I had never actually baked a classic macaron, only the vegan version with aquafaba. And it took quite a few baking tins with failed macarons before I mastered the art of vegan macarons. So I was very curious to see how I would get on with the classic version.
During baking, I noticed that my hard work making vegan macarons gave me quite a head start. I found out that the method used to make the vegan and the regular version does not differ that much. The non-vegan version with egg whites is even a little easier to make than the vegan variant with aquafaba. It seems that the egg white macaron is a little bit more forgiving.
Still, the classic elegant French macaron isn’t an easy cookie to bake if you’ve never done it before. You do need some patience and time to learn how to bake a good macaron. You usually have to practice a few times before your macaron really turns out the way you want.
The consistency of the mixture is very important. The process of mixing until the batter has the right consistency (macaronage) is a precise one. Only when you have made macarons a few times do you know exactly what thickness you should have. A perfect project during these corona crisis days!
Start with small portions (cut this recipe in half, for example) so you can experiment a bit. But even not 100% perfect macarons taste great and can make you smile in these difficult days.
Queque, queki or keke, even in Panama they can’t decide how to write the name of this traditional cookie. Every family has their own recipe for queki cookies. In some recipes you will only find coconut and sugar cane syrup (miel de caña) as flavoring. In other recipes you can find almost all of the spices used in gingerbread or the Dutch speculaas. Queki cookies from Panama are sometimes made with eggs which makes them light and fluffy. I chose a version without egg with a slightly more compact result. If you don’t bake these cookies too long, they will stay soft, if you bake them a little longer, they will become nice and crunchy. I prefer the crunchy version of the queki cookie from Panama, but just try and find out which one is your favorite!
Tasty autumnal spices give this mandazi with coffee and cinnamon its warming taste. This deep-fried cookie is a variation on the traditional mandazi from Kenya. In the traditional version, only cardamom is used. That spice combines so well with coffee and cinnamon! After baking, I sprinkled the mandazi generously with cinnamon sugar. Nice to dip in chocolate milk as you do with Spanish churros, but also delicious with a cup of coffee for breakfast.
From a technical point of view, mandazi may not be proper cookies. But these fried triangles are the most popular snack in Kenya and many countries in East Africa. They are usually not very sweet and they are eaten as a snack with a spicy cup of chai tea, given for breakfast and even served with curries. Mandazi are a real street food that you buy fresh from the fryer at a stand along the road.
This recipe is for the simplest and quickest mandazi. Nowadays you can find them in all shapes, flavors and sizes. But for all Mandazi from Kenya goes: eat them as soon as possible after you have made them. Then they will still be soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. If you leave them for too long, they will become tough and dry. And don’t forget the icing sugar!
For my variation on the classic shaker churec cookie from Azerbaijan I did not change the recipe much. I only add some saffron and make the cookie in a little circle. I also mix some into the egg yolk with which I brush the saffron butter cookie. Saffron is widely cultivated in Azerbaijan and used in both savory and sweet dishes. Crumble the threads well before use and mix with a little bit of warm water. This releases the aromas and taste from this special spice. You only need a little bit of saffron for a lot of taste. That is a good thing because saffron is one of the most expensive spices in the world. It is the dried stigmata and style from the inside of the saffron crocus. These small threads give this saffron butter cookie beautiful golden color and a wonderfully floral taste.
Saffron butter cookie
for about 8 cookies
± 12 strands of saffron
140 g butter
1 egg (M)
100 g icing sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract or ¼ tsp vanilla powder
225 g flour
Crumble the saffron in a small bowl. Add a few drops of hot water. The saffron should be nice and wet, but not swimming in the water. Leave to soak for about 5 min.
Melt the butter in a small pan.
Separate the egg.
Mix the butter with the powdered sugar and then add the vanilla, egg whites, half of the egg yolk, half of the wet saffron and the flour.
Mix well and Leave to rest in the fridge for ± 1 hour to firm up.
Preheat the oven to 180 °C / 350 °F. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Mix the rest of the egg yolk with the rest of the saffron. Form 8 balls of ± 45 g (the size of a large walnut) from the dough. Roll into a rope and brush with the saffron egg yolk. Place them on the baking sheet. Leave enough space between the cookies because they will spread. Make a small indentation in each ball and dab with a little egg yolk.
Bake in the middle of the oven for 15-20 min. until lightly browned. Take the saffron cookies out of the oven and leave to cool on the cookie sheet. Dust with icing sugar.