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Totally delicious hazelnut and cranberry macarons!

So here we are, already in February, battling the storms and longing for those calmer, brighter days of Spring - which really can't be that far away now. The daffodils are beginning to open their cheery, nodding heads and the early blossom is holding on for dear life, as the trees are rudely pummelled by Ciara and Dennis.

What better way to spend a wet and windy afternoon than to create February's macaron flavour. I particular like using hazelnuts in macarons, combining their sweet buttery flavour, with classic baking flavours such as vanilla, coffee or chocolate. This week, I took the hazelnut macaron to a new level, using a mixture of ground almonds, ground hazelnuts and cocoa powder in the shell, which, incidentally, doesn't require the addition of food colouring, as it is naturally a rich, nutty brown colour. Dark chocolate, double cream, and roughly chopped roasted hazelnuts made an unctuous ganache for the filling, but, just to up the ante, I added chopped, dried cranberries, and I have to admit that the result was extra special! Enjoyed with a hot cup of slightly savoury, robust Lapsang Souchong - a comforting combination on a ferocious February afternoon.

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