessert

I’d normally make this using a vanilla pod/bean but this time I felt like some elderflower to highlight the strawberries.  If you’ve tried my Strawberry Eclairs with Elderflower Cream recipe in Teatime in Paris, you’ll know what I’m talking about!

As I’m not lucky enough to have elderflowers around, I cheat with a little cordial (Ikea have one) or syrup (Monin’s is good). However, if you have Elderflower liqueur such as Saint Germain, then that’s great too!

If you’re not into elderflower, then infuse this cream with some lemon verbena – so many variations are easy to dream up for this berry gratin recipe.

Berry Gratin recipe

Berry Gratin

Have you made any of the recipes from le blog or fancy making this Berry Gratin recipe?  Please do leave a comment below or take a picture and hashtag it #MadAboutMacarons.  I love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook.

Thanks so much for popping in! Just to let you know I’ll be rather disconnected on my annual travels (as ever, like the French, we leave Paris at this time!) over the next 3 weeks but will try to pop in when I can.  Have a lovely summer, wherever you are! Speaking of French Berries, don’t forget to wear a hat!

Berry Gratin Recipe

5 from 2 votes
Berry Gratin Recipe
Berry Gratin with Elderflower
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
2 mins
Total Time
22 mins
 

Summer red fruit berry gratin, a quick yet elegant French dessert with fresh berries topped with an elderflower cream and toasted under the grill for a couple of minutes.

Servings: 4 people
Calories: 215 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 400 g (14oz) mixed fresh berries organic
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 50 g (1.75oz) sugar
  • good pinch vanilla powder (or 1/2 tsp extract)
  • 2 tbsp elderflower cordial or syrup (or Saint Germain liqueur)
  • 100 g (3.5oz) whipping cream
Instructions
  1. Divide the mixed berries between 4 ovenproof dishes and spread them out in a single layer.

  2. In a bowl, whisk together the yolks, sugar and vanilla until light and creamy (about 5 minutes). Continue to whisk, adding the cordial/syrup and the cream until well mixed.

  3. Pour over the fruits and place under a hot grill for just 2 minutes until the cream is toasted but not burned.  You could also use a blowtorch instead.
    Serve immediately -  or prepare a couple of hours in advance, chill then reheat in a warm oven at 140°C for about 5 minutes.

Recipe Notes

There are countless floral variations to this recipe: replace elderflower cordial/syrup with violet or rose syrup. Or replace the syrup with 25g more cream and infuse with lavender or lemon verbena.

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

 

French Berry Gratin

Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Cookies

Do you need a quick and easy solution sometimes? Mine is often a batch of almost brownie-like, intense dark Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Cookies – especially after making chocolate macarons.

Why? Surely seeing a batch of finished, sandwiched macarons together, there’s no problem, right?

chocolate chip hazelnut cookies

Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Cookies – BEFORE …

Sit down with a cup of tea and imagine the scene: there’s this large batch of dark chocolate and hazelnut macarons sitting sandwiched together with gooey ganache on a baking tray and their incredible aromas are snake-drifting around the house. Suddenly, a numbed expectant devouring silence hits the air, as my chocolate-loving teenagers and husband remember… they are NOT ready to eat just yet.

They’ve learned over time not to pinch one. Instead, it’s totally worth the wait for macarons to mature to their ultimate, crispy and fondant perfection. So, as the heavy macaron-laden box disappears in the fridge for a couple of days to perform their magic, my favourite nutty cookies come to the rescue.

Why haven’t I posted my favourite cookie recipe yet? Perhaps because, paradoxically, I make them so often. Or perhaps it has been my safely guarded secret, passed to me by our local chocolate factory.  Yes, one of our neighbours a couple of blocks away was the Chocolaterie du Pecq. Alas, I say ‘was’, as they are permanently shut down following a fire that took place a couple of years ago.

Every December, they would open their doors for a few hours to the public. Us locals would queue, unusually for the French – even if it was more sideways than a normal straight British-style queue – on our allotted early morning Saturday slot. As we were tasting their latest magic (another reason for going sideways and becoming high on cacao), we’d complete our order forms for bulk packs of the most exquisite dark chocolate chips, praline, unsweetened cocoa powder and ballotins of our favourite filled chocolates.

chocolate chip hazelnut cookies

Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Cookies – AFTER …

Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Cookies – with Toasted Nuts & Salt!

Thankfully, the chocolate factory’s recipes go on – and this is one of them. Over the years, I’ve used their original recipe, cutting down on the sugar (if it’s too sweet, how can you appreciate all the flavours in there?) but if you have a few more minutes (that’s all), take the cookies to the NEXT LEVEL and toast some hazelnuts and add a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder. It’s all in the recipe below!

Have you put dark chocolate and good quality salt (fleur de sel from Brittany) together? The chocolate becomes even more intense in flavour. If you’ve never tried this before, then I urge you to give it a go.  Added to these cookies, it makes them even more addictive.  And speaking of salty cookies, have you tried these palets bretons, the deliciously salty butter biscuits from Brittany?

chocolate chip hazelnut cookies

Gooey and intense in dark chocolate with toasted hazelnuts and a hint of fleur de sel salt

Next time you make a batch of chocolate macarons, just remember this quick and easy cookie recipe – and, if you have extra whites left over, then make some crunchy Tuiles or delicious buttery Financiers from my book, Teatime in Paris!

I can sense that this will be seen as “just another cookie recipe post”. Am I right? Prove me wrong and try the recipe. If you do, please tell me and rate the recipe below!

5 from 4 votes
chocolate chip hazelnut cookies
Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Cookies
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
17 mins
Total Time
37 mins
 

Perfectly gooey, crumbly and intense in dark chocolate, these toasted hazelnut cookies are addictive with a touch of French fleur de sel salt to add that extra oh-la-la factor while waiting for your chocolate macarons to mature.

Course: Breakfast, Snack, teatime
Cuisine: American, French
Servings: 12 cookies
Calories: 158 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 80 g (3oz) unsalted Butter softened, nearly melted
  • 50 g (1.75oz) cane Sugar or Cassonade French sugar
  • 50 g (1.75oz) ground hazelnuts hazelnut flour*
  • 80 g (3oz) plain flour all-purpose
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Van Houten) OPTIONAL
  • 1 egg (organic) at room temperature
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt fleur de sel
  • 100 g (3.5oz) dark chocolate chips (good quality)
  • 40 g (1.5oz) hazelnuts OPTIONAL
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/360°F/Gas4.

    In a large bowl, whisk together the butter and sugar until it's a creamy, mousse-like mixture

  2. (Optional - If using, dry fry the hazelnuts for about 5 minutes over a high heat until toasted.)

  3. Add all the other ingredients and mix together using a spatula or spoon. If adding the extra toasted hazelnuts, chop them roughly or break them up in a mortar & pestle or crush them in a ziplock bag using a rolling pin. 

  4. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment or a silicone mat. Using a dessert spoon or ice cream scoop, form about 10-12 balls well spaced apart. You may need a second baking sheet, depending on the size of yours. 

  5. Bake them for 15-17 minutes. Remove and cool on a wire rack.

Recipe Notes

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION per 40g serving (makes 12 cookies): 158 Calories; 3g protein; lipids 10g; glucides 14g.

Best eaten on the day but store in a cookie jar and eat within 24 hours so they're at their best.

The optional step of adding the extra toasted hazelnuts perhaps sounds complicated, but it's worth it!

*If you can't find hazelnut flour, finely ground whole hazelnuts or use ground almonds (almond flour)

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

chocolate chip hazelnut cookies