Last week, the postie dropped off a cheeky bottle of Baileys, along with an intriguing challenge - using it to cook a dessert. Hmmmm I love Baileys but I must admit, I've never used it as an ingredient. Luckily, they provided two recipes for inspiration - Baileys Cheesecake and Baileys Macaroons. I decided to try the latter and stuck pretty closely to their recipe until the end, when I decided to go for deconstructed macaroons, partly because they came out out as flat as cookies and partly so that the kids could also have them minus the alcohol.
Here's what they should have looked like - the official version from thebar.com, which is a cocktail-inspiration website owned by Diageo.
And here's my deconstructed version (sorry, I've been watching Masterchef too much !) - think boozy chocolate fondue, hmmmm !
MORE BAILEYS DRINKS & COCKTAILS AT thebar.com
1 hour preparation time
15 minutes cooking time
30 minutes cooling time
Makes about 30 macaroons (or less, depending on size)
Up to 0.1 units per serve
2 large egg whites
120g granulated sugar
50g ground almonds (shelled)
1 tbsp cocoa powder
100ml Baileys Original Irish Cream
150g ready-made dark chocolate ganache
Beat the egg whites well with an electric whisk, gradually adding the sugar until a shiny, stiff mixture is formed.
Mix the almonds together with the cocoa powder and sprinkle over the mixture, folding it in carefully with a spatula to keep the air in the mixture.
Place the mixture into a piping bag with a large hole. Squeeze about 60 small dollops (about 2.5–3cm across) onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper.
Flatten each dollop using a small cooking knife and bake in a preheated oven at 180°C (gas mark 2–3, or 160°C fan) for about 15 minutes. (I piped them in the top photo but tried just using dollops from a spoon on the second baking sheet - both work fine but I only got about 30.)
Once your 15 minutes are up, turn the oven off but leave the baking sheet in the oven and open the door for about 5 minutes. Then remove the macaroons and leave them to cool. (Now this could have been my downfall - I was multitasking and had a roast dinner cooking at the same time so I couldn't leave them in the oven turned off with the door open. They tasted delicious and had a wonderfully gooey texture but they were flat like cookies, rather than perkily plump like macaroons should be.)
Warm the Baileys (taking care not to boil it) and grate the ready-made ganache into the liquid to melt, stirring constantly. Add small pieces of butter then cool the whole mixture until it reaches a nice piping consistency.
Give the mixture a vigorous stir and pour it into a piping bag with a large, star-shaped spout. (This was never going to have a piping consistency but I know why - I was much too generous with the Baileys ! It tasted gorgeous but it had a distinct alcoholic kick - definitely not for the kids ! I also used regular milk chocolate rather than dark chocolate ganache.)
Give half your macaroons a dollop of chocolate mixture and use the other half to complete the sandwiches. Leave to cool and enjoy! (I poured the Baileys chocolate sauce into individal ramekins and put them on a plate with halved strawberries and the macaroons to dip in.)
Both worked really well so you could knock this sauce up in seconds and pour it over vanilla ice cream and strawberries for a gorgeous grown-up summery dessert.
I'll share the Bailey Cheesecake recipe tomorrow - that sounds delicious too !
Disclosure : I received a bottle of Baileys in order to try out the recipe.