It is no secret that I’ve been using my iPad to help out in the kitchen, so when I was asked to review the new Hardie Grant Bite Size Treats app – an all things sweet recipe app for the iPhone and iPad, I quickly agreed.
My 7 year old kitchen assistant has been keen to explore cooking on her own lately, and while I’ve been writing recipes for her, I knew she would love the idea of using this recipe app in her kitchen, too.
About the app
Featuring over 50 of the most trendy treat recipes and presented in an easily accessible format with mouth-watering photography, the Bite Size Treats app has something for everyone: macarons, cake pops, cupcakes, bites bars & tartlets, icy treats, whoopie pies, jellies and other cute things.
To be honest, there were so many delicious treats to choose from we had a hard time picking our top 5. The 7 year old assistant reviewer found the pictures and recipes for things she wanted to make very appetising and liked the ‘girly’ pink theme of the app, emphasising the cuteness of the content.
What we cooked
After much consideration, we decided to attempt our first macarons. We opted for the Persian rose macarons (recipe below) because they reminded us of Turkish Delight - a treat that Dad loves. We also made some Mango lassi ice pops sans the rum as a refreshing after dinner treat for another night.
The app in detail
To fully test what seemed like a good functionality of the app, we favourited 5 recipes we thought would be fun to try – this is quite easily done by clicking the love heart on the Summary page of each recipe.
While little Miss was keen on making Jelly appletinis, I had to disappoint her and explain the treat was for grown ups only. The same went for G&T pops, which were her ‘instead of’ choice when prompted. So, if there is one thing we would suggest at this point is for the next update to include a kids / grown ups / all recipe selection modes considering the app is rated for ages 4 and up.
When it came to the app in action though, it did not disappoint.
The layout of each recipe ‘card’ is very user friendly with the Summary, Ingredients and Method page headings featuring clearly at the top. Both metric and imperial measurements are supported and can be easily changed in the app settings. There is also an Oven timer to help keep track of cooking times – handy especially on the iPad, which doesn’t come with a clock / timer as standard.
Clicking through to Ingredients, you have the option to add individual items or the entire list to a Shopping List which is divided by generic supermarket aisles, as well as sorted by recipes. Checked items can be easily removed or the whole shopping list can be cleared at once. This is great, especially if you opt to install the app on your iPhone making for an easy point of reference when shopping.
What we liked about the Method instructions was that they were clear, even for a 7 year old to follow. A tickbox next to each step ensured that we could easily locate where we were up to.
If there is one other thing I would change, it is the fact that many of the recipes make 30-50 pieces. The 5 cupcake recipes for example average 36 cupcakes each and if you’re thinking of making churros be prepared for 70 pieces! The numbers are slightly odd, I’m guessing 12 cupcakes would be a standard for most recipes, and 70 churros to me is slightly excessive, and a little off-putting when I’m looking for bite size treats. It’s always easier to double a recipe than to halve it and most of the recipes could be accommodated to make a few less portions, but that could just be my own personal preference.
Having said that we liked that the yield was listed under each recipe heading in the main category view.
Mr Chipconnoisseur (aka Dad) loved the macarons and Little Miss, a big cupcake aficionado, actually opted for a Mango lassi icy pop instead of cupcakes the first chance she had. We were very pleased with the content of the app - range of recipes, gorgeous well thought out execution, and the ease of navigation. Aside from a few minor tweaks, we think the app is great value for any cook who has a little sweet tooth in them.
We are already planning our next cooking adventure with Bite Size Treats.
Where to buy Bite Size Treats
RECIPE FROM THE APP: Turkish Delight macarons
Makes about 30. You will find these little treats in the Macaron section of the Bite Size Treats app under Persian Rose macarons. We have renamed them because they reminded us of Turkish Delight, Dad’s favourite treat. (Photo sourced from the app)
For the macarons:
- 80g almond meal
- 40g pistachio kernels
- 220g icing sugar
- 110g egg white
- 30g caster sugar
- green food colouring (gel or powder preferable)
For the rose buttercream:
- 100g caster sugar
- 2 egg whites
- 150g unsalted butter at room temperature
- 3 tsp rose water
- pink food colouring (gel or powder preferable)
To make the macarons: line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
Process the almond meal, pistachio kernels and icing sugar in a food processor until the pistachios are finely chopped, then sift twice.
Place the egg white in a bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium speed until frothy, then increase speed while gradually adding the caster sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form.
Mix in enough food colouring for desired effect.
Fold one-third of the egg white into the almond mixture and combine well. Gently fold through the remaining egg white mixture; it should be glossy and thick, not think and runny.
Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a 5mm plain nozzle and pipe 3cm circles about 3cm apart onto the trays.
Leave at room temperature for 1-6 hours or until a crust forms; the macarons should be no longer sticky to the touch.
Preheat oven to 140C.
Bake the macarons for 15-18 minutes until they rise slightly. Remove rom oven and slide the macarons and paper off the trays onto wire racks to cool completely.
To make the rose buttercream: place the sugar and egg whites in the top of a double boiler over medium heat and whisk for 3-4 minutes or until warm and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat.
Using electric beaters, beat mixture on medium-high speed for 6-7 minutes or until glossy and stiff peaks form. Reduce the speed and add the butter, 1 teaspoon at a time, beating after each addition.
Mix in the rosewater and enough pink food colouring for desired effect.
Spoon about 1 tsp of the butter cream onto half of the macarons. Sandwich with the remaining macarons.