Happy Nearly Easter! Have you got plans? I've been eating all the mini egg cookies, making hot cross buns (there is an epic variation on them coming on Friday), and trying to decide whether I should make an easter cookie box this year (After my Christmas one I am worried I have set my own expectations a little high). There are only a couple more days until easter so I guess I should get my shit together.
Just popping by today to share this Creme Egg Macaron recipe with you, and tell you something fun that we have coming up over the next year. After my friend Jase coached my through my fear of making macarons, we figured that a great way to make sure that we had them completely nailed was to make them consistently. And so we are going to do something fun, and bring you a new macaron recipe each month! Jase will be posting them on his blog too (if it's not live when you are reading this, I promise it will be v soon, just peer pressuring him to launch), and we are so excited to try all of the new flavour combos we have been dreaming up.
We thought we would kick things off with an easter recipe. We kept our standard shell recipe, coloured lightly grey and with some speckles, and then filled it with a silky, rich creme egg ganache, made with a solid dose of creme eggs, along with some butter and milk chocolate just to help stabilise, as we found the fondant centre of the egg made things a little sloppy. The final product tastes just like a cadbury creme egg, only a little fancier, and with more calories. What more can you want really? ;) Stay tuned for a whole year of macarons!
A few wee tips:
- We made a template! You can download it here - you can print off two and stick them together. They need a little offsetting and a trim, but this is the size that we use for piping - and then when you bang them out, they will spread slightly.
- I put all the tips I could possibly think of on my last blog post on Macs - so head over there to check them out! Remember they are tricky wee things, and take practice!
- The filling does take a little time to chill down, so make sure you account for that.
Creme Egg Macarons
- Makes about 24 sandwich cookies -
170g ground almonds
300g powdered sugar
180g egg whites, at room temperature
Grey food colouring (we used about 20 drops of americolor 'ash' and 2 of 'black')
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
Creme Egg Ganache
12 regular sized cadbury creme eggs (35g each, 420g total), chopped
90g (6 Tbsp) Heavy Cream
30g (2 Tbsp) unsalted butter
100g milk chocolate
- PROCESS -
Preheat oven to 300˚f / 150˚c, and position the oven rack in the centre of the oven. Using a round cookie cutter or the base of a large piping tip (something about 1.5 inches in diameter), draw a "template" for your macarons on a piece of parchment paper, leaving about 3/4" between each circle.
Place the ground almonds and powdered sugar in the work bowl of a food processor, and pulse until it resembles very fine crumbs. Sift twice through a sieve, discarding any chunks, and set aside. If there are a large number of chunks, return to the food processor and pulse again.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add the sugar, increase the mixer speed, and whip on high until the meringue starts to firm up. Add grey gel food colour a few drops at a time, until the desired colour is reached. Add vanilla and mix until incorporated. Continue to whip until the meringue forms stiff peaks (there is a good example here).
Remove the bowl from the mixer. Add half of the ground almond and powdered sugar mixture, and fold into the meringue. You want to deflate the meringue just a little at this stage, to combine the meringue and ground almond mixture.
Add the remaining ground almond mixture, and stir lightly to combine. Now comes the important part - mixing the batter to the correct consistency. Again, this video does a good job of explaining it. Fold the mixture in a series of 'turns', deflating the batter by spreading it against the side of the bowl. Turn the bowl slightly and repeat the movement - scooping the batter from the bottom of the bowl, and spreading it against the side. Continuously check the consistency of the batter - you want it to flow like lava when you lift the spatula from the bowl, and you should be able to 'draw' a figure 8 with it, without the batter breaking (again, watch lots of videos to get an idea! They help so much). This step can take some practice until you know what it should feel and look like. If in doubt you are better to under mix them than over mix them - the process of putting the batter into the bag and piping out will help mix a little too.
Fit a large pastry bag with a medium sized round tip, such as an ateco #805. Place the macaron template on a sheet pan, and place a second piece of parchment over it. Holding the piping bag at a 90˚ angle to the surface, pipe out the batter into blobs the size of the circles drawn on the template. Finish off each piped circle with a little "flick" of your wrist to minimise the batter forming a point (it will still form a small one, but we can get rid of this with banging). Remove the template from under the macarons.
Hold the baking sheet in two hands, and carefully but firmly, evenly bang it against the bench. Repeat this a few more times - this will get rid of any air bubbles, remove points on the top, and help them to spread out slightly.
Repeat the piping and banging process until you have used up all of the batter - I usually make three sheet pans worth.
Allow the macarons to dry at room temperature for approximately 30 minutes, or until they form a skin that you can touch without your finger sticking to them. This time will drastically vary depending on the humidity.
About fifteen minutes before you are going to bake the macarons, place a spare sheet pan in the oven to preheat - this is going to be used to place under the pan with the macarons on it, to double up, which should help with even baking. Bake the macarons one sheet at a time - place the sheet with the macarons on the preheated sheet, and place in the oven.
Bake for approximately 18 minutes, rotating the pan once during the cooking process, and checking for doneness after 15 minutes. The macarons should develop a foot (the ruffled part on the bottom of the macaron), and bake without browning. To see if they are done - press down lightly on a shell. If the foot gives way, it needs a little longer, if it is stable, then it is close to being done. Test a macaron shell - if you can peel it away cleanly from the paper, they are done. If they are stable but cannot yet peel away cleanly, give them another minute or so. Again, this part takes a little trial and error depending on your oven. If they seem done but do not peel away cleanly, do not worry - there is a little trick for that!
Remove from the oven, and allow to cool on the sheet pan for 10 minutes before peeling off the parchment paper and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack. Repeat the baking with the remaining trays, using the same spare sheet pan to double up.
If your macs do not peel away cleanly, place them, on the parchment paper, into the freezer for 5-10 minutes, then peel away from the paper. If desired, apply 'speckles' by flicking some watered down gel food colouring onto the shells with a paintbrush.
Store cooled macarons in an airtight container until ready to use.
CREME EGG GANACHE FILLING
Place all of the ingredients in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water, ensuring that the bowl does not touch the water. Stir with a whisk or spatula until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Transfer to a container, and press a piece of plastic wrap directly against the surface of the filling. Refrigerate for about an hour, stirring occasionally, until the ganache has firmed up to a piping consistency. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip.
Pair each macaron shell with another of a similar size. Pipe a circle of buttercream on one half, and then sandwich with the second shell. Macarons taste best if you 'mature' them in the fridge overnight to let the flavours meld, but they are perfect eaten immediately too! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.