Cast our minds back a little way ... ok, a fair way ... to my first day of high school. That's grade seven in Tassie, and to add insult to injury it was also my 12th birthday. How sucky is that! Anyhoo, our old house only had a bath in the bathroom, no shower, so you can imagine the military organisation that was required each and every morning to get two children and two adults ready for school / work. Baths were run, teeth were cleaned and hair was brushed and then when the pounding on the door got too much to listen to any more you trundled off to your bedroom to finish getting ready.
Now on this particular day I'm not too sure what went wrong, probably it was eagerness to start high school (yeah right!), or the promise of cake and presents on my return from school, or maybe it was just the pounding on the door? Suffice to say that my preparation time was slightly hurried. Don't get me wrong, the dunking in the bath, the cleaning of the teeth and the brushing of the hair all still happened, but there was definitely less finesse than there should have been.
My Mum had freshly pressed my brand new school uniform and laid it out on my bed for me. I can recall being quite excited to wear my new uniform, keen to replace the uniform of the previous seven years which was white with navy blue checks to a uniform of light blue with dark blue stripes! I know, its a shame for me! So ... the drying of my body may not have been quite as thorough as it should have been. I throw my new dress over my head and started doing the buttons up. When the trickle of water started to run down my back I honestly didn't think much of it, taking what I thought was the practical approach to the issue I simply rubbed my back dry. It wasn't until the trickle of water started to run up my back that some concern began to creep in.
I slid my hand onto my shoulder and onto it crawled a huntsmen spider, legs akimbo as its vast sized struggled to fit on my outstretched hand. I freaked out and flicked it from my hand onto my bed where it made its escape and I ran shrieking from the room. Let me tell you, the female victim's in horror movies who scream at the top of their lungs when they discover the axe murderer is hot on their heels is not a patch on me and a recent discovery of an 8 legged creature, so you can imagine how the roof was raised when one was close enough to touch me. I promptly told my parents there was no way I was going back in that room until the beast was found and executed ... and school wasn't looking good either!
Somehow my Mother managed to convince me that it was a good luck omen and nothing to get upset about, I can't recall who was dispatched to my room to deal with the unwelcome visitor but my instructions must have been followed because I continued sleeping in that room up until I started college and we moved house.
These Mac's are as close as I plan on ever getting to spider again. They are kind of my own recipe, or an adaptation of the normal recipe with some of my tweaks thrown in. If I was to think about eating a spider (OMG! Somebody get me a vodka! That's like those 'people' on I'm a Celebrity holding one in their mouth! Why??? Why would anybody do this?!? Madness I tell you) then I reckon they would taste like liquorice. And I also think that their insides would be like melted marshmallows, all gooey and gunky. Sufficiently grossed out yet? Here is the recipe ;0)
Raw Liquorice and Marshmallow Mac's
90g egg whites (use egg whites that have been left for 3-5 days in the fridge)
25g vanilla caster sugar
200g icing sugar
110g ground almonds
1 1/2 tsp raw liquorice powder
1 tsp black food gel
White Chocolate drops
Black food icing pen
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a bubble bath like foam. Gradually add the caster sugar until the meringue is glossy, a bit like shaving foam.
Place the icing sugar and almonds in a food processor with the raw liquorice powder and pulse until everything is finely ground. Add them to the meringue along withe the black gel colouring, give it a quick turn to knock a little of the air out and then gently fold in until the mixture falls back on itself after counting to 10. 50 turns should do it but if not give it a couple more turns, you are looking for the small peak on top to flatten out once it is piped.
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip and pipe small rounds onto parchment paper lined trays. Remember that the mixture will spread a little so give them some room to grow. Wrap the trays on the bench and then leave the macs to dry for 30 mins to an hour so the shells harden to the touch. While this is happening preheat the oven to 150C. When ready, bake for 15 to 20 mins, depending on their size. Let cool.
To fill them spread (as best you can) a spoonful of marshmallow fluff on the flat side of the shell. Top this with 4 liquorice straps and then another mac shell. On top of this add some edible glue and two white chocolate drops. Use a black icing pen to add a wee drop of colouring to the centers of the white chocolate drops, thus creating eye's.
To make red back spiders, place two mac mixtures close together on the parchment so they grow together when baked. Once cooled paint some edible glue on one shell and sprinkle over some edible red glitter. Then complete as per the above instructions.
Adapted from Tartelette