Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Daring Cooks October 2009 Challenge: Macarons


When I made Lemon and Passionfruit Curd I ended up with a lot of egg whites. The recipe calls for 9 egg yolks and 3 whole eggs so I knew I was going to end up with 9 egg whites.
I would really like to cook all the Daring Kitchen Challenge recipes so this seemed the ideal time to start with the Macarons. Macarons are so popular at the moment. They are supposedly difficult to make so I think I got really lucky. Ami of LAMonkey Girl used a claudia Fleming recipe that has a yeild of 120. I decided to use the recipe from "The MasterChef Cookbook volumn 2".
Callum has a recipe in there for Chocolate Delice served with Almond Macarons. They look lovely in the book and on the show. Other recipes are really complicated but this one is easy but a bit too sweet.
I used hazelnuts instead of almonds. I changed the amount of icing sugar in the recipe below from the original. The original recipe has double the amount of sugar and were too sweet for us and my taste testers at work. Ami of LAMonkey Girl hosted the Macaron challenge. The Daring Kitchen recipe has much less sugar but makes a larger amount. Mine made 60 halves so when they were sandwiched I ended up with 30.

Hazelnut Macarons

Ingredients

120 grams ground hazelnuts
215 grams icing sugar
3 egg whites (Room Temperature)
55 grams caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon creme of tarter
(There was supposed to be a drop of red food colouring but I left it out)

Method
Preheat the oven to 120° C.
Sift the nut meal and icing sugar three times. (My nut meal was too coarse even after blitzing in the food processor so I only sifted it once).
Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks. Gradually add the caster sugar, cream of tarter and food colouring. Whisk to stiff peaks. Fold in the nut/sugar mix until just combined (don't overmix).



Spoon into a piping bag with a plain 1 cm nozzle. Pipe 3cm rounds 3 cm apart onto 2 oven trays lined with bakepaper.



The recipe says it makes 40 I got closer to 60. Leave for 20 minutes and then bake for 30 minutes or until the macarons are easily moved on the paper. Remove from the oven and leave on the tray to cool.



I should have smoothed the tops more, it wasn't so obvious without my glasses that I still had a little peak on some of them. Oh well next time. They taste great.

Chocolate Italian Meringue Buttercream

1 egg white
55 grams sugar
1 teaspoon liquid glucose
60 grams butter
60 grams chocolate

Combine sugar, glucose and 2 tablespoons water in small saucepan.

Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan. Cover with a lid and let boil for 2-3 minutes. Remove the lid and cook the sugar to 244 degrees, F.

While your syrup is boiling, whip the whites on medium speed of your stand mixer to soft peaks. This is a timing issue, so watch them carefully. If you overbeat your whites before your syrup reaches temperature, they'll be grainy. Adjust the speed of the mixer up or down and try and get your whites to the perfect consistency at the same time your sugar reaches 244F.

When the syrup is ready, with mixer on medium low, pour syrup in a thin stream down the inside of the mixing bowl. This will give the syrup a chance to cool off a bit as well as keeping the syrup from getting spun all over the sides of the mixer by the whisk attachment.

Turn mixer to high and whip until whites are completely cool and hold firm peaks.

Add the softened butter, a bit at a time making sure one addition is blended in before adding the next. After the butter add the cool melted chocolate and whisk until it is smooth and thoroughly incorporated. It might look a little curdled but just keep the mixer going and it will smooth out into a silky delight. Refrigerate to set and then pipe with a star nozzle onto half he macarons or jsut spread it on with a knife. You can leave a gap in the middle and fill it with your favorite jam.
I froze some of the filled macarons and they freeze beautifully and we eat them straight out of the freezer. The buttercream softens in our Australian heat and is a bit messy to eat. I will definitely made these again perhaps almond next time.

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