The queen of all the cookies and petit fours. To me, macarons is the ultimate dessert experience. They're sure to impress taste-wise and visual-wise.
With the quality of macarons that are available in Melbourne, I can assure you that 80 per cent out of the time, the macarons that you make at home will be far more superior than what you find in Melbourne, Australia.
First thing first, I am not a macaron expert. I'm just a home cook who have had a fair share of failed attempts and successes at making macarons.
I have been making macarons every weeks for about four months now for my own consumptions, work functions and friends. Due to my obsession with these little beauties, I've spent a substantial amount of time (too much time actually) researching, reading tips and going through online forums, and learning from my own mistakes. So, I think I know quite a few things about macarons.
If you want to make proper macarons, you need proper tools to achieve that. You'll need:
- Piping bag size 14 inch (350 mm). You can probably get away with smaller bag but I found this size is perfect for a batch producing 25 macarons.
- Pipping nozzle, 1cm plain round tip (size 11)
- Good quality (prefer heavy steel, commercial weight) sheet pan (baking pan). I love baking trays from MasterClass. They are made of heavy steel, got a commercial weight and reasonably priced. Good baking tray helps to insulate the heat and make the macarons rises better and give you the more uniformed macaron feet (those holy-grail of macaron lovers)
- Non-stick baking paper or silicone mat or Silpat
- Stand mixer or hand mixer (or a whisk with a strong arm)
- Scale (I prefer to measure the exact ingredients intead of going by volume measurement i.e. cup)
I tried Italian meringue method once and failed miserably. They weren't macarons, more like a macawrong. The shell was very tough, dry and crunchy. I think I could have broken my teeth biting into them. I think those macarons can kill the kangaroos too if they are hit with those tough macawrongs.
Note: since then, I have made a number of successful batches of macarons using Italian meringue method. I am now loving the Italian meringue techniques. You can find the details here.
The recipe and method given here is for French meringue method.
Macaron shell only has four basic ingredients, which are
- egg white,
- almond meal (ground almond),
- pure icing sugar (preferably pure without any cornstarch ), and
- caster sugar (fine sugar).
Macaron shells are sandwiched together by chocolate ganache, jam, buttercream, curd and again there are almost no limits on what you can do. Let your imagination runs wild.
Here is the basic macaron shell recipe,I recommend you read my first blog, I heart Macarons, here for more information. For other macaron flavours you can browse through my blog.
Basic Macaron Recipe
100g egg whites (3 extra large eggs, aged at room temperature at least 24 hours)
110g almond meal (ground almond, almond powder)
165g pure icing sugar
60g caster sugar (fine sugar)
colouring powder of liquid
I usually weight egg white before I weight other dry ingredients and I go by ratio of the dry ingredient against egg white as below:
egg white 1.00 part
almond meal 1.10 part
pure icing sugar 1.65 part
caster sugar 0.60 part
Process almond meal together with icing sugar in a food processor or blender (this process is optional, you can just sift the ingredient without regrinding them. However, if you'd like a super smooth macaron shell, processing is recommended).
Siifting almond meal and icing sugar together into a bowl.
|I find that pastry scraper works well with sifting. |
Use the scraper to help pushing dry ingredients through sieve.
If using colouring powder, mixing it with caster sugar (fine sugar) before adding to the whipping egg white. I find that this help to blend the colour powder well without any effect on the egg white. The colour you aim for should be four or five times more intense than the actual macaron shells, as the colour will fade when mixed with other ingredients.
colour powder is mixed with caster sugar (fine sugar)
Beat egg white until it is foamy. While beating, gradually add caster sugar, one tablespoon at a time, into the egg white. Beat the egg white unitl it reaches almost a stiff peak. If using colouring liquid, put several drops of colouring in to egg white and beat until combine.
egg white should hold its form
Put egg white into the almond, icing sugar mixture. Mix the egg white quite vigorously for the first ten stokes or so to make sure that egg white will blend in with the dry ingredients.
Don't be too gentle with the mixing.
Don't worry that you will deflate the egg white.
We are not after the air from egg white, or meringue texture.
This is more like a meringue cookie.
Then, continue to mix until it is well blended and the mixture is glossy. The technique I use is lifing the mixture by spatula , turn and push it against the bowl. Lift, turn and push, lift, turn and push, until you achieve well-combined and shiny mixture. I find that this helps to incorporate egg white into dry ingredients really well.
The texture should resemble a very thick cake batter consistency, or many web sites uses 'magma'-ike consistency. The texture need to be mixed just right, not overmixed. If anything, it's is better to be a bit undermixed than over. Overmixed batter will be runny and will produce rather flat macarons with spread-feet.
Put macaron shell mixture into piping bag fitted with 1-cm plain round tip (size #11).
Pipe the mixture on to baking trays (you will need two trays for this recipe) lined with non-stick baking paper (parchement paper) or non-stick silicone baking mat or Silpat. Pipe 2.5-cm (1-inch) diameter and 2.5 cm apart.
Tap the trays on the bench (or shall I say bang the trays on the bench) to flatten the piped shells. Macarons will be become slightly larger after they're flattened.
Before and after the tray are tapped.
The piped shells are slightly flattened after the tapping.
Stand the trays for 30-60 minutes until the dry crust is formed. This will help to strengthen the macaron shells and will give better rised macaron feet. The piped shells are ready to go into the oven when they are dry to touch (slightly touch the shell with your finger. The shell shouldn't stick to your finger).
|The macarons are ready to go into the oven |
when you can touch them without them sticking to your fingers.
Preheat the oven to 160c/180c (convection/conventional oven) about 15 minutes prior to the bake. Just before loading the trays in, reduce the temperature to 140c/160c (convection/conventional oven). Bake on the middle shelfs for 13-15 minutes. Baking time will depend on the size of your macarons. From my experience baking in convection oven, it takes 14-15 minutes to bake 2.5-cm macarons.
Macaron feet will start to appear after 5 minutes
Remove baked macaron shells from the trays when they are slightly cool down. To help releasing macarons from trays, spray water on to hot trays underneath the baking papers. The steam (from water touching hot tray) will help releasing macarons. If macarons still stucks on trays, use serrated knife to help.
Leave them on the rack until completely cool
Leave macaron shells on cooling rack until completely cool. Spread or pipe ganache into shell and sandwich two shells together.
Store macarons in an air-tight container in the fridge. Macarons taste better after at least 12 hours in the fridge.
Macarons are kept well in the fridge for 3-5 days.
Simple chocolate ganache filling recipe
100 g dark chocolate (50% cocoa), chopped
100 ml thickened cream (whipping cream, minimum 35% fat content)
20 g butter, chopped
Put chocolate in a seperate bowl.
Bring cream to the boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove it from heat as soon as it comes to the boil.
Pour hot cream into chocolate. Leave it for about 10-20 seconds. Stir the chocolate and cream mixture until melted. Scatter butter pieces on the mixture and stir until well combine.
Chill the ganache at least an hour before using them to fill macarons.
|Voila! Your own little beautie to enjoy!|