Archive for the 'Baking Recipes: Macarons' Category



Matcha & Adzuki Bean Macarons

Matcha & Adzuki Bean Macarons

When the Mactweets Challenge: MacAttack #13 came around, I knew it was time to get some egg whites out and age them a little. We were warned that this was the 13th challenge, you know, the unlucky number for some, and guess what, I had a bit of an unlucky start this time! I was all ready to whip my egg whites up for Fall-themed macarons, and as luck (or the lack thereof) would have it, I spilled the aged egg whites before I could even grow feet on the macs. My clumsy hands in an over-packed fridge were very much like bulls in a china shop, I knocked the whites over, mopped up the gooey spill and mourned the tragic loss of my aged egg whites. I was ready to throw in the towel and skip this challenge but macaron gurus, Jamie from Life’s a Feast and Eunice from Heaven in a Wild Flower assured me that fresh egg whites will whip up nicely anyway. Heeding their advice, I cracked some new eggs and separated the whites from yolks. There was no looking back and I was glad that I listened to them.

Matcha & Adzuki Bean Macarons

For this month’s challenge, we were asked to create macarons that spoke of what Fall meant to us. The first thing that I thought of was a piping hot cup of Japanese green tea in my cold, cold hands! I admit I did dream about sipping on a mug of hot chocolate about two seconds after I thought about green tea, but I felt that hot chocolate was a little too much for autumn, and better appreciated in the bitter cold of winter. I had wanted to make a matcha & white chocolate mascarpone filling (which I made last month and friends loved them), but I had a tin of adzuki bean paste in the pantry, just dying to be married to matcha already. I couldn’t deny a match made in heaven, could I?

Matcha & Adzuki Bean Macarons

 

Matcha & Adzuki Bean Macarons

Whilst I am not a big fan of winter in London, I quite like autumn. Yes, most of the trees are bald in the blink of an eye, but the occasional tree is decked out in warm gold leaves that turn a seductive shade of mahogany. To me, it is the rarity of this sight that makes London very beautiful despite the cold and the ubiquitous bare trees. Regrettably so, it can get too cold to wander along the streets, and when that happens, what I love most is to curl up in my couch, with a duvet draped round my legs and a cup of hot Japanese green tea to sip on. With every cup of green tea, I also insist on having something sweet to nibble on. This is the ‘way of life’ that M and my sister-in-law, M have instilled in me. Both Ms are true connoisseurs of teatime accompaniments and I am glad that I have been well-taught.

Matcha & Adzuki Bean Macarons

 

 

Matcha & Adzuki Bean Macarons

For about two months now, I’ve been a bit obsessed with matcha, and have made cupcakes, polvorons, macarons and more cupcakes with matcha (posts to follow soon). There’s nothing I like more than having matcha-based pastries with hot green tea. The flavours are strong, yet subtle and so very alluring. Here, the sweet earthiness of adzuki beans are perfectly balanced with the bittersweet matcha & white chocolate buttercream. If you love matcha as much as I do, you might want to get cracking on these macarons in your own kitchen.

Here’s the recipe:

For the macaron shells (makes 22 shells):
(adapted from heavenwildfleur)

55g egg white (these are not aged, and will turn out a little more chewy)
3g egg white powder
45g caster sugar
70g almond flour
80g icing sugar
1 teaspoon green food colouring
Black sesame seeds

1. Preheat oven at 170 degrees Celsius.

2. Sift almond flour and icing sugar together in a bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites and egg white powder till soft peaks are formed. Whisk in caster sugar until stiff peaks form.

4. To the egg white mixture, fold in dry ingredients from Step 2 in 1/3 portions to combine. Add colouring, then fold in the mixture more vigorously. Test the consistency from time to time by lifting a generous dollop of macaron paste and dropping it into the mixing bowl. If the macaron paste does not settle smoothly after 30 seconds, continue folding the paste. If the macaron paste smooths out too quickly, you’ve gone too far.

5. Pipe out the shells onto a baking sheet lined with parchment and leave them to rest for 25 minutes before baking. Sprinkle some black sesame seeds on the shell.

6. When a crust is formed, turn temperature on oven down to 140 degrees Celsius and bake for 15 minutes, turning the tray halfway through baking.

7. Cool parchment of baked shells on cooling rack. Unmould when the shells are completely cool. (I also dusted the shells with a little bit of edible gold lustre, they do give a nice sheen but they didn’t show up well on the pictures..)

For the Matcha & White Chocolate Buttercream:

55g white chocolate
40g unsalted butter
50g icing sugar
5g matcha powder (you can add more if you like a stronger flavour, as the sweetness of ready-made adzuki bean paste can differ – See ‘Assembling’ section below)

1. Melt white chocolate and butter and leave to cool.

2. Beat in icing sugar and matcha powder until well-combined and creamy.

Assembling macarons:

1. Spoon matcha cream onto one shell.

2. Add one small dollop of adzuki bean paste on top of the cream.

3. Sandwich, and you’re done!

Matcha & Adzuki Bean Macarons

Hope you enjoy making these and let me know what you think of the recipe!

If you love macarons, join me on my macaron journey. And if you can’t get enough of matcha, you might like my Lychee Chiffon Cake with Matcha Whipped Cream Frosting.

Check out what I have been baking in my own kitchen.

Also check out my other food adventures.

*Updated: This post has been featured on Foodgawker and Tastespotting. Check out my profiles on Foodgawker and Tastespotting to see my other featured posts!

 

Lychee Mascarpone & Emperor’s Seven Treasures Macarons


Lychee Mascarpone and Emperor's Seven Treasures Macarons

This is a first for me on two levels. I have been encouraged by heavenwildfleur to join the Mactweets challenge for a while now, and yes, after making macarons a few times now, I am happy to say that I’m finally onboard with the folks at Mactweets! For this attempt, I’ve also used a new way of incorporating flavours into my macarons…with tea-infused jelly! As you can see, this is all very exciting for me!

Lychee Mascarpone and Emperor's Seven Treasures Macarons

This month’s Macattack Challenge 12 is PINK, and mind you, this is no ordinary pink. It’s PINK, representing the pink ribbons for the Breast Cancer Awareness month of October. I am very glad to be partaking in this on my first Mactweets challenge, as breast cancer is a debilitating disease that has struck close to home when one of my loved ones was diagnosed with it a few years ago. So most of all, whilst it is exciting to be caught up in the macarons buzz, this challenge is very meaningful to me. If you’re able to, please do spread the word and take part in the campaign for raising awareness on breast cancer. Thank you.

Lychee Mascarpone and Emperor's Seven Treasures Macarons

As I’ve mentioned, I am trying out a new way of incorporating flavours to my macarons. This is not a novel method, but it certainly is in my kitchen and thank goodness, it worked! My friends loved the macarons, even more so when they knew that these were made for a good cause.

I have always loved the Ispahan, a lychee-based rose pastry, and so for this challenge, I decided to make some lychee mascarpone macarons. I wanted to give another dimension to the sweetness of lychees, and to achieve this, I made some jelly infused with one of my favourite teas, Emperor’s Seven Treasures, which is a blend of different green and black tea leaves with fruity peach-like nuances. I thought this was a really delicious combination; the floral and fruity fragrance of the tea-infused jelly complimented the sweetness of lychees and white chocolate mascarpone very well! The watery and soft nature of jelly also cuts the thickness of the lychee white chocolate and mascarpone cream I made, and when eaten on the day after they were made, the cream and jelly came together as a wonderfully light filling with different textures to delight the palette.

Lychee Mascarpone and Emperor's Seven Treasures Macarons

Here are the recipes for the shell and filling.

For the macaron shells:
(adapted from heavenwildfleur)

100g egg white, aged
3g egg white powder
90g caster sugar
140g almond flour
160g icing sugar
1/2-1 teaspoon red food colouring

1. Preheat oven at 170 degrees Celsius.

2. Sift almond flour and icing sugar together in a bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites and egg white powder till soft peaks are formed. Whisk in caster sugar until stiff peaks form.

4. To the egg white mixture, fold in dry ingredients from Step 2 in 1/3 portions to combine. Add colouring, then fold in the mixture more vigorously. Test the consistency from time to time by lifting a generous dollop of macaron paste and dropping it into the mixing bowl. If the macaron paste does not settle smoothly after 30 seconds, continue folding the paste. If the macaron paste smooths out too quickly, you’ve gone too far.

5. Pipe out the shells onto a baking sheet lined with parchment and leave them to rest for 25 minutes before baking.

6. When a crust is formed, turn temperature on oven down to 140 degrees Celsius and bake for 15 minutes, turning the tray halfway through baking.

7. Cool parchment of baked shells on cooling rack. Unmould when the shells are completely cool.

For the Lychee White Chocolate Mascarpone Cream:

120g white chocolate
20g unsalted butter
150g mascarpone, room temperature
150g lychees

1. Melt white chocolate and butter and leave to cool.

2. Blitz lychees in food processor, remove the juice by pressing purée through a sieve. Retain 6 tablespoonsful of the lychee juice, and also retain all of the pulp.

3. Whisk mascarpone till loosened, and beat in white chocolate mixture till combined.

4. Add the lychee pulp and 3 tablespoons of lychee juice, beat till combined.

For the Emperor’s Seven Treasures Tea-infused Jelly:

1/2 tablespoon Emperor’s Seven Treasures tea leaves
120ml boiling water
3 tablespoons lychee juice (from above)
1 tablespoon gelatin (depends on the instructions on the packet and how hard you want the jelly to be)

1. Steep tea leaves in boiling water and lychee juice for 10 minutes. Filter.

2. Add gelatin to filtered tea and refrigerate to set.

3. Once jelly is set, cut jelly into small cubes.

Assembling macarons:

1. Spoon lychee mascarpone cream onto one shell.

2. Add 2-3 cubes of tea-infused jelly on top of the cream.

3. Sandwich, and you’re done!

There you go, my PINKarons for PINKtober and my first Mactweets challenge! Hope you enjoy making these and let me know what you think of the recipe!

If you love macarons, join me on my macaron journey. But if you adore lychees, you might like my Lychee Chiffon Cake with Matcha Whipped Cream Frosting. Also check out my Lychees, Rose and Raspberries Entremet here – The Ispahan Cake!

Check out what I have been baking in my own kitchen.

Also check out my other food adventures.

*Updated: This post is featured on Foodgawker, Tastespotting and Photograzing. Check out my profiles on PhotograzingFoodgawker and  Tastespotting to see my other featured posts!

Vanilla Bean Macarons with Bailey’s & Coffee Buttercream

Morning world! I was up pretty early today, with my mind constantly whirring about my coughawfulcough thesis writing and some exciting macaron ideas. I haven’t gotten round to making any macs lately owing to a month-long trip back to Singapore and keeping up with the mundane things-we-have-to-do sice we returned. I have been dying to put some action into egg whites. Not sure if I can get round to making some today (new flavours coming up!), but I shall quieten my overactive mind with a little post on some macarons that I made back in July this year.

Vanilla Macarons with Bailey's & Coffee Buttercream

So, I’m not a big coffee drinker. In fact, I can’t take any beverages that have coffee in it. Shame, isn’t it? I could never understand how it feels when people say ‘Oh gosh, this coffee is soooooo good’, or when they quip, ‘I could do with a coffee right now’. I can’t fathom what it feels like to be addicted to coffee, to be reliant on and appreciative of it, and quite frankly, I feel…..left out.

BUT nature has its ways. It’s all about balance, homeostasis (sorry couldn’t help but bring this biological term up, been repeating it a couple of times in my now 120-page strong thesis). And I have been made to love coffee-ish desserts even though I can’t drink coffee.

Drinking coffee makes me want to lie down. For those of you who have witnessed a rather red-faced me (no I wasn’t angry, I just lack alchohol dehydrogenase) feeling faint after a teeny tiny bit of alchohol, drinking coffee kills me. Quite embarrassingly so, it messes with my head far worse than alcohol, it gives me such a nauseating headache, that once after a coffee initiation by my aunt in the form of Starbucks mocha, I quickly apologised to her and said ‘Sorry aunt, I really have to go home right now’. I never took another sip of coffee since. But it’s really okay, because I still am able to enjoy tiramisu, coffee ice-cream, coffee cake, coffee bread, coffee ribs. I suppose I may be regrettably aversive to only liquid coffee.

Vanilla Macarons with Bailey's & Coffee Buttercream

One day in July, I was craving for coffee something. I wanted to be surrounded by the nutty aroma that we can only get with coffee. Tiramisu seemed much too heavy, and I would just end up making too much for the two of us. I didn’t think I wanted to have a slice of coffee cake every day for the rest of the week.  And so, I decided to make something that was manageable in small numbers, something that I have been addicted to making and eating for the last couple of months. Vanilla Bean Macaron with Bailey’s & Coffee Buttercream was it. Let’s just say they were yum, atrociously good with liquid coffee (or so the husband says). I was inspired by salted butter caramel and added a tiny bit of salt to the buttercream filling so it cuts the sweetness and brings out the flavour of Bailey’s. So…yay! Coffee for me!

Vanilla Macarons with Bailey's & Coffee Buttercream

Here’s the recipe:

For the Vanilla Bean Macaron Shells
(adapted from heavenwildfleur)

100g egg whites, aged
3g egg white powder
90g vanilla sugar
140g almond flour
160g icing sugar
Some cocoa powder

1. Preheat oven at 170 degrees Celsius

2. Sift almond flour and icing sugar together in a bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites and egg white powder till soft peaks are formed. Whisk in caster sugar until stiff peaks form.

4. To the egg white mixture, fold in dry ingredients from Step 2 in 1/3 portions to combine. Then fold in the mixture more vigorously. Test the consistency from time to time by lifting a generous dollop of macaron paste and dropping it into the mixing bowl. If the macaron paste does not settle smoothly after 30 seconds, continue folding the paste. If the macaron paste smooths out too quickly, you’ve gone too far.

5. Pipe out the shells onto a baking sheet lined with parchment. Sprinkle a little cocoa powder on the shells and leave them to rest for 25 minutes before baking.

6. When a crust is formed, turn temperature on oven down to 140 degrees Celsius and bake for 15 minutes, turning the tray halfway through baking.

7. Cool parchment of baked shells on cooling rack. Unmould when the shells are completely cool.

Question: I wanted white shells, but somehow my oven coloured them. Anyone knows how to get whiter shells?

For the Bailey’s & Coffee Buttercream

125g unsalted butter
1 cup icing sugar
3 tablespoons cooled coffee (strength depends on your preference and type of coffee, I filtered 3 tablespoons of Nescafe in 6 tablespoons of water)
2 tablespoons Bailey’s
3/4 to 1 teaspoon salt

1. Beat butter and icing sugar together.

2. Add coffee, Bailey’s and salt, and beat till well combined.

3. Pipe on cooled shells and sandwich them into macarons.

These make 60 shells, so that’s 30 macarons.

Hope you enjoy making them! Let me know how they turn out.

If you love macarons, join me on my macaron journey.

Check out what I have been baking in my own kitchen.

Also check out my other food adventures.

*Updated: This post is featured on Photograzing. Check out my Photograzing profile to see my other featured posts!

Lime & Coconut Macarons


Lime & Coconut Macarons

I was travelling too much and eating too much good food, naturally, I spent too much time blogging on everything but. This is seriously backdated, I made these lime & coconut macarons in June, and the recipe have been stashed in my growing recipe book since.

As I blazed through my food trails in Singapore on the blog, the dust settled, quite literally too, on my measuring cups, whisk and  everything I made in the last couple of months (with the exception of mooncakes, only because the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival is tomorrow). I missed proper baking very much during the break in Singapore, but now that I’m back in London, the kitchen’s all mine (sometimes shared with my husband, but he cooks and I bake, so that’s okay), and I’m sure writing this, will excite me into aging some egg whites again!

Lime & Coconut Macarons

Macarons, oh macarons, they frustrate me and they tease me. I don’t know why I like to dive back into making them so much, even though they are arguably one of the trickiest treats to make in my dictionary. The shell can’t be too chewy, or too crisp, the filling can’t be too sweet (for me, at least). Too much macaronage yields a paste that runs everywhere, too little gives shells that look offensively like boobies. Yet, I love making them. Talk about being sadistic.

Anyways, why lime & coconut macarons? I was really into the whole summer vibe going on in London during the month of June, and I went through a ‘tropical’ phase. Everything I ate or made had to have some element of the tropics. I went a little overboard and decided to make lime & coconut macarons. As the meerkat says, simples.

I was working with the shell recipe from Cannelle et Vanille to make some vanilla bean macarons with salted butter caramel buttercream, and it didn’t quite work out for me on my first attempt with it (possibly because I was rather green at making macarons then). The shells had feet but they weren’t very smooth. So I thought I would try out the shell recipe from heavenwildfleur, an incredibly talented pastry enthusiast that I’ve met in blogosphere.

I wanted a slightly sweeter and sturdier shell to go with the tart lime & coconut cream cheese filling I planned to make, so I tweaked the recipe a little. It worked very well in giving me very smooth and shiny shells with nicely risen feet, but I probably went a little too far with the macaronage, the paste was a tad runny to work with so I couldn’t get perfectly round shells. The macarons nailed my craving for all things tropical; slightly sweet shells with a hint of flaked coconut, giving way to the tartness of lime, mmmm lovely! Here are the recipes.

For the macaron shells:

120 egg whites, aged for 3 days
3g egg white powder
90g caster sugar
140g almond flour (finely ground!)
160g icing sugar
A handful of flaked coconut
Green food colouring

1. Preheat oven at 170 degrees Celsius

2. Sift almond flour and icing sugar together in a bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites and egg white powder till soft peaks are formed. Whisk in caster sugar until stiff peaks form.

4. To the egg white mixture, fold in dry ingredients from Step 2 in 1/3 portions to combine. Add in the food colouring (the amount depends on intensity desired), and fold in the mixture more vigorously. Test the consistency from time to time by lifting a generous dollop of macaron paste and dropping it into the mixing bowl. If the macaron paste does not settle smoothly after 30 seconds, continue folding the paste. If the macaron paste smooths out too quickly, you’ve gone too far.

5. Pipe out the shells onto a baking sheet lined with parchment. Sprinkle a little flaked coconut on the shells and leave them to rest for 30 minutes before baking.

6. When a crust is formed, turn temperature on oven down to 140 degrees Celsius and bake for 15 minutes, turning the tray halfway through baking.

7. Cool parchment of baked shells on cooling rack. Unmould when the shells are completely cool.

For the lime & coconut cream cheese filling:

75g unsalted butter, room temperature
125g cream cheese, cold
75g icing sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon flaked coconut

1. Beat butter and cream cheese together till combined, then beat in icing sugar.

2. Mix in lime juice and flaked coconut until well-combined.

3. Pipe filling onto cooled shells and sandwich them for the final product.

As the cream cheese filling is a little runny, the macarons are best eaten a day after making them. The filling would have hardened slightly by then, and the shells are still perfect. I kept these at room temperature and they were fine for a few days (this might depend on the humidity at your location).

Enjoy and let me know how this works out!

If you love macarons, join me on my macaron journey.

Check out what I have been baking in my own kitchen.

Also check out my other food adventures.

*Updated: This post is featured on Photograzing. Check out my Photograzing profile to see my other featured posts!

Vanilla Bean Macarons with Salted Butter Caramel Buttercream

So I started off my macaron adventures with making erm, fake  nut-free macarons. I wasn’t contented with the fact the those macarons didn’t have feet, looked rough as hell (optimists call it rustic, home-made looking) even though they tasted great. I wanted to push myself to making better macarons and went on a hunt for a good recipe for the shells. I found this on Cannelle et Vanille, the most gorgeous food blog written and developed by the very talented Aran Goyoaga.

Making real macarons is incredibly hard work. I’m used to making cupcakes, biscuits, cookies, cakes, brownies, and nothing I’ve experienced through my years of baking prepared me for this very attempt. Four hours of very prolific swearing, aching arms, hair adorned with sticky pink bits of the batter, I swore I almost cried at the end of it. Tears of frustration and tears of joy, sounds very much like giving birth, no?

Vanilla Bean Macarons with Salted Butter Caramel Buttercream

I did feel very much like a mother, scrutinising the anatomy of my newborn babies when they came out of the oven. Let me explain. My oven is smaller than what would have been suitable for making tonnes of macaron shells, and my baking trays are small-ish too. I had to bake all those cute little rounds in a crazy number of batches, couple this with my lack of experience, I took four bloody hours to finish making these macarons. But this was good too, because I had a number of batches to play with, this meant that I could adjust baking times, and think about what went wrong with each batch, and learn from my mistakes pronto. My first batch was underbaked so they looked a bit pale (kinda fleshy pink), and the fact that they had nipples *giggles* suggested that macaronage had not gone far enough. Very frustrating for me because I am the most sedentary person and my arms were already aching badly from the macaronage, but the fact that little pale boobies came out of my oven for the first batch made me laugh. Yes I’m very childish….

Vanilla Bean Macarons with Salted Butter Caramel Buttercream

So I cheated for the second batch, and mixed the macaron batter for a while more. My arms were threatening to give up by then, but oh in the name of macarons and the ever-important learning process, I persisted. I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to mix the batter again after letting it sit exposed for a while, but oooh, it kinda worked for the other batches because the nipples disappeared! I also made sure I covered the batter with a cling film to prevent excessive exposure to air because they might dry out too soon before I could even get round to baking them in my small oven. Nobody wants unsightly cracks on macarons, do we? I also went crazy maternal when I saw little feet forming on the bottom of the macaron shells. Feet, oh precious feet!!! My babies have feet!!! Nevermind the complexion!

My hubby calmed a very excited me down for a bit before I went on to make the salted butter caramel buttercream. Mind you, I didn’t know how to make proper salted butter caramel (I made a very elementary version which tasted good but wouldn’t be called proper caramel in a pastry chef’s dictionary…) and erm, I screwed it up big time because I didn’t understand what caramel actually was. I made up my own recipe but I ended up making a solid, rock-hard ‘caramel’ out of just butter, sugar and salt. A web search led me to realise that I needed cream in the equation to make it pliable and yielding, so off to Tesco for some cream, and thank goodness, I managed to turn what was teeth-breaking candy to a velvety smooth, sexy copper-coloured salted butter caramel. Phew.

Vanilla Bean Macarons with Salted Butter Caramel Buttercream

I cooled the caramel sauce down, mixed it up with butter and icing sugar, and spread the filling lovingly on my babies (have I told you they have feet?!) before attempting to take pictures that would do them justice.

Vanilla Bean Macarons with Salted Butter Caramel Buttercream

So there, my very exciting experience in making real macarons for the first time. Very frustrating, brought out the worst in me, full of mistakes I call lessons, but very very enriching and completely worth it! Because of that, I’ve gone on to make more macarons with improved recipes thanks to another fab food blogger, so stay tuned!

The recipe for the vanilla bean macaron shells is found on Cannelle et Vanille site (follow the link above), I haven’t changed anything except for the baking times. I would suggest using the different batches to test this out because it would differ with ovens.

Here’s my rogue recipe for salted butter caramel buttercream. As I made lots of mistakes while trying to correct my self-made recipe, I tried my best to record what I did to rescue it in the mayhem, and erm, I hope I did it as accurately as I should have and I sure hope it works for you too! I also made this the caramel sauce a little saltier as I wanted to add it to butter and icing sugar for a well-balanced buttercream.

For the salted butter caramel sauce:

150g granulated sugar
100g unsalted butter, cubed
2 teaspoons sea salt (lower the amount of salt if you aren’t intending to make a buttercream out of it)
200ml whipping cream

1. On medium-low heat, add sugar, butter and salt to deep saucepan and stir continuously while sugar melts. Caramelise this mixture to a copper colour. Note that caramel burns extremely easily, so keep an eye on it the whole time.

2. Meanwhile, heat whipping cream until it just comes to boil and take it off the heat.

3. Remove saucepan from heat, add the hot whipping cream. The caramel will splatter (very vigorously, I burnt myself in the process!), so you might want to wear oven mitts and definitely lean as far away as you can from all the action. Stir the mixture continuously until well-combined to a smooth sauce.

4. Cool caramel sauce at room temperature, and at this point, you can store the sauce in the fridge. I kept the leftover sauce in the fridge for two weeks (cling wrapped the bowl), and it was fine. Whenever I wanted to drizzle it over ice cream, or use it for baking, I take a portion out to room temperature and let it soften to a more workable state.

For the salted butter caramel buttercream:

150g unsalted butter, softened
25g icing sugar
2-4 tablespoons of salted butter caramel sauce, room temperature

1. Cream butter and icing sugar together.

2. Add 1 tablespoon of salted butter caramel sauce at a time, until you get the desired taste without making the buttercream too runny. I recall that I used about 3 tablespoons, but again this would depend on the temperature and humidity of your location. So add the sauce slowly and taste it as you go, stop when you’re happy or before the buttercream gets runnier than it should be.

If you love macarons, join me on my macaron journey.

Check out what I have been baking in my own kitchen.

Also check out my other food adventures.

*Updated: This post is featured on Photograzing. Check out my Photograzing profile to see my other featured posts!

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Be Afraid To Make Macarons

It was the point of no return after I was introduced to the fairyland of macarons (read how macarons changed my life in my Ladurée and Pierre Hermé posts). I decided that it was time to ditch cakes, cupcakes, cookies and brownies for some serious macaron adventures in my kitchen.

Some of you might have seen some pictures of macarons that I’ve made on my personal and The Pleasure Monger Facebook profiles. I have improved over the four attempts on making them taste and look right. But these journeys were not without perils.

Chocolate Macarons with Chocolate Buttercream

Everytime I make macarons, some things are bound to happen.

1. I make a huge mess in the kitchen, and oh it’s a real pain to clean up after making macarons because the paste leaves a crusty residue everywhere, and whisking icing sugar is not fun because most of it gets air-borne when you start, and then you have to wipe every single surface it hits, which is pretty much everywhere. Have I mentioned that cleaning piping bags are so not a hoot?

2. I get covered in macaron paste, only to realise it hours later when I find suspicious crusty pieces on my leg, arm, whatever. Note to self: Always wear an apron, but for some strange reason, I am always too eager to start and I forget.

3. I swear, bang and throw things around, and make my anger and frustration noticed whenever I  make mistakes, which is VERY often. My only audience is my husband and my soft-toy, Pig pig.

4. I end up really happy if they turn out well, or upset if they go kaput.

5. Mostly, I feel a little empty because there’s no one else around to appreciate them, however good or bad they turn out, other than my husband and myself. Pig-pig doesn’t count because he (or she?) doesn’t eat. You know the lost feeling you get after a good party disperses from your place? That’s the feeling I get after putting hours of effort and concentration into making what, 60 shells for 30 macarons, and when I’m done, I sit there covered in sticky paste and think, ‘So what if I made these?’.

For all the things that I’ve been through whilst making macarons, I’ve learnt loads, and since I don’t get the satisfaction of feeding these macarons to friends and family, please humour me and let me share my journey with you.

There was The Beginning. Of course, there was. No one is gifted with the talent of making macarons from the first time they learn how to grasp a whisk. Through my adventures, whenever I made mistakes, I felt stupid and silly and incompetent and everything else negative in between. Macarons are the hardest things I’ve learnt to make, because there is so much more than a recipe, and I thought that those fantastic food bloggers have innate talents in making macarons, like they were born to do it, and I just wasn’t. This can’t be further from the truth. You can learn how to make macarons, it just takes a lot of time, a number of attempts, unlimited patience, lots of care, and you need to be a climate-sensor of some sort (temperature, humidity of where you are located plays a huge role in making your macaron recipe work for you). It takes a lot, but it can be done. Trust me, if I can do it, so can you.

So I ventured into this macaroon thingy I call business, with a recipe from Nigella Lawson. I was feeling inspired one weekend, without all the ingredients I needed, but was determined to make them anyway with whatever I could rummage from my pantry. I was missing a key ingredient, almond flour, but being the novice I was, I didn’t realise that it was crucial, and I made my first macarons with plain flour instead. I don’t regret making them, they tasted great and chewy, though they didn’t keep very well beyond a day. It was easy peasy, and even though these macarons were fake, they got me excited enough to make proper macarons later. You can try making them with the recipe I’ve tweaked as it’s a great recipe for beginners. They don’t look polished, but they look home-made and nut-allergy sufferers benefit from the lack of almonds in them. These happened to be made on a day when two friends came over to watch a football match with M, so they were my taste-testers and they seemed to like the macarons (note: I didn’t have more taste-testers after this attempt, except for my third, boooooohoooooo.) I’m posting up the nut-free recipe for my first attempt here, but stay tuned for my other attempts, I will be blogging about them soon! You can hop over to my Facebook page (follow link on the right column of my blog) for a sneak peak at my 4th attempt in the photo album! Welcome to my journey of learning how to make macarons!

*Updated: Hop over here to read about my next attempt at proper macarons (vanilla bean macarons with salted butter caramel buttercream!).

Here’s the recipe:

Chocolate Macarons with Chocolate Buttercream
(adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Pistachio Macarons in How To Be A Domestic Goddess)

For Chocolate Macaron shells:

75 grams plain flour
25 grams cocoa powder
125 grams icing sugar
2 large egg whites
15 grams caster sugar

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius, and line baking tray with baking parchment.

2. Sift flour, cocoa powder and icing sugar together.

3. Whisk egg whites until fairly stiff.

4. Add caster sugar slowly as you whisk the egg whites further till they form very stiff peaks.

5. Fold the whites into sifted dry ingredients, and combine gently until well-incorporated.

6. Pipe small rounds onto lined baking tray with 1cm plain nozzle, let them sit for 10 minutes to form a skin, then bake in oven for 10-12 minutes. At this point, they should be set but not dried out.

7. Remove macaron shells from oven and let cool on a rack while they are still on the baking tray. Make the buttercream filling while the macaron shells are cooling.

For the Chocolate Buttercream:

55 grams cocoa powder, sifted
250 grams icing sugar, sifted
125 grams unsalted butter, softened

1. Cream butter and icing sugar.

2. Add sifted cocoa powder and mix until you get a smooth buttercream.

3. Fill a cooled macaron shell with the buttercream and sandwich it with another shell.

Done! These were great on the day I made them, but got too sticky-chewy beyond that. The shelf-life will differ with different climates.

If you love macarons, join me on my macaron journey.

Check out what I have been baking in my own kitchen.

Also check out my other food adventures.

*Updated: This post is featured on Photograzing. Check out my Photograzing profile to see my other featured posts!

 


About The Author
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Read about my food-gasmic adventures in San Sebastian here! Also please come by and check out the prettiest cake I've made over here!
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