Saturday, November 19, 2011

Challenge recipe 16: Chocolate macarons

Another day, another challenge recipe! I hadn't intended to post these back to back, but whatever I was planning on writing about today has gone completely out of my head, so you get this instead!

For several months now, my brother's girlfriend has been trying to persuade me to make macarons. So of course, when I finally caved and made them, we ate them all and she didn't get any. WHOOPS. Anyway, if you're unfamiliar with macarons, here's what they're supposed to look like:
Source

Mine didn't really turn out looking like that. But I think I know where I went wrong and could rectify it pretty easily in the future!

Anyway, here's the book.

And here's what you'll need:

Start with 1 cup of icing sugar:

Sift it into a bowl. It helps if you're as messy as possible and get it all over the sides. Then add 1/2 cup of almond meal:

Add 25g of cocoa powder. I used a heaped tablespoon, but I'm pretty sure an Australian tablespoon is bigger than a tablespoon anywhere else in the world. What can I say, we like to be different!

Mix it all together and put to one side. In a separate bowl, put 4 large egg whites. You don't need the yolks, so put them in the freezer or something.

Beat the egg whites until (as Nigella says) "half stiff". I have no idea what that really means, so I beat them until they looked like this:

Sprinkle in 25g of caster sugar. Again, I used a heaped tablespoon:

Continue whisking until the egg whites hold peaks (Nigella, in typical fashion, says "until very stiff, but not dry"... *eye roll*):

Gradually fold in the sifted ingredients:


This was the point where I realised that I couldn't find our piping bag. I had the nozzles and everything, but not the bag. So I kludged together a solution with a ziploc bag. Macgyver's got nothing on me!:

Dump the macaron mixture into your really authentic piping bag and take a terrible photo of it:

Line a couple of baking trays and pipe out 5cm rounds. Or, if you're me, decide that the way to do it will be to pipe in a spiral. DO NOT BE ME:

Let them sit for 15 minutes to develop of a skin. Bake them for 12-15 minutes at 180 degrees C.

Remove them to a cooling rack immediately. DO NOT BE ME AND LEAVE THEM THERE FOR FIVE MINUTES. You'll rip the bottoms off them all :(

Next, make some ganache and completely forget to take photos of the process. Take 150g of dark chocolate, 90mL of double cream and 45g of unsalted butter. Heat it all together, stirring regularly, until the chocolate is just melted. Whisk it until it's thick and let it cool. When it's cooled, use a knife to spread it on the bottom of one macaron, then sandwich another one on top. I actually wound up using a ziploc piping bag because I was worried that they'd fall apart, given how thin they ended up.

Here's the final product:

The verdict? They were freaking delicious. Sure, they didn't turn out quite how they were supposed to. But they tasted like they were supposed to. They had that slight crunch on the outside and the meringue-y centre and OMG SO GOOD. I'm definitely going to be making them again and trying to get them into that more traditional macaron shape!

Has anyone else made macarons? What recipe did you use? And most importantly, how did they turn out?!

K xx

10 comments:

  1. ok seriously can we have a dessert day? We can make macarons, we can overcome your fear of the ice cream making? It'll fabulous.

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  2. I agree with Deidre, and when you have a dessert day, let me know, Canberra isn't too far away! I'm taking a Macaroon making class in Sydney...I wonder how I'll go!

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  3. I'm constantly forgetting to take photos whilst baking. I just tell myself that my "word pictures" are enough.

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  4. @Deidre - Um, YES. We definitely need to do this. It's a genius idea!!
    @Kathy - they were pretty awesome!
    @Vanisha - That would be amazing, especially if we hold off until after you go to the class so that we know how to make them properly!!!

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  5. @Lauren - your word pictures are definitely enough!

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  6. hhmmmmmnomnomnom - food for thought :) Alex's brother, Robin, went all physics/chemistry student on these and recommends being really retentive about the measurements and to use a big wide piping nozzle to create and elegant blob on the baking tray for the biscuits. Also - rosemary and chocolate flavoured ones are AWESOME.

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  7. Hi there, thanks for sharing this. I have always seen Macaroons to be something magical-impossible-to-make-at-home, but you made it look easy and doable. I wanna try! :)

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  8. @Kat - I was pretty good on the measurements. I'm usually a bit of a "that's close enough"-er, but I've heard that macarons are finicky, so tried to be precise. I think most of the problem was the lack of the right nozzle for the piping bag - all I had was a star tip!!
    @New Life in Spain - thanks for stopping by!! I'm not sure how authentic they are, but they taste pretty much the same as the store bought ones, and that's what matters! :)

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  9. I've never had them but they look delicious. Anything that can be done in rainbow colors is A-OK in my book.

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