Tag Archives: macaron

Gingerbread macarons


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Since it’s Christmas, I’m sure you’d agree with me that it’s appropriate to have macarons flavoured for the merry season.

It’s been a while since I’ve designed a new flavour for my macarons, as I’ve been far too busy dreaming up other desserts [see previous posts for Tarts]. However as I prepare for our trip to HK, I’m yet again faced with a dilemma – what flavours should I make and bring?

Salted caramel and creme brulee have been past favourites and an idea was formed one afternoon while I was sipping a spiced vanilla creme brulee drink – it tasted totally like gingerbread biscuits…! And so this is how this recipe came about…Merry Christmas!
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Macarons shell ingredients
(makes about 40 macarons)
150g icing sugar
150g almond meal
110g egg whites, split into 2 bowls of 55g each
150g caster sugar
38ml water
1g meringue powder
2 drops of gel colouring, I used brown for half my shells and sky blue for the other half.

Spiced chocolate and caramel ganache
1/2 cup Salted caramel (See recipe in salted caramel macaron recipe)

120g 28% cocoa White chocolate
60ml cream
1 star anise
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon

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Instructions

  1. Follow my basic recipe to make the shells.
  2. Heat cream and the star anise till it just begins to boil. Remove the star anise and pour over white chocolate that has been broken up into small pieces in a bowl.
  3. Wait for a minute before stiring. Leave in the fridge for 10 minutes for it to set a bit and mix in with your half cup of salted caramel.
  4. Mix in spices.
  5. Spread or pipe a teaspoon of your spiced chocolate ganache on half of your shells and top them with the remaining half of your shells.
  6. The filled macarons need to be kept in the fridge for 24 hours for the filling to soften the shells and also for the flavour to fully develop.

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Chestnut macarons


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Chestnuts have a special place in my memories. From the great – chestnut cream layered sponge cake that was to be found at most birthday celebrations (mango is also a very popular option) – to the not so great – braised chicken with chestnuts. Well at least I remember not liking it so much because I felt that the dish was too singular in texture with everything soft tasting and lacking contrast. I do have to mention though that my favourite way of having chestnuts is having them almost raw. Just blanched, peeled, popped into an airtight bag and away you go. I remember having these as snacks on my hikes across the hills.

Chestnut purée is, however, a totally different matter. When made with the proper balance of chestnut, water, sugar and cream, it becomes one of the tastiest element in any dessert. Take the classic Mont Blanc chestnut tart. Fine strands of piped chestnut cream perched on top of a dome of silky mousse, who can resist! Take it up another notch by tempering this smooth delicate entremet with the intense flavour and sweetness of a candied chestnut. Simply divine.

Ever since I tried Joel Robuchon’s chestnut tart at Le Salon De The de Joel Robuchon in Hong Kong, I have had my heart set on making chestnut macarons. This week I finally had time and oh boy what an amazing flavour. I think it is close to knocking salted caramel off its place and claim the top seat of my all time favourite macaron.

Macarons shell ingredients
(makes about 40 macarons)
150g icing sugar
150g almond meal
110g egg whites, split into 2 bowls of 55g each
150g caster sugar
38ml water
1g meringue powder
2 drops of gel colouring, I used brown for half my shells and white for the other half.

Chocolate Chestnut purée

120g 28% cocoa White chocolate
60ml cream
120g chestnut purée

Instructions

Follow my basic recipe to make the shells.
You can add some cocoa powder to the shells (as I have done here) to add depth to the shells.
Heat cream till it just begins to boil and pour over white chocolate that has been broken up in small pieces in a bowl. Wait for a minute before stiring. Leave in the fridge for 10 minutes for it to set a bit and mix in chestnut purée.
Spread or pipe a teaspoon of chocolate chestnut purée on half of your shells and top them with the remaining half of your shells.
The filled macarons need to be kept in the fridge for 24 hours for the filling to soften the shells and also for the flavour to fully develop.

Creme brûlée macarons


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Thinking about creme brûlée desserts, what comes to your mind right away? For me it is the scent of caramel and vanilla, the beautiful golden colour of the brittle on top, the cracking sound of it breaking as you lightly but assertively knock it with your spoon and then the velvety creamy custard as you taste. Every spoonful is a delight. This is one dessert that occupies all of my senses and it sends shivers down my spine every time I find a good one.

I’ve been thinking about this and did a bit of research. Turns out this is just how food science researchers are describing the current trends and developments in the food industry. More and more chefs are recognising the importance of flavor science or neurogastronomy in improving the overall dining experience. Think Ferran Adrià and Heston Blumenthal. Inventive chefs making food so much more than it ever was by engaging all of our senses and enhancing our dining experience. This a great interview with Charles Spencer, a researcher in the study of how we experience our meals.

I wanted to recreate some of that multi-sensory experience in my macarons by making a vanilla bean chocolate and caramel filling. I also added salt flakes to my filling, essentially making a salted caramel filling, to punctuate the sweetness overall. The result: small morsels that reminds me of the joys and excitement of each creme brûlée which I can easily transport to my lucky tasters. After all you can’t readily carry around wobbly little pots and have a blow torch on hand all the time!

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Macarons shell ingredients
150 g icing sugar
150 g almond meal
110 g egg whites, split into 2 bowls of 55g each
150 g caster sugar
38 ml water
1 g meringue powder
a few drops of brown and white gel colouring
Follow my basic recipe to make the shells. I paired these with a salted caramel filling.

Filling Ingredients:
200g castor sugar
125ml fresh cream
50g butter, cubed
5g good quality salt flakes
A few drops of vanilla essence
100g white chocolate
50ml cream

Instructions:
Heat the sugar in a wide saucepan until it is melted. Be really careful and wait for it to turn amber/ golden and slightly smoke. Carefully add the cream in slowly, continuing to whisk but be aware of the resulting vigorous bubbling. Add the butter in gradually until it is melted and combined. Add in salt flakes and vanilla essence. Cool in the fridge for a few hours.
Make white chocolate ganache by heating cream and pouring over pieces of white chocolate. Let it sit and then stir till it thickens. Mix ganache with a few tablespoons of salted caramel. Return to the fridge for it to thicken. Fill half of your shells and top them with the remaining half of your shells. The filled macarons need to be kept in the fridge for 24 hours for the filling to flavour the shells. These freeze really well (up to 3 months).

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Earl Grey macarons


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Finally I held my first macaron class this weekend!

After sampling my macarons at a gathering last week, a few of my friends asked for a class and as the saying goes ‘Strike while the iron is hot’ we organised for a class straight away.

While we did some of my usual flavours, like coffee and raspberry, we also tried making Earl Grey tea macarons.
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I’ve never been a fan of Earl Grey tea – my earlier memory of this tea was that of a bitter, overpowering flavour that I grew an instant dislike after a first sip.

Nevertheless we gave this a try. I decided to flavour both the shells and the filling by adding the crushed leaves from a Dilmah Strong Earl Grey tea bag, half into the shell mixture and half into the white chocolate ganache.

White chocolate was also chosen over dark chocolate as the latter could overwhelm the tea flavour.

I was pleasantly surprised by the subtlety of this flavour pairing and even tried a cup of Earl Grey with it – now I wouldn’t mind having this with a few macarons for afternoon tea! This little experiment had completely turned my head around Earl Grey. I think the key is to watch your brewing time – follow the suggested brewing instructions and the flavour should be very smooth and palate-pleasing. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
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Macarons shell ingredients

150 g icing sugar

150 g almond meal

110 g egg whites, split into 2 bowls of 55g each

150 g caster sugar

38 ml water

1 g meringue powder

a few drops of black gel colourings

1/2 Dilmah strong earl grey tea bag

Making macarons shells

Sift the almond meal and icing sugar, set aside in a large wide bowl.

Put the first lot of egg whites into your stand mixer.

Clip the sugar thermometer according to manufacturer’s instructions to a milk saucepan, put the water and caster sugar in and dissolve the sugar over a low heat. Leave it to heat up and don’t stir it.

Cook the sugar syrup until it reaches 70°C. You should monitor your sugar thermometer, and as it reaches this temperature, add your gel colourings add the meringue powder to the egg whites and whisk in medium speed until it becomes frothy.

Once the sugar syrup has reached 118°C (soft ball stage), take the saucepan off the heat, keep the mixer speed on medium and slowly trickle the sugar syrup in, down the side of the bowl. (Be warned not to get the syrup onto the whisk as you will then have spun sugar.) Increase speed to high and whisk until the bowl is warm to touch, about 8 minutes.

Add the second lot of egg whites to the almond meal mix, then add the meringue and use a large spatula to thoroughly combine it. Continue mixing the mixture to soften the meringue. Don’t be afraid to slap the mixture down.To achieve “macaronnage”, I mixed the batter about 25 times. Don’t over do this.

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Add the tea leaves in and give it a quick light mix.

Scoop half into a piping bag fitted with a #12 Wilton tip, and pipe. To get even rounds, hold the piping bag above the baking sheet, with the tip at a 45 degree angle. Squeeze the mixture in the centre of the rounds and as it is close to filling the circle, stop squeezing and flick the tip from three o’clock to 6 o’clock. This ensures a smooth top.

Allow 30 minutes for a skin to be formed.

Fan-bake them at 125°C, for 18 minutes. After a few minutes in the oven, you should see them rising nicely.

Once out of the oven, the macarons were left for 2 minutes on its trays before I checked them. They should peel off the baking paper quite easily. Slide the whole sheet off the baking sheet onto a cool counter top. This causes a thermal shock and will make it even easier to peel off.

Filling Ingredients:

120g whittakers white chocolate

120ml cream

1/2 Dilmah strong tea bag leaves

Instructions:

Break up chocolate into small chunks. Bring cream up to a boil in a pan, and pour over the chocolate. Let it sit for a minute before stirring. Let it cool and let it thicken in the fridge. Add the tea leaves.

Spread a teaspoon of ganache on half of your shells or pipe and top them with the remaining half of your shells.

The filled macarons need to be kept in the fridge for 24 hours for the filling to flavour the shells, so don’t eat it yet! These freeze well (up to 3 months).

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Orange and dark chocolate ganache macarons


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I love orange-flavoured dark chocolate, to me that’s a match made in heaven and whenever I’m given the option of a variety of chocolate truffles, I would go for this over any other.

I’ve used Valrhona orange dark chocolate to make my ganache – I’ve been saving them for just this special occasion. They are so hard to come by and I was told when I bought this block that I only got it because the chef from Auckland’s top restaurant had ordered too much and didn’t need all of it. I didn’t mind this cast off at all – it was my lucky day!

I’ve used my normal macarons recipe, as below.

Macarons shell ingredients

150 g icing sugar

150 g almond meal

110 g egg whites, split into 2 bowls of 55g each

150 g caster sugar

38 ml water

1 g meringue powder

a few drops of gel colourings

Making macarons shells

Sift the almond meal and icing sugar, set aside in a large wide bowl.

Put the first lot of egg whites into your stand mixer.

Clip the sugar thermometer according to manufacturer’s instructions to a milk saucepan, put the water and caster sugar in and dissolve the sugar over a low heat. Leave it to heat up and don’t stir it.

Cook the sugar syrup until it reaches 70°C. You should monitor your sugar thermometer, and as it reaches this temperature, add your gel colourings add the meringue powder to the egg whites and whisk in medium speed until it becomes frothy.

Once the sugar syrup has reached 118°C (soft ball stage), take the saucepan off the heat, keep the mixer speed on medium and slowly trickle the sugar syrup in, down the side of the bowl. (Be warned not to get the syrup onto the whisk as you will then have spun sugar.) Increase speed to high and whisk until the bowl is warm to touch, about 8 minutes.

Add the second lot of egg whites to the almond meal mix, then add the meringue and use a large spatula to thoroughly combine it. Continue mixing the mixture to soften the meringue. Don’t be afraid to slap the mixture down.To achieve “macaronnage”, I mixed the batter about 25 times. Don’t over do this.

macronnage

Scoop half into a piping bag fitted with a #12 Wilton tip, and pipe. To get even rounds, hold the piping bag above the baking sheet, with the tip at a 45 degree angle. Squeeze the mixture in the centre of the rounds and as it is close to filling the circle, stop squeezing and flick the tip from three o’clock to 6 o’clock. This ensures a smooth top.

Allow 30 minutes for a skin to be formed.

Fan-bake them at 125°C, for 20 minutes. After a few minutes in the oven, you should see them rising nicely.

Once out of the oven, the macarons were left for 2 minutes on its trays before I checked them. They should peel off the baking paper quite easily. Slide the whole sheet off the baking sheet onto a cool counter top. This causes a thermal shock and will make it even easier to peel off.

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Filling Ingredients:

120g Valrhona orange chocolate

120ml cream

Instructions:

Break up chocolate into small chunks. Bring cream up to a boil in a pan, and pour over the chocolate. Let it sit for a minute before stirring. Let it cool and let it thicken in the fridge.

Spread a teaspoon of ganache on half of your shells or pipe and top them with the remaining half of your shells.

The filled macarons need to be kept in the fridge for 24 hours for the filling to flavour the shells, so don’t eat it yet! These freeze well (up to 3 months).

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