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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas macarons - Chocolate Mint Macarons




Christmas is just around the corner. Let’s do something festive.

I have been thinking about Christmas theme macarons once I started to see the Christmas merchandises in the stores.

When thinking about Christmas, there are quite a few things representing Christmas that come to my mind. Green, red, spice, fruit, brandy, mint, to name a few.  So, I have three Christmas macaron flavours in my mind that I plan to make and post in the next few weeks as part of my Christmas macaron series.

First entry – let’s  start with a Christmas symbol that we are all familiar with, candy cane, which usually comes with mint flavour and red-green-white stripe. Hence, the dark chocolate mint macarons with mint candy cane sprinkle.



I used fresh mint (peppermint) to infuse the cream used for chocolate ganache and added a small amount of peppermint essence to bring out more minty flavour. I have tried using only fresh mints but found that the mint flavour didn’t quite come through. I’ve also tried using only peppermint essence to flavour the mint ganache and found that it lacked the flavour subtlety provided by fresh mints. The combination of fresh mints and peppermint essence provides the good of the both worlds, subtlety yet pronounced minty flavour.

The mint macarons would be a perfect treat after meals and it’s a good option for not-so-sweet tooth dessert eaters. The dark chocolate with the peppery minty flavours complement well with sweet meringue shell. It is also one of my favourites (well, I have way too many favourites when it comes to macarons)



Dark chocolate mint macaron recipe
Make about 25 3-cm macarons

Note:
You can also visit my Basic Macaron Recipe and I heart Macarons blogs for more details and instruction on making macarons.

Macaron shell ingredients
100 g egg white (about 3 extra large eggs, aged 24- 48 hrs in advance. Take egg white out of the fridge a couple of hours before making to bring it to room temperature)
110 g almond meal (almond powder, ground almond)
160 g pure icing sugar (powder sugar)
60 g caster sugar (fine sugar)
a pinch of green colouring powder or liquid
1 mint flavour candy cane candy, crushed

Dark chocolate mint ganache ingredients (macarons filling)
100 g dark chocolate, cut into small pieces
100 ml thickened cream (whipping cream, minimum 35% fat content)
20 g butter, cut into cubes
A handful of peppermint leaves, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon peppermint essence (optional)

Making macaron shell

1. Sifting almond meal and icing sugar together by pushing them through a sieve. You can also grind almond meal and icing sugar together in a food processor to have finer almond meal mixture and it will be easier for sifting. However, this is not necessary.

2. If using colouring powder, mix it with caster sugar in a small bowl until you achieve the desired colour (note that the colour need to be much more intense than the desired end-result as the colour will fade once mixed with egg white and other dry ingredients)

3. Using electric mixer, beat egg white on a high speed until foamy, gradually add caster sugar, one tablespoon at a time. Continue beating the egg white until it reaches a glossy stiff peak. If using colouring liquid, put about 10 drops of green colouring liquid into the egg white mixture and mix on a low speed until well-combined.

4. Mix egg white into an almond meal mixture. Stir quite vigourously to break the egg white into dry ingredients for the first ten stokes or so. Continue to mix the egg white with dry ingredients until well combined (try the motion of lift, fold and push the mixture to the side of mixing bowl). The mixture should be thick, glossy and well-blended. The batter will look like a very thick cake batter.

5. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1-cm plain nozzle (size #11).

6. Pipe mixture onto a tray lined with parchment paper or non-stick baking mat (Silpat) about one-inch in diameter and one inch apart, and sprinkle crushed candy cane on top of  piped shells (only on half of them).

Let's sprinkle some Christmas spirit on to the shell


7. Tap trays on a kitchen bench a few times to flatten the piped macarons and remove the air bubbles.

8. Leave the piped shell uncovered at room temperature for 30-60 mins until you can touch the shell without them sticking to your fingers.

9. Preheat the oven to 160c/180c (convection/conventional) about 15 mins before baking.

Reduce the temperature to 140c/160c (convection/conventional) and bake macarons for about 13-15 mins. Baking time will depend on the macaron size.

10. Remove baking trays from oven. Remove macarons from the tray and put them on cooling racks. You may need a serrated knife to help removing macarons. Spraying a little water onto the hot tray underneath the paper also help releasing macarons (the steam gives that magic releasing power). 

11. Once they're completely cool, sandwich two shells together with chocolate ganache. Keep the macarons in a covered container in the fridge. They can be kept upto 5 days (or longer). Macarons taste better after they have been chilled for at least 12 hours. Filled macarons can also be frozen.


Making dark chocolate mint ganache

1. Put chocolate pieces in a seperate bowl.

2. Heat thickened cream with mint leaves in a small pan over medium heat. When it comes to the boil, remove it from heat and let stand for 10 minutes to infuse the mint flavour. Return the pan back to the stove on medium heat. Remove the pan from heat once it comes to the boil and strain the cream to remove the mint leaves.  Pour the cream over chocolate pieces. Let it sit for about 10 seconds, then stir the mixture until the chocolate is completely melted. Scatter the butter pieces and stir until it's melted.



3. Stir peppermint essence in and mix until well-combined.

4. Chill the ganache in the fridge until ready to use. It needs to be chilled at least an hour or more until it's firm enough for the filling.

Great for Christmas gift

Next week will be 'red Christmas macaron'.


6 comments:

  1. Can I use egg whites that have been frozen to make macarons? I tend to put them in the freezer after using the yolks for ice-cream and have a stack of them to use up.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Definitely. I freeze egg white quie often too. Especially after creme brulee and ice cream, I would have about 6 egg whites left-over.

    What I like to do is freeze then in a 3-egg white lot, in a little container, and remove them from the freezer to normal chilling compartment a day I plan to make macarons, to defrost them. Then, few hours before I make macarons, I move the defrosted egg white to kitchen bench and let them come to room temperature.

    I also freeze egg yolks occasionally, and it works fine as well, but you need to mix some salt or milk in when freeze them.

    Happy making macarons:)
    Sue

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you so much for your response. I do use frozen egg whites for things like meringues etc. but I wasn't sure whether they would be suitable for macarons. I have read so much about them but have never ventured to make them yet and I am a little apprehensive about the first time I attempt them. Jeannette.

    ReplyDelete
  4. You're welcome Jeannette.

    Have fun and enjoy making these little beauties.

    Sue

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you very much for your recipe, that is exactly what I was looking for!
    Just one question - is there any time limit for storing macarons? I would like to bake them for Christmas and I don't know when it's the best time... What do you think? Is it possible to make them a week before or is it too early? Thanks! :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. I have tried freezing them and it worked well. They taste pretty much like fresh. I think they can be kept in the chiller compartment for up to 5 days. Though I think they seem to pass it's prime at three days

    ReplyDelete