Wednesday, August 7, 2013

"what happens when your macarons don't work" or "a journey to Monte Carlos"

We had grand plans for this week's Bake Day.  Yet again, Pinterest served as our inspiration, as we gathered to create this Hummingbird cake, and these sweet little donut macarons.

Everything was going so smoothly.  We had three layers of the hummingbird cake in the oven, while Lauren worked her magic in the macaron making department.

We stopped for lunch, enjoying a wonderful Donna Hay Fettuccine Carbonara.  A delicious strawberry buttercream was whipped up, and the Hummingbord cake was assembled and iced while the macarons were baking away.

But something went wrong.  Our highly anticipated, much yearned after sweet morsels of magic, fell into a flaky, sticky, gooey mess. It just wasn't a macaron making day.

With our tummies full of pasta and cake, we parted ways that fateful day.

Our two layered Hummingbird Cake - we made it two layered so the third layer could be take away

Ah, but what of the sweet strawberry buttercream.  As I stared at the tub of deliciousness, I immediately thought of Monte Carols.  Those old school shortbread style biscuits with jam and buttercream that we used to fight over as kids, once the Kingstons were eaten of course.

And so the post bake day "lets make strawberry buttercream magic" baking session began, and these delicious morsels were created.

Here's how I did it:

Monte Carlos

185g butter at room temperature
½ cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1¼ cups self-raising flour
¾ cup plain flour
½ cup desiccated coconut

For the buttercream:
100g unsalted butter
120g icing sugar, sifted
2 1/2 tbsp strawberry jam


Preheat oven to 180°C. Lightly grease and line cookie sheets/oven trays with baking paper. Tip: you may need up to 4 trays, but only cook 2 trays at a time.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. 

Sift flours together and fold into creamed mixture with coconut until well combined. 

Take a slightly heaped teaspoon of dough and roll into a ball.  Gently flatten to an oval shape, tidying up the edges  as you go then mark each piece with the prongs of a fork.  Allow 4 - 5 cm between each piece of dough.

you can get creative and make a criss- cross design

Bake 12 minutes, until golden. Cool on trays for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.  Tip: When the biscuits are cool enough to handle, it is a good idea to match them up into pairs of like sized biscuits, to make the assembly easier

Strawberry buttercream: While your biscuits are baking, beat the butter, icing sugar and strawberry jam together until well combined.  Set aside.

Once the biscuits are cool, place a teaspoon of filling onto the centre of a biscuit and sandwich with a plain biscuit, pressing firmly. Repeat with the remaining biscuits.

Serve with a nice hot cup of tea.  Store any uneaten biscuits in an airtight container.


  • The biscuits featured in the photos are both dairy free and gluten free.  
  • To make these dairy free, replace the butter with dairy free spread in both the cookie dough and the filling.  The biscuits won't be as golden as when they are made with butter but they will still be tasty.  
  • For gluten free, simply replace the flours with gluten free substitutes. 
  • For old fashioned monte carols, follow the directions for baking the biscuits as above.  When it comes to making the filling, omit the strawberry jam.  When assembling, spread a teaspoon of jam onto one half of the biscuits, and then the buttercream on the remaining biscuits.  Sandwich one jam and one buttercream biscuit together, pressing firmly.

We might make macarons again one day... maybe.

But for now, we hope you enjoy baking these delicious treats.

~ Nicole ~

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