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Sunday, 28 August 2011

Yes, you read the title right. I made wasp nests :-)

Wasp Nests

Dom from Belleau Kitchen challenged us to go back to basics for this month's Random Recipes Challenge, and pick a book out of our cookbook collections. Lest I cheat, I got my daughter to do the picking and she picked out this book here. Dr Oetkar's 'German Baking Today - The Original'. My friend Maz had got it for me from Germany, and I remember absolutely drooling through the recipes, but then, as is usual, the book got shelved, never to be used. Dom's hit on a winner here, as I have managed to cook more for this event from my long neglected cookbooks, than I have for a while.

I flipped open the book, and it landed on a page with two recipes. Amarettini and Wasp Nests. I figured at this point, since Aditi had picked out the book, it would only be fair to make a recipe that she could eat (the Amarettini, as the name suggests, has Amaretto in it) So Wasp Nests it was, or to make them sound more palatable, little meringue biscuits with chopped almonds and grated chocolate, that look very much like the nests of those despised insects! Eerily so!

Names aside, these little bites were stunningly good. Crisp meringue with their chewy insides, crunchy almonds, and every so often, a slight hint of bitterness from the dark chocolate to cut through the sweetness. I can easily see these being a real hit at a tea party.

I am posting the recipe, as I slashed it by a third and added a few bits and bobs to the original. The original recipe made sixty nests, and I didn't think it was prudent to have that much sugar floating around in the vicinity of a three year old :-) And good thing too, as they all disappeared within moments of cooling down. Another lesson for next time, spirit some away into a tin before letting little bees get a hold of them!

Wasp Nests

Recipe:

50g dark chocolate, grated fine
1 egg white
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 cup peeled, blanched almonds, chopped coarsely
2 drops almond essence

Method:

Preheat the oven to 140 C.

Whisk the egg white on a high speed, until it forms stiff peaks, and you can hold the bowl upside down without the whites sliding.

Add the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, whisking for about 45 seconds between each addition, until the sugar is all used up. Continue to whisk for another minute.

Quickly and very gently fold in the grated chocolate, chopped almonds and almond essence.

Line a cookie sheet with some parchment/ baking paper. Using two teaspoons, place small mounds of the meringue mixture on it. Leave some space between the mounds, as these will spread out a little bit. You can probably fit all the mixture on one cookie sheet, but if not, bake the nests in two batches. You should have roughly 15 - 20 nests.

Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes.

Take out of the oven, and leave to cool for a minute or so. Very gently slide the nests out on to a baking rack, and let cool completely.

These will keep in an airtight tin for about a week, if you can resist them of course :-)

Wasp Nests

9 comments :

  1. They look fabulous. I have often made German "pl├Ątzchen" with my mother in law, but have never heard of these ones.

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  2. Mmmmm! So prettily photographed! The Germans make a coofee cake called 'Beestings. Blanched almonds that poke up and out of the yeast dough... yur meringue cookies reminded me of that treat eaten during 'kaffeetrinkten' ...

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  3. Michelle, these wasp nests look so much like our mangalorean macrooms/macroons right? the one made with cashewnut bits and coated in sugar? Ur version looks terrific, bookmarking this!

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  4. I love stuff like this, so sweet and light... and a great random recipe to get, thanks so much for taking part!

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  5. Oh - these look like the nun's farts we made for a random recipe challenge a few months ago. They also disappeared very quickly!!!

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  6. They DO look like little wasps nests! And they sound scrummyyummy. I will have to add this to my ever expanding cookie (biscuit) repertoire.

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  7. My mother-in-law is German and she makes these for Christmas. They look the same so I will have to try them and let you know if they taste the same as the original from Germany.

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  8. I don't have the recipe at hand but we bake these every Christmas from a very old family recipe. Lazy people use cocoa powder but you don't get the same look as greated (which is a pain!). But mine calls for 1/4 tsp clove & 1/2 tsp cinnamon for 3 egg whites (adjust accordingly, I usually put in extra myself). The result of that addition is a very different taste.

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  9. I have made these for years at Christmas time. Everyone always loves them as the actually melt in your mouth. Love these.

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