Heavenly Herbs: Lemon Balm and Mint Macarons

“Here’s flowers for you; Hot lavender, mints…” William Shakespeare

Traditional medical benefits of herbs have been used by herbalists and apothecaries throughout the centuries. Herbs do more than simply adding flavour and colour to dishes, their healing and restorative powers are pretty impressive too…

Mint has got to be one of the most versatile herbs around. No herb or vegetable garden should be without at least one of the 40 or so sweet-smelling members of the mint family, as they are simply too useful and too easy to grow to miss…

Lemon balm, a member of the mint family, is considered a calming herb. It was used as far back as the Middle Ages to reduce stress and anxiety, promote sleep, improve appetite, and ease pain and discomfort from indigestion. Even before the Middle Ages, lemon balm was steeped in wine to lift the spirits and help heal (physical and mental) wounds.

“Lemon balm causes the mind and heart to become merry.” Seraphio

When placed in unexpected food-hosts like macaron, herbs elevate the flavour from great to royal, the colour from nice to sensational, and the aroma from inviting to sexual, whilst also lessen the feeling of guilt…actually macarons with herbs have be eaten for the benefits, never mind the – rather generous – dusting of sugar…

“All that man needs for health and healing has been provided by God in nature, the challenge of science is to find it.” Philippus Theophrastrus Bombast

Ingredients
4 egg whites, at room temperature
200 g granulated sugar
130 almond meal
280 g confectioners sugar
3 tsp dried lemon balm
3 tsp dried mint
100 g dark chocolate, melted
100 g white chocolate, melted

Method
Sieve the almond meal and icing sugar together, set aside. Beat the egg whites over medium-high speed until they begin to froth, then add granulated sugar, gradually. Continue beating the mixture until eggs whites are glossy and stiff peaks form. Add half of the dry mixture to the egg whites, fold slowly until all ingredients are well combined, then repeat with the other half of the dry mixture. It should slowly dripping off the spatula back into the bowl and easily absorbing back into the batter at the bottom. Divide the batter in two. Mix 3 tsp dried lemon balm and yellow gel food colouring into half, and stir in the mint with green food colouring into the other half. Transfer batter into a piping bags, than pipe onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. When all the batter is piped out, firmly tap the baking sheet onto a hard surface. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C and bake the macarons for about 15 minutes. Remove from oven, lift parchment paper with macarons onto a wire rack and let cool completely. Fill mint macaron shells with dark chocolate and lemon balm macarons with white chocolate.

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