Tag Archives: Zumbo

Oreos macarons


What else can I turn into a macaron? I wondered out loud one day at the supermarket.

It’s been eight months, and I am still making macarons. I can’t see this quest finishing any time soon and I don’t think this is a phase either.

Having read and watched Adriano Zumbo make his macarons, I can see how far and wide you could reach to create a new flavour. No longer am I satisfied with just colouring my shells and filling them with ingredients that matches that particular colour of the shell – I want people to eat my macarons and actually think they are eating popcorn instead, for example.

So I wander in the supermarket aisles, looking out for any contestants that has the potential to survive a macaron makeover.

Ah hah – I spot a large packet of Oreos, cookies and cream biscuits made by Kraft. They look like macarons already! Mwaaahaahaa I rub my hands together with glee, as the little oreos scream ‘don’t blitz us please’….

Another wonderful Masterchef ‘invention test’ macaron flavour I think.

kitty cat oreos

Macarons shell ingredients
150 g icing sugar
130 g almond meal
20 g ground oreo shells
8g valrhona cocoa powder
110 g egg whites, split into 2 bowls of 55g each
150 g caster sugar
38 ml water
1 g meringue powder

Making macarons shells

Open the oreo shells and scrape off the cream filling. Reserve.

Grind oreo shells in a powerful food processor or magic bullet and gave it 15 seconds of blitzing and there you’ll have finely grounded, cookie crumbs.

Sift the almond meal, icing sugar, cocoa powder and cookie crumbs, 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 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.

mixing the batter – slap it confidentaly a few times too
Ready for piping

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

Sprinkle some of the ground Oreo cookies onto half of the shells.

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, I could see them rising nicely.

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

I paired these with a cookies and cream filling

Filling Ingredients:
5 Oreos (blitzed) + remaining cream centres from previous shells
150g butter
120g icing sugar

Instructions:
Cream butter and sugar together.
Blitz the cookies and mix in with the creamed sugar.

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, so don’t eat it yet! These freeze well (up to 3 months).

Popcorn macarons with salted caramel and popcorn ‘snow’


I’ve been slowly working through my macaron flavour list and finally arrived at popcorn!

popcorn popcorn

My memories of popcorn brings me back to my high school days. It would be the last day of school before the summer holiday, and we would typically change from our school uniforms to causal wear and head out for an afternoon of fun. The bunch of us might go to see a movie (Finding Nemo, I think on this occasion) and for me, if I was having popcorn, it would always be sweet flavoured popcorn, not butter popcorn actually. It was quite a shock for me when I first went to a cinema here in NZ and discovered they only make fresh butter flavoured popcorn! The distinction was so profound I still haven’t understood or gotten over this simple fact. In honoring that memory, I have therefore used sweet popcorn in this version of my macarons. I was initially worried it would be way too sweet, but as it turns out this brand of sweet microwave popcorn wasn’t nearly as sweet as actual caramel popcorn, so the pairing of it with a salted caramel filling was subtle and appropriate.

Macarons shell ingredients

150 g icing sugar
150 g almond meal
6g valrhona cocoa powder
110 g egg whites
150 g caster sugar
38 ml water
1g meringue powder
1 packet sweet microwave popcorn

Making macarons shells

Follow the popcorn packet instructions and get the popcorn popping. You need to let it cool a bit before blitzing it to make the ‘snow’ (After my trip to Queenstown I am a bit obsessed with snow) and it seems to be a nice treat to snack on while you are working on a piece of art – macarons that is.

When they are cool, blitz about half of the bag, taking care to remove the burnt ones, if any.

Now for the shells.
Sift the almond meal, icing sugar and cocoa powder, set aside in a large wide bowl.

Put half of the 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. Don’t splash the sugar around, and don’t stir. Use a clean pastry brush to brush down the side of the saucepan to avoid any crystallization if the liquid splashes up. Increase the heat.

Cook the sugar syrup until it reaches 70°C. You should monitor your sugar thermometer, and as it reaches this temperature, 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, decrease the mixer speed to 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 extra egg white 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.

Ready for piping

Scoop half into a piping bag fitted with a #12 Wilton tip, and pipe.

Today I waited for 30 minutes for a skin to form.

I fan-baked them at 125°C, for 20 minutes. After a few minutes in the oven, I could see them rising nicely.

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

I paired these with a salted caramel with popcorn ‘snow’ filling

Filling Ingredients:
200g castor sugar
310ml fresh cream
50g butter, cubed
5g good quality salt flakes
A few drops of vanilla essence
2 tbsp popcorn snow

Instructions:

Heat the sugar in a wide saucepan until melted and golden colour.
Be careful and wait for it to turn amber and slightly smoke.
Carefully add the cream in slowly, continuing to whisk but be very careful of the resulting vigorous bubbling.
Add the butter in gradually until melted and combined.
Add in salt flakes, vanilla essence and the popcorn snow.
Cool in fridge for a few hours.

Pairing up:
put the salted caramel onto half of the shells.

Melt a litte bit of butter (20g) and brush the tops of the other half of the shells with butter, and then dip it into the popcorn snow. Pipe or use a small offset spatula, place salted caramel filling onto the other half of the shells and pair up.

I’ve rolled some of my macarons in the snow completely too.

These 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).

100s and 1000s macaron with salted caramel filling


I’ve been working on a new macaron flavour and I think I have invented one – well at least in the cyber world of Google.
The inspirations came from my daughter J, who loves the sprinkles on cupcakes. She asked if she could sprinkle the 100s and 1000s onto my last batch of macarons, and while I immediately replied ‘no…’ the seed was planted.
thank you J for this idea!

Macarons shell ingredients
130 g icing sugar
150 g almond meal
20 g ground 100s and 1000s sprinkles
110 g egg whites
150 g caster sugar
38 ml water

Making macarons shells

Grind 100s and 1000s in a powerful nut processor until they are finely grounded. I dug out my magic bullet and gave it 15 seconds of blitzing and there I have finely grounded, colourful sprinkles.

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. Some recipes say you should stir this gently – I’ve found that so long as I didn’t splash the sugar around, I won’t even have to stir. Use a clean pastry brush to brush down the side of the saucepan to avoid any crystallization if the liquid splashes up. Increase the heat.

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

Once the sugar syrup has reached 118°C (soft ball stage), take the saucepan off the heat, decrease the mixer speed to 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 extra egg white 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.

mixing the batter – slap it confidentaly a few times too
Ready for piping

Scoop half into a piping bag fitted with a #12 Wilton tip, and pipe.

Today I waited for 30 minutes for a skin to be formed.

I fan-baked them at 125°C, for 20 minutes. After a few minutes in the oven, I could see them rising nicely.

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

Salted caramel filling with more sprinkles

I paired these with a salted caramel filling

Filling Ingredients:
200g castor sugar
310ml fresh cream
7g good quality salt flakes
A few drops of vanilla

Instructions:
Make a toffee with the sugar (heat until melted and golden)
Carefully add the cream in slowly (continue to whisk but bewarned of vigourous bubbling!)
Add the butter in gradually until melted and combined. Add in salt flakes.
Cool in fridge over night (or for a few hours).

These 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).

Then I thought why not dunk it?

dunked…and went overboard.
Dunked with glorious star-shapped hundreds and thousands

Which one do you prefer? Lightly sprinkled or dunked?

Mango Madness Macarons


A word of warning – this is an incredibly sweet macaron. Perhaps due to the fact that I have not acquired the taste of white chocolate; rather, I have loved the bitterness of dark chocolate from as far back as I can remember. The sweetness of the white chocolate came as a shock to me.

Macaron shells
140g almond meal
10g freeze dried mango powder
150 g icing sugar
55 g egg whites (about 1.5 egg)
2 g meringue powder
150 g caster sugar
38g water
2-3 drops of orange coloring
55 g egg whites extra

Mango White Chocolate ganache
200 mango purée (bought from Asian grocery shops)
250g white chocolate buttons pouring cream
4g gelatine sheets

Measure out all the ingredients first.

Line 3 baking trays each with a macaron template (see a previous post for a template) and layer non stick baking paper over.

Combine the almond meal, mango powder and icing sugar in a large bowl. Using a large spoon, push the mix through a fine sieve into a second large bowl. You may want to repeat this process to make sure there are absolutely no clumps. This is essential for a fine, smooth macaron.

20120320-103716.jpg

The next step involves some multi-tasking /tandem cooking.
Put the first lot of egg whites into your stand mixer – highly recommended as you really need free hands to do this step.
Into a smallish saucepan, put the caster sugar and water and dissolve the sugar over a low heat, stirring gently. Use a clean pastry brush to brush down the side of the saucepan to avoid any crystallization. Clip the sugar thermometer according to manufacturer’s instructions. Increase the heat and bring to the boil.
Add your food coloring – the amount depends on the strength of your gel, what depth of colour you desire and how it mixes with other ingredients. Practice is the only way to test it out. I scrapped 2-3 tiny balls out using a tooth pick, so about 1/4 teaspoon.

Cook this until it reaches 118°C (soft ball stage). You should monitor your sugar thermometer, and as it reaches about 90°C temperature, add the meringue powder to the egg whites and whisk in medium until it becomes frothy.

Once the sugar syrup has reached 118°C, take the saucepan off the heat, increase the mixer speed to high 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.) Whisk until the bowl is warm to touch, about 8 minutes.

20120320-090348.jpg

Add the extra egg white to the almond meal mix, then add the meringue and use a large spatula to thoroughly combine it. Continue folding the mixture to soften the meringue. When ready for piping, the mixture should fall off the spatula with the ribbons dropping back into the bowl and incorporating with the rest of the mixture in a lava-like fashion.

Scoop the mixture into a piping bag (stand the piping bag in a tall glass if you can’t quite scoop and hold the bag at the same time) with a 12mm plain tip. Holding the bag slightly above the tray, pipe from the centre of each template circle to make a 4cm round. Keep it just within the border of each template cirlce. Do so without moving your tip to ensure your round is actually round in shape. At the end of piping each round, flick your tip from 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock quickly to end the piping action. The tip on top should drop back and result in a smooth top.

Leave the macarons at room temperature for 30 minutes until a skin forms. It might take longer in humid days. Preheat your oven to 135°C around 20 minutes into this step (you know your oven best – I use fan force and have it on at 125°C). Test the skin by gently touching the side of a macaron with your fingertip – it should not be sticky. This is important as the skin lifts while the macaron cooks, resulting in the all important ‘foot’!

Bake the macarons for 16 minutes, until a firm outer shell has formed. Remove from the oven and let it rest for 2 minutes. Check if it is done by gently removing one with a spatula – the base should be cooked and dry. If it isn’t, return the tray to the oven for 2 minutes extra. Cool the macarons completely on the trays.

While the macarons are cooking, you can start on the ganache. Put the white chocolate buttons in a bowl. Soak the gelatine leaves in a bowl with some water until it has bloomed. Heat the mango purée and bring it to a boil. Squeeze excess water from the gelatine and add to the hot mango purée. Stir to dissolve the gelatine completely. Pour over the white chocolate and stir to cool slightly. Put cling film over the bowl and place in fridge to set, about 30 minutes.

Fill a piping bag with a 10mm plain tip. Half fill only, pushing it down towards the tip and give the bag a twist. Make sure the bag is firmly packed as it allows you better control when piping. Pipe the ganache on the flat side of half of the macaron shells, filling about 3/4 of the surface.

Top with the remaining shells. Box the finished macarons and keep it in the fridge overnight to set. Bring to room temperature to serve.

20120320-104140.jpg