Macarons. So easy to Make-it-wrong. haw haw haw.
Comedic brilliance aside, these ‘biscuits’ are extremely volatile and easy to stuff up. Out of the 5 times I’ve attempted them, 2 attempts have resulted in almond cookies. As everyone else in Sydney has noted, they became quite the hype when Adriano Zumbo graced our screens in Masterchef.. but I’m not sure whether they are still that popular, I haven’t read a lot of macaron-related posts recently. Although McDonalds do sell macarons in their McCafe, so maybe they have just become a mainstream treat…Nevertheless, these little french creations are quite delicious if done right, and can appear in a limitless range of flavours.
I decided to jump on the “blogging about macarons” wagon to celebrate this blog making it through 1 month. I don’t know about other people, but blogging can be one of those things where you start with great aspirations.. and you tell yourself that you are going to post like everyday… but then its easy to just give up and allow it to fade into some untouched abyss in the interwebz. I’ve had 2 other blogs suffer that fate…
In the past, I’ve tried making popcorn ganache, salted chocolate and pandan coconut for the filling, but this time I decided to make….
I was actually trying to make green tea ganache but thought that it wasn’t green enough so decided to add in ‘one drop’ of green food colouring. Unfortunately, the bottle didn’t have one of those dropper caps and thus, in my shaky over-eagerness I turned the ganache into a highlighter shade. However, I have to say, this time my shells were near perfection and were the best I’ve ever made them.
I ended up using a recipe from Jo the tart queen (thankyou) who adapted it from Le Cordon Bleu. I halved the recipe but it came out pretty well.
For the green tea ganache, you can use any of the ones you find on google, just make sure its for macarons… you don’t want any runny ganache ruining your beautiful macaron shells. Use matcha powder but if you don’t have any, you can infuse a heaped tablespoon of green tea leaves into the cream when you heat it up. However, it is best to use matcha as the white chocolate (don’t think dark/milk chocolate is a good combo) was quite strong and largely overwhelmed the subtle green tea flavour.
They are finnicky things and so much can go wrong in the process, but if you are determined/ slightly crazy enough, give them a try!
For those attempting the macaron, here’s some tips.
- If you stuff up the meringue, its pretty much over. Over and over again I’ve read that you should:
- Age the egg whites for around couple of days
- Whip them at room temperature
- Make sure your bowl/ mixer is very clean. No grease at all
- For the almond meal and icing sugar
- Make sure you sift and break up any icing sugar lumps
- For the most important stage…the macaronage (mixing the meringue with the almond meal and icing sugar)
- Sacrifice around 1/4- 1/3 of the meringue to wet the dry mixture first, make it into a paste, this would make it easy to fold in the rest of the meringue
- Fold in 1/3 of the meringue at a time. FOLD CAREFULLY, this is a delicate stage where we want to keep most of the air in the meringue
- However having said that, you also have to keep folding and folding until the mixture is lava like in consistency. This is really difficult to describe as most people have not mixed lava before… but the mixture should ooze slightly but still be holding its shape slightly for around 10 seconds. Keep mixing if it still looks like ‘ganache consistency’. It has to have some flow to it. Seriously just go watch a youtube video, its better than this rambling.
- Pipe slowly if you are a noob like me. Also, if you can’t get a circle shape, try spiralling the piping bag slowly and outline the circle yourself before filling it
- Aim for small macaron shells (think 50 cent coin size), this would help fit more on the tray and macarons are enjoyed better if they’re smaller. I find that if they’re too big, they loose their delicacy. Also when you tap the tray of macarons after pipping, they tend to spread a bit.
- Which brings me to tapping.. give them a hard 3-4 raps on each side of tray. Let out all those air bubbles.
- Drying stage
- Important! Don’t be too excited and pop it into the oven after 15-20 minutes of drying.. Let it dry for at least 30 minutes… thats if its a dry warm day. If it is raining or humid you may need to dry it for an hour or even use the hairdryer from afar.
- When the macaron is slightly dry to touch and the mixture doesn’t stick to your fingers (its ok if its a little teensy bit sticky) then you are ready
- I don’t know if this technique is recommended elsewhere (don’t blame me if it stuffs up pls :/) but I put my macarons in the oven without preheating it. I’m scared that the sudden heat would crack the shells. I guess this would be recommended for those who are not sure if their macaron has dried out enough
- Also bake your macarons at a really low temperature like for me, I have a fan forced oven and baked it at 100 degrees. Better wait longer than risk stuffing up the entire tray.
- Don’t open the oven to take a peek etc. You’ve come so far, just a bit more self-control and you’re nearly there.
- Once the time is up, try slowly twisting or removing one, if its stuck really bad, don’t force it. Bake it for another 3-5 minutes. It’s actually better to overcook and dry out your shells than ripping them from the sheet with half of the shell still stuck to the tray. In fact, when you pipe the filling into the macarons, they will give moisture to the shells again.
- Also you might want to wait until your shells are done before you start on the ganache. You may be too demoralized to pipe the ganache onto ugly stuffed up shells
- Waiting stage
- When the filling is piped in (remember don’t pipe too little or too much, get an ugly pair of shells and trial first with your piping) leave them in the fridge for at least a day, that way the shell will get some of its moisture back. I know that most people (me) can’t wait after their macarons are just done, so try one hehe…. just one though.
And finally enjoy!
If they don’t turn out well, just tell people you made almond meringue biscuits mmm