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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Raspberry Chocolate Macarons with heart sprinkle - a perfect treat for Valentine's Day


Macaron makes a perfect treat for Valentine’s Day. It is pretty. It is colourful. It looks special. You can improvise the looks and flavour to match the special occasion.

Umm…Valentine’s…I’m thinking about raspberry, chocolate, red/pink and hearts, and I’m thinking to put these elements into one, raspberry chocolate macaron with hearts.

I came across the idea of decorating macarons with sugar-heart from Secrets of Macarons book by Jose Marechal.


This book is a great macarons cookbook. It is full of techniques and tips on making macarons. Though it doesn’t have many recipes, it contains enough fundamental recipes for you to work on. For me, making macarons is not about recipe, it is more about tips and techniques and this book is full of those. If I had come across this book before, I wouldn’t have had to spend so much time scouting information on the internet and cooking forums, reading pages and pages on people’s experience and their trial-and-errors. The book is currently out of print (as checked on Amazon) but I found some copies at CostCo.

I bought a small jar of sugar-heart from a cake decorating section at Coles supermarket. Most likely, they are used for cup cake decoration. I never thought about putting these onto macaron shells until I saw it in the book.


Sugar-hearts are sprinkled on the macaron shells before they are baked. Be gently when placing the hearts on the shells as you wouldn’t want to damage the shell and prevent its from rising and getting the feet.

I also tried making chocolate ganache without thickened cream. The ganache is mixture of raspberry coulis, white chocolate and dark chocolate, which I adapted from the strawberry ganache recipe from Secrets of Macarons cookbook. The ganache is less rich and creamy. Dark chocolate overpowers the white chocolate almost completely. However, white chocolate does provide a creamier texture. Without it, the ganache could be way too rich and bitter and the raspberry flavour could completely be overpowered.

I made raspberry filling for macaron before as a raspberry buttercream. Comparing the two filling types, raspberry buttercream and ganache, they are quite different. The raspberry flavour shines through more in buttercream. Its tart flavour blends really well with rich buttercream. Whereas, chocolate seems to dominate the flavour in raspberry ganache. The raspberry flavour is more subtle. So, it all comes down to your preference. If you are a chocolate person, the raspberry chocolate ganache will satisfy your taste buds more. However, if you like raspberry flavour to be more presented, the raspberry buttercream filling is for you. You can get the raspberry buttercream recipe from my previous post, just scroll down to the bottom of the post.

 
  

Raspberry Chocolate Macarons with little hearts Recipe

makes 25 3-cm macarons

Note:
More details on Basic Mararons using Italian Meringue tecniques can be found here.

You can also see more detailed intructions on making macarons in my Basic Macaron Recipe and I heart Macarons blogs (however, they are recipes using French meringue method). This recipe is using Italian meringue method. The only difference is the cooking sugar syrup part but the rest of the processes are the same.
 
Macarons shell ingredients
125 g pure icing sugar
125 g almond meal (almond flour or ground almond)
100 g egg whites (separated 24 -48 hours in advance and is at room temperature)
115 g caster sugar (super fine sugar)
30 ml water (2 tablespoons)
A pinch of red colouring powder or liquid
1 tablespoons of sugar-hearts

Raspberry Chocolate filling ingredients
100 g fresh or frozen raspberry, made to coulis
25 g (2 tablespoons) castor sugar (fine sugar)
90 g white chocolate, chopped
40 g dark chocolate, chopped
25 g butter, chopped

Making macarons shells

Sift almond meal and icing sugar together through fine sieve and set aside.

Divide egg whites into two equal portions (50 g each portion).  Pour the first portion of egg white (50 g) into the almond meal/icing sugar mixture, and put colouring powder or liquid in, but don’t mix or stir them.

Put the water and caster sugar in a heavy-base saucepan over medium-high heat. When the syrup start to boil. Place the rest of egg white (50 g) into a mixing bowl, using the whip attachment, whip egg white to the soft peak. When the syrup reaches 118°C (on a thermometer), take if off the heat and let it cool down to 115°C.

While the mixer is still running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl. Be careful not to pour syrup onto the whip as it might spatter. Continue mixing until the meringue cool down to slightly above body temperature (50°C) or when the side of the mixing bowl is warm to touch. The whipped egg white would be stiff and glossy.

Mix a third of whipped egg white into the almond meal mixture and combine them well. At this step, I work the mixture very vigorously to blend the egg white with almond meal mixture. Fold the rest of whipped egg white into the mixture and mix well, yet gently, until the batter is smooth. The batter will be thick. It resembles a very thick cake batter, or as many web sites describe it as a magma-like consistency.

Put the mixture into a piping bag fitted with 1-cm plain tip (size #11). Pipe the staggering rows of 1-inch rounds onto baking papers or baking sheets.

Place sugar-hearts on half of piped shells. Be gentle and careful not to damage macaron shells/skin when placing the hearts. Damage shells could result in no-feet or flat macarons.

Let's put some loves onto the shells

Let the piped macarons shells stand at room temperature for 30 – 60 minutes to let the crust forms. This depends on the room temperature and humidity. When the piped shells are dry to touch without it sticking to your fingers. They are good to go into the oven.

Preheat the oven to 160°C (fan-force or convection oven, increase the temperature by 20°C if you’re using conventional oven) for at least 15 minutes. Just before baking, turn the temperature down to 150°C and bake the macarons for 15 minutes.

Lift the baking papers/sheets off the baking tray to the cooling rack and let it cool down before removing macarons.

Sandwich cool macarons shell with chilled ganache.


Store macarons in airtight container in the fridge. Macaron will taste better after it is chilled overnight.

Making raspberry chocolate filling

Making raspberry coulis, using spoon crushed raspberry until it becomes liquid. Stain through a find sieve to remove seeds. (you can also leaves the seeds in there, but the coulis will be tart and not smooth).

Heat raspberry coulis in a small saucepan, add sugar and stir until it dissolves. Bring it to a boil. Remove the pan from heat and pour coulis into the bowl filled with white and dark chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is melted.
Scatter the butter pieces onto the mixture and stir until it is melted and well combined.  


The filling needs to be chilled at least an hour before use. 

Macarons with lots of hearts! A perfect gift!

2 comments:

  1. Utterly charming! Thanks for letting us know about the book. I am going to try to hunt down a copy.

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  2. Thank you, saltandserenity. This book is great in term of techniques and tips. It helps answering the questions you have about macarons. It is also full of ideas about different types of macaron fillings and decorating your macarons.

    Sue

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