I decided to make these as a gift for someone who bestowed upon me the kindest gift of all, the tickets to the Iron Chef dinner. I racked my brains for ages trying to come up with the perfect combination which of course had to include macadamias and in a minute of inspiration I decided to make use of these gorgeous Patons White Chocolate coated macadamias which I had tried many moons ago. They have a gorgeous toffee coating between the nut and the chocolate and are addictively moreish.
If you think I've made a typo by suggesting that you use salted macadamia nuts for the praline, fear not, I haven't. I first tried a caramel and salt combination at Laduree in Paris in one of their famed macarons and adored it, it wasn't too salty at all, in fact the salt flavour was quite subtle but it boosted the flavour incredibly. The excess salt needs to be removed from the salted macadamias prior to using them (just rubbing with your hands will do) to ensure that it doesn't verge into the too-salty territory. And whilst I am a big eater of praline, this is my first successful time making it. Toffee was until now, my enemy as standing there waiting for toffee to boil was like the cooking equivalent watching paint dry and I'd inevitably wander off to do something and I'd end up with a horrible burnt mess, clouds of smoke and smoke alarms blaring. This time I stayed put and as soon as the caramel started to brown, I took it of the heat immediately and poured it over the nuts and voila! It worked. My nemesis no more!
I won't say that this recipe is simple, its fiddly due to the many parts but you could easily omit the praline if you're pressed for time or effort.
White Chocolate and Macadamia Praline cupcakes
White chocolate caramel cake
- 60g white chocolate chopped roughly
- 90g butter
- 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2/3 cup (100g) SR flour
- 2 Tbs plain flour
- 1/4 cup hot water
White chocolate ganache (see recipe below)
Praline (see recipe below)
White chocolate coated macadamias
Step 1 - Preheat oven to moderate 180degrees/160 fan forced.
Step 2 - Melt chocolate in bowl over small saucepan of simmering water
Step 3 - Beat butter, sugar and eggs in small bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy
Step 4 - Fold in sifted flours and melted chocolate and hot water. Spoon into cases (do not overfill)
Step 5 - Bake for about 20-25 minutes. Cool in tin.
Step 6 - Cut a 2 cm deep hole in the centre of each cake, fill with praline, then chocolate ganache, cut off pointy ends of the cut out tops leaving a flat disc and replace tops with these discs and smooth surface carefully.
Step 7 - Roll fondant in discs, cut round or fluted outline with cutter and stamp with desired patterns using embossing plates. Top with flower and secure flower with thickish mixture of icing sugar and water.
White chocolate ganache
- 100g white chocolate, chopped
- 1/4 cup cream
Combine chocolate and cream in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir with a metal spoon until smooth. Remove bowl from heat.
Set aside at room temperature to cool, stirring occasionally, until ganache is thick and spreadable.
- 1/3 cup salted macadamias (excess salt removed by rubbing)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
Step 1 - Lay out macadamias on a baking tray covered in baking paper.
Step 2 - In a small saucepan on low heat dissolve sugar in water. Once sugar is fully dissolved, turn up heat and leave boiling without stirring for 5 minutes (set timer if necessary) watching like a hawk and resisting all natural instincts to wander off. As soon as it starts to turn a caramel colour, remove from heat and carefully pour over macadamias (it will be very hot so kitchen theatrics are not encouraged at this stage).
Step 3 - Wait to harden and then process in food processor until resembles crunchy breadcrumbs.