Matcharons and Midnight feasts

My most loved stories and books as a child were all written by Enid Blyton. My sisters could well say the same. We sought book after book after book from Famous Five to Secret Seven, culminating in the adventures at St Clare’s and Malory Towers. The one thing I loved the most and still remember with more than a twinge of nostalgia are the midnight feasts the girls had. Somewhere deep inside of me, I always felt a bit deprived because I couldn’t flatten myself and slip into the pages of the book, to partake of the glorious delights they indulged in.

IMG_5044Instead I held the pages and imagined…….and longed, never thinking I would someday forget they ever existed.

Till my memory was triggered by this month’s MacTweets challengeMac Tell me a story, which I so happened to fail. flop. flunk. for a little while. Till I set my plan B into action.

logo macattackOh yes, I think all smart girls and guys ought to have a backup plan when making macs: they are about the only things I start out making with the full intention of having them fail, and I now have a long list of ‘things to do with failed macs’.

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Take this should-have-been Matcharons (thanks Kate for the name): as soon as I saw them emerge form the oven, feetless, I got into gear and in true fashion and tribute to the St Clare/Malory tower girls, I made panna cotta at 1:11am.  I think that was a first for me – I don’t recall having cooked anything so late ever in my life! Thankfully, I had to leave it to rest….and so didn’t feast alone.

By the time the sun rose over my Dutch dek, my ideas morphed from making mac crumbs to top my panna cotta, to making Cookie pops and Oopsie pies (formerly known as whoopie pies – who says the WP is the new cupcake? Well the NY times and Timesonline!) – perfect for any snacking after hours.

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And then I cast my mind to the fictional characters and I say to myself….’They would have loved the spread’. Probably, especially the cookie pops. Small, dainty and sweet. I think they too would gladly have sunk teeth and ship for the Oopsie pies. I wonder if they would have taken any delight in the yoghurt panna cottas, as much as I did.

I imagine it would all have been perfect. And imagine is the operative word here……even if the macs that triggered them weren’t.

I started out with matcha flavoured macarons, successful in having a pure matcha taste, failure in being without pied, and things got worse!

My macarons ended up silly and soft, so I rolled some up into cigars, cut them up and served them with my panna cottas.

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The others I crushed, separating the fine, crisp crumbs from the chewy inner.

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The chewy interiors of the macs were rolled into balls…….to make Cookie pops, dunked in white chocolate with a sprinkling of aleppo pepper. Some were saved……to go into ice-cream!

IMG_5093Some macs stayed home, and became Oopsie pies, spread with sweetened red bean paste (aduki beans) and white chocolate ganache.


And some crumbs floored a delicious ball of vanilla ice-cream.

I will be honest though, reality has set in and the truth must surface – Plan B wasn’t exactly a success.

The cookie pops were rather horridly sweet, the white chocolate wraps adding to the horror. I think this is definitely a case for dark, bitter chocolate.

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On to the next – the Oopsie pies, were even worse after a night of refrigeration. One daughter bravely had one and one didn’t. Neither did the Mac king – my son. I was glad when they went in the food bin! Gross…….

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The crumbs and ice-cream didn’t work either. Just didn’t go……

IMG_5390But the topping on the panna cotta was delicious, truth be told though, the panna cotta was the STAR. So here’s the one great recipe that worked (ignore the fact that it looks ugly….small distraction!).



1 teaspoon gelatine = 2 gelatine leaves

If using gelatine leaves, follow manufacturer’s instructions

Don’t use intricately decorate moulds – your panna cotta will look rather unappetising (like mine…..)

Once set and ready to serve, wipe the outsides of the panna cotta moulds with a hot cloth to make turning them out easier.

Definitely serve with a sauce, it lifts this way and above having it on its own

The recipe

Vanilla panna cotta, from Lean (Australian Women’s Weekly)

2 tablespoons boiling water
2 tablespoons honey {I used Maple syrup}
1 vanilla bean
2 teaspoons unflavoured gelatine powder {I used gelatine leaves}
1 1/2 cups (380g) vanilla yogurt
Strawberry sauce and macaron bits, to serve

How to

Combine the water and honey/maple syrup in a small heatproof jug. Put the vanilla seeds into the jug.

If using gelatine powder, sprinkle it over the honey/maple syrup mixture and stand in a small saucepan of simmering water, stirring till the gelatine dissolves. Cool for 5 minutes then combine the honey/maple mixture and yogurt in a small bowl, stirring till smooth.

If using gelatine leaves, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ‘bloom’ the leaves and dissolve them. Then add the cold honey mixture and yogurt to the dissolved gelatine. Whisk/mix well.

Strain the mixture into 4   1/2 cup moulds and refrigerate, covered for 3 hours or overnight.

I think I should give macs up………..or become nonchalant again!

IMG_5324 Enjoy other failed Macperiments

Chocolate and Raspberry Macaron Mess

Macaronimo bars

Macs n cereal

Mac-a-Misu[wpurp-searchable-recipe]Matcharons and Midnight feasts – – – [/wpurp-searchable-recipe]


  1. St Claires’ was my favourite school series and I was addicted to Five Find-outers and dog and the Adventure series. My daughters started on Famous Five from an early age (and grew out of them a lot quicker than I did!). If you read the language of those books now – especially the school stories – they are rife with cruel behaviour and racial sterotypes. However they conjured a world of midnight feasts and excitement. I think the Harry Potter books owe a lot to building on this starting point. ANYWAY – panna cotta is one of my most favourite desserts and I’m so glad to read a less than perfect macaron story for a change. Hope for us mere mortals!

  2. I love Enid Blyton too. The Magic Wishing Chair and Faraway Tree stories were my favourite. I always loved when the children in them traveled to lands like the land of Birthday parties and got to eat all sorts of fantastic treats. Sorry your experiments did not work out this time

  3. OH, Oz, I’m glad to see that you made these–but I’m sorry that they didn’t turn out. I LOVELOVELOVE what you’ve done with the ‘remains’, though! You’re so creative. Hugs.

  4. Oh, my I’ve had so many fail attempts it’s not funny– but mine did not taste good. You have really raised the bar for me, to make the mistakes taste good!! Thank you, you’ve made my day.

  5. I had my first batch flop this time too. But my second worked fine. I hate throwing things out. Your panna cotta looked delicious.

  6. Enid Blyton made my childhood into a fairy tale, and I love the brave mac-maker you are. Agree 100% that smart mac folk should have back-up plans. You my dear, are too clever and very very creative. LOVED what you did with them … so much fun here! Thanks for joining us at MacTweets with flavours that won me over! Gorgeous Oz!!

  7. Ah Malory Towers, how I longed to go to school there. I had a boarding school related tale to relate in this month’s mactweets but it will have to wait as I have run out of time to make them and my blog is between domains and off line at the moment (the horror!!).

    I love those pops. Great way to use gooey macs.

    Are you coming to FBC? I hope so!!

  8. “You try, you fail, you try again.” Somehow this is the mantra adopted by all mad bakers throughout the world and through the times, for there is nothing more satisfying than watching your (almost) meaningless pile of ingredients transforming into things so much more magnificent!

  9. Wow, I’m simply impressed with your creativity! Flexibility and adaptability are important qualities to have, esp. in the kitchen! I bet the panna cotta was simply delightful!

  10. I love that we can celebrate failures….you make me feel ever the star :-). To be honest though, I’m not always positive about food, especially my over consumption but there is hope. Thank you for your comments – they bring many a smile to this face of mine!

  11. Who cares how ugly, Ozoz? As long as it was delish! I give you great credit for attempting to use failed macs so many ways! Very inventive. Some work, some don’t. At least you found one everyone loved!

  12. Oz, you are so, so creative and always so positive. I love the name oopsie pies, and the panna cotta looks divine!

    And I definitely see what you mean about us being twins ;P I always longed to have a midnight feast too..

  13. I don’t think you ruin your macs, you just come up with so many wonderful delicious ideas – ok some a bit on the sweet side to inspire those of us who have yet to try our hands at a macaron. The pictures are fabulous and I am only guessing at how tasty they are.

  14. Oz, honey, you always make me laugh! But no matter how you ruin your macs you always end up with the most gorgeous dessert! And I think I would rather have your panna cotta any day than a plateful of macs. Great, creative post and desserts. Pictures as usual are stunning. Hope to see you in June!

  15. These “feetless” macs look so exotic and delicious in the many forms you gave them! I agree, Dinah, Lucy-Anne, Jack, Philip and all the others would certainly have relished them. Lovely photos!

  16. You are such a trooper, Ozoz!!! All those experiments to make something good out of a flop. I love it!! 🙂 I never grew up on Enid Blyton stories, but a friend gave me a book and now I simply have to read it!! So excited! 🙂

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