S'more season! Yussss! I always get a bit confused about s'mores season because apparantely it's a summer thing? To me, toasting marshmallows is all about a cozy open fire inside, but I guess I'm not from here so I really have no clue what I'm talking about. Is it because it's a campfire thing? Whatever. Marshmallows last so long that any month can be s'mores season, and these S'mores macarons are made inside anyway so my rambling really makes no difference.
I am tempted to just quit Jase and I's mission to make a new s'mores flavour every month right here and now because I'm not sure we can ever top this effort. We've been planning this one for a while now, and I think it came out better than we could have ever imagined. I love S'mores, and I love Macarons, so we really were setting ourselves up for a win when we decided to combine them. They look super fancy but I promise they really are just another two component filling. We sprinkled the tops of the macs with a graham cracker crumb, rather than incorporating it into the batter. The reason that we chose to do this is because macs are already finicky little things, so we wanted to make them as easy as possible to make. This way you still get the flavour of the grahams, but without potentially upsetting the batter.
Before we made the shells, we made a quick batch of marshmallow, which we set up in a sheet pan, giving us a giant slab of thin mallow. Once the shells were paired up, we cut little discs of the mallow, slightly smaller than the shells, and placed on one half of each pair, before giving the mallow (and the shell in the process) a good torching with a blow torch to give it that toasty taste. We then finished it off with a circle of dark chocolate ganache, and sandwiched it with a lightly toasted second shell. I was initially a little hesitant with how big they came out (s'mores sliders anyone), but as soon as we arranged them all together on a tray, I was totally sold. S'mores are a little rustic, sticky and messy, so it didn't make sense for the macaron version to be petite and pathetic!
Don't be intimidated by the number of steps - making marshmallow is super fun and easy, and once you have made your own you're not going to want to go back to the bought ones! Happy S'mores Season! lol.
A few wee tips:
All my best macaron tips are here!
Start with making the marshmallow first, so it has time to cure while you make the shells. If you like, the shells and mallow can be made ahead of time and stored separately.
Have everything ready to go before you start the marshmallow - grease and dust your pan, have your utensils nearby etc. Things go quickly, and can get very very sticky if you aren't prepared.
You're going to be left with a bit of marshmallow leftover but it keeps for a really long time in an airtight container.
If you don't yet have a blow torch, don't waste your money on a 'kitchen torch' just get a propane torch with an adjustable flame from the hardware store. They are way cheaper and way better.
We torched the marshmallow on a cake turntable to help keep it even! Only do this if your turntable is metal, otherwise prop up a heatproof surface on something like an upside down bowl so you don't melt your turntable.
Our amazing friend Aron made us the cutest sticks to shoot the macs on. He's the best, as always.
If it is a super warm day, your ganache may need a wee sec to set enough before you can use it!
- Makes about 24 macarons -
30g corn starch
30g powdered sugar
14g (2 packets) powdered gelatine
76g cold water
103g light corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
Graham Cracker Crumb
4 Graham Crackers
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tsp granulated sugar
170g ground almonds
300g powdered sugar
180g egg whites, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
Dark Chocolate Ganache
250g dark chocolate (approx 70% cocoa solids)
15g (1 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g heavy cream
- PROCESS -
Sift together the corn starch and powdered sugar. Spray a Half baking sheet (18" x 13" or 46 x 33cm) with cooking spray, then liberally dust with the corn starch and powdered sugar mixture. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the first measure of water and gelatine. Mix well with a fork, and leave to bloom while you prepare the sugar syrup.
In a medium pot, combine the water, corn syrup, vanilla, and sugar. Heat over medium to high heat, stirring occasionally. Heat until the syrup reaches 240˚f /120˚c, then remove from the heat and leave to cool to 210˚f /100˚c.
Turn the mixer on to medium, and mix for a few seconds to help break up the bloomed gelatin. With the mixer running, VERY carefully pour the hot sugar syrup into the mixer. Turn the speed up to high, and whip for 4-5 minutes, until the marshmallow has doubled in volume, has turned white, and holds somewhat of a peak when you stop the mixer and lift out the whisk. Scrape into the prepared baking sheet and spread with an oiled offset spatula, smoothing as much as possible. Dust liberally with the corn starch mixture and allow to cure for at least 1-2 hours.
GRAHAM CRACKER CRUMB
Place the graham crackers and cinnamon in the bowl of a mortar and pestle, and grind until a fine dust. Sift the mixture, and stir through the sugar. Set aside. If you do not have a mortar and pestle, a food processor will do the trick!
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.
Combine the almond meal and powdered sugar together in a large bowl. Sift the mixture twice, to ensure there are no large lumps and that the mixture is properly aerated. Set aside.
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 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. Sprinkle the macarons shells with graham cracker crumb.
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.
Store cooled macarons in an airtight container until ready to use.
DARK CHOCOLATE GANACHE
Place the chocolate and butter in a small heatproof bowl. Heat the cream in a small pot over medium heat, until boiling. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and butter, and immediately cover with a plate. Leave to sit for 5-6 minutes. Whisk well until smooth, microwaving for 10 second increments, if needed, to melt any additional pieces of chocolate, stirring well. Transfer the ganache to a small piping bag fitted with a round piping tip.
Match up the macaron shells into pairs of equal size. Using a cookie cutter slightly smaller than the macaron shell, cut out circles of marshmallow (I usually cut it when it is still in the baking sheet), dusting the cutter in the corn starch mixture between each one you cut out. Secure the marshmallow disc to one of the macaron shells using a dab of chocolate ganache, then blow torch the marshmallow until golden brown (I did this on a turntable). Repeat until one half of each macaron has a marshmallow disc.
We chose to torch the top shell of the macaron as well - this step is entirely optional. To do this, we put two unfilled macaron shells, flat side facing it, then briefly torched the outside. Torching them together means the middle of the shell does not get burnt.
Pipe a blob of ganache on top of each marshmallow disc, and top with the second shell.
Best eaten on the day they are made - if you can, store any leftovers separately and torch just prior to eating - however they will keep assembled for a few days in an airtight container.