Thursday, 5 September 2013

Vanilla and White Chocolate Macarons

For my friend Nicole's bridal shower tea party, I knew I had to make macarons a second time. I chose some of her favourite flavours and the results were worthwhile. I love seeing the flecks of vanilla seeds in these guys and the (accidental) hot pink white chocolate ganache fit in well at the party.
I researched how to fix the two minor problems with my first attempt: the air bubble under the shell and 'feet' sticking slightly to the baking paper. However, this time I encountered cracks and wrinkles in my shells during baking! Total lessons learnt: make sure to 'macaronner' your mixture until it runs off the spoon, slam trays very firmly on the bench, don't overcrowd each baking tray (I was overconfident in round two), make sure your oven is precisely the right temperature and wait as long as possible to remove your shells from the baking paper (my best ones waited overnight). The white chocolate ganache was hard to work with- I would recommend adding icing sugar to make it thick enough to pipe, or just sticking to buttercream. The shells tended to slide off each other at first but once the ganache soaked in they firmed up a little.

Vanilla macaron shells with white chocolate ganache (adapted from Macaron)
140g almond meal
225g pure icing sugar
100g egg whites, room temperature
Seeds of 1 vanilla bean
 150g white chocolate
120ml cream
Food colouring
  1. Measure out greaseproof baking paper for two baking trays. Use a jigger (shot glass) and pencil to draw circles about 3cm wide and 2cm apart on the paper. Place the baking paper pencil side down on the trays.
  2. Sift the almond meal and icing sugar together twice. Discard anything remaining in the sieve.
  3. Beat the egg whites and seeds of vanilla bean until stiff peaks form.
  4. 'Macaronner' (fold) the sifted mixture into the egg whites. Continue folding until glossy and runs off the spoon in a continuous drip (doesn't plop).
  5. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a plain piping nozzle. Pipe rounds onto the baking paper using the circles as a guide. Tap the trays firmly on the bench to release any air bubbles.
  6. Allow to stand for between 20 minutes to 6 hours, to allow a 'skin' to form on the shells. When they are ready you should be able to touch one and have no mixture stick to your finger.
  7. Preheat oven to 150°C.
  8. One tray at a time, place shells into preheated oven and immediately reduce temperature to 130°C. Bake for 10-12 minutes until firm to touch and have 'feet' (the ruffle around the bottom) but are not coloured. Cool completely on the baking paper.
  9. To make the ganache, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water until melted. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over low heat until warm to touch. Whisk the cream into the chocolate and add food colouring if desired. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours or until a consistency able to be piped.
  10. Spoon the ganache into a piping bag fitted with a plain piping nozzle. When the shells are cool, pipe the ganache onto half of the shells and sandwich with remaining shells.
  11. Store macarons in single layers between sheets of baking paper.

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