Chocolate Macarons with Dark Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Cherry Compote Filling


 
Black Forest inspired Macarons - chocolate macarons with Dark Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Cherry Compote Filling. #Chocolate #Macaron #Blackforest #cherry #compote #Frenchmacaron
Black Forest inspired Macarons - chocolate macarons with Dark Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Cherry Compote Filling. #Chocolate #Macaron #Blackforest #cherry #compote #Frenchmacaron
Black Forest inspired Macarons - chocolate macarons with Dark Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Cherry Compote Filling. #Chocolate #Macaron #Blackforest #cherry #compote #Frenchmacaron
Black Forest inspired Macarons - chocolate macarons with Dark Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Cherry Compote Filling. #Chocolate #Macaron #Blackforest #cherry #compote #Frenchmacaron
Black Forest inspired Macarons - chocolate macarons with Dark Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Cherry Compote Filling. #Chocolate #Macaron #Blackforest #cherry #compote #Frenchmacaron
Black Forest inspired Macarons - chocolate macarons with Dark Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Cherry Compote Filling. #Chocolate #Macaron #Blackforest #cherry #compote #Frenchmacaron
Black Forest inspired Macarons - chocolate macarons with Dark Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Cherry Compote Filling. #Chocolate #Macaron #Blackforest #cherry #compote #Frenchmacaron

Hiiii! How on EARTH is is July tomorrow? I swear it was just Christmas? I have been a little preoccupied around here - shooting christmas content for a magazine, which was super fun but took up a fair whack of time, particularly as I had to do the whole lot in my counter top oven. I'm not the best with pressure (highly strung / just a stresser in general) so I will be stoked once it is all submitted. I can't wait to share when the time come. We also just got new foster kittens! They are super cute, but full of worms. I've dealt with more poop in the last week than I have in a very, very long time. Who knew so much wormy poop could come out of such tiny little babies! It's gross, but all part of the fostering process. Thankfully they seem to be feeling better, so hopefully all the shitty problems clear up and I can snuggle them without having to hold my nose very soon! 

Just popping by to share this month's macaron recipe! I am sure nobody else is invested in this whatsoever, but I love the fun wee challenge of coming up with a new flavour combo each month. Jase came around this morning and we made these guys - things have been so hectic we were lucky to squeeze it in on the last day of the month!

We kept things pretty simple this time and went for a black forest inspired situation with a dark chocolate macaron with a cherry filling - chocolate shell, silky chocolate swiss meringue buttercream, and a cherry compote. Cherry season is in full swing here now, so it only made sense to incorporate them somehow! I love the combination of cherries and chocolate - we kept the compote simple to really let the flavour shine through. Happy end of June! 

A few wee tips:

  • All my Mac tips are here! The chocolate macaron shells can be a little finicky, particularly in the humidity, but I promise they are worth the effort! 
  • Ideally the cherry compote will chill overnight, but if you are in a pinch, you can spread it onto a quarter sheet pan, place a piece of plastic wrap over the surface, and pop it in the freezer until cold. 
  • You will have some Swiss Meringue Buttercream left over - you can either half the recipe if you don't want this, or it keeps super well in the fridge if you wanted to use it for another project. I find that making half a batch of buttercream can be a little tricky, depending on your mixer. Plus I think if you're going to go to the effort you might as well make lots to use again! 
  • Good quality cocoa powder makes a difference! 
 

 

Dark Chocolate Cherry Macarons

- Makes about 24 macarons -

Chocolate Macaron Shell
170g ground almonds
270g powdered sugar
20g cocoa powder
180g egg whites, at room temperature
160g white sugar

Cherry Filling
600g cherries, stemmed and pitted
100g white sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
pinch salt

Dark Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream
1/2 cup (123g) egg whites, or 4 large egg whites
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
455g (16oz, or four sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
250g dark chocolate
1/4 cup (25g) dutch process cocoa

 

- PROCESS -

MACARON SHELLS

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. 

Sift together the ground almonds, cocoa powder, and powdered sugar into a medium bowl. Sift again to ensure there are no large clumps.

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. 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 18-22  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. 

CHERRY FILLING

Place all of the ingredients into a medium saucepan. Heat over medium - high heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture comes to the boil. Turn down the heat slightly and continue to cook for 15 minutes, until the cherries are soft and the mixture is starting to reduce. Transfer to a jar and allow to cool completely. Using a stick blender or high powered blender, blend until nearly smooth. Store in the fridge until ready to use. 

DARK CHOCOLATE SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM

Place the egg whites, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer or a heat proof bowl. Place over a pot of simmering water, ensuring that the water does not touch the bowl. Heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture registers 160˚f / 70˚c on a thermometer and the sugar has dissolved. Carefully transfer the bowl to the mixer, and fit with the whisk attachment. Whip the egg whites on high until they are snowy white and fluffy, 8-10 minutes. Add the butter one chunk at a time. The mixture may look curdled - but just keep mixing! Once all the butter is incorporated, mix on high for a further 10 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix until incorporated.

While the buttercream is mixing, melt the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl in 30 second increments in the microwave. Set aside to cool slightly. 

Once the buttercream has finished mixing, and is smooth and silky, add in the cooled chocolate, and sift in the cocoa. Mix for a further 2-3 minutes, then switch to the paddle attachment and mix on low for one minute to remove any air. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a small french star tip. 

ASSEMBLY

Place the cherry compote into a small piping bag fitted with a round tip. Pair up each macaron shell with another of an equal size. Pipe a ring of buttercream on one half of the shell, then a blob of the compote in the middle. Place the second shell carefully on top. Repeat with the rest of the macarons. Macarons are best chilled overnight to allow the flavours to meld, but can also be eaten immediately. 

 

Black Forest inspired Macarons - chocolate macarons with Dark Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Cherry Compote Filling. #Chocolate #Macaron #Blackforest #cherry #compote #Frenchmacaron

Kaffir Lime Macarons


 
Kaffir Lime Macaron - a shell filled with a delicately infused kaffir lime german buttercream #kaffirlime #macarons #germanbuttercream
Kaffir Lime Macaron - a shell filled with a delicately infused kaffir lime german buttercream #kaffirlime #macarons #germanbuttercream
Kaffir Lime Macaron - a shell filled with a delicately infused kaffir lime german buttercream #kaffirlime #macarons #germanbuttercream
Kaffir Lime Macaron - a shell filled with a delicately infused kaffir lime german buttercream #kaffirlime #macarons #germanbuttercream
Kaffir Lime Macaron - a shell filled with a delicately infused kaffir lime german buttercream #kaffirlime #macarons #germanbuttercream
Kaffir Lime Macaron - a shell filled with a delicately infused kaffir lime german buttercream #kaffirlime #macarons #germanbuttercream

Happy Sunday! We are having a quiet one around here - we just did 12 million loads of laundry, and are making the most of having some quiet before things get busy for us the next few weeks! Gonna sit on my butt for the rest of the day, my friend is coming around and we are going to watch the new episodes of Handmaids tale! I am so excited. 

My Mum left yesterday, after the best two weeks ever of visiting! She's still not home just yet though, despite leaving over 24 hours ago. Lol. The joys of living on the opposite side of the world. She hasn't been here since I first moved to NYC four years ago, so it was so nice to show her all of the things that we have been up to the last four years. Lots has changed since she last visited! We ate at all of the food spots, saw all the broadway shows, and she kicked my ass in the gym. Winner. I had big plans of making her all the yum vegetarian meals we have been eating recently, but in a hilariously ironic turn of events it turned out I was low on iron, so there were a few sneaky steaks in there too. How is it that Mums always know best?

I always get hugely gutted when my family leaves after visiting - i'm such a huge, huge homebody that saying goodbye really really sucks. I always throw myself into things to hide the homesickness that it dredges up, so after spontaneously getting 5 inches cut off my hair instead of a trim, booking for our couch to be cleaned on Wednesday (v v excited!) and washing everything we own, here I am popping this recipe just here for you! Or for me, because I sure as hell am going to make these again. 

These are the April installment of the Macaron a Month Jase and I decided to take on! Sneaking in with one day to spare, although we made these a few weeks ago. I got Rich a Kaffir Lime tree for Christmas a few years ago (I am excellent at giving gifts that I want), and although it sucks at growing fruit, it is a champ at making beautiful leaves, and while they aren't as intense as the fruit, they are perfect for infusing things! I love the flavour the leaves impart in things - it really is hard to describe, so you will have to just try it for yourself! I've made a kaffir lime ice cream before that was totally bomb, so I knew that they would go so well in a buttercream too. 

I used the leaves to infuse a german buttercream, adding them to the pastry cream as I cooked it out, and then we ground some leaves with sugar and added to the final buttercream too, just to add some teeny green flecks. German buttercream will be forever my fave, as it isn't too intensely buttery tasting thanks to the pastry cream base balancing everything out nicely. It is also super easy to infuse, meaning that it is super versatile. We kept the shells simple, coloured with a little gel food colouring, and then really let rip with the kaffir lime buttercream. These are probably some of my fave macarons I have had to date - the flavour is super delicate, almost difficult to put your finger on, but insanely amazing. 

A few wee tips:

  • I have put as many tips as I can possibly think of in this post
  • Most Macarons taste better after a rest in the fridge overnight, but these in particular especially benefit from a rest - the flavour of the kaffir lime gets stronger and more developed with time.
  • Filled Macarons freeze beautifully, if you don't eat all of them first. 
  • You can usually get Kaffir Lime leaves at a thai grocer or spice market. If you by chance happen to get some fruit, add some of the zest to the buttercream for an extra intense flavour. 
  • If you need a template, print two of these and stick them together to use as a guide.
 

 

Kaffir Lime Macarons

- Makes about 24 Sandwiched Macarons -

Macaron Shell Recipe from I love Macarons, with adaptations from Fox and Crane 

Kaffir Lime German Buttercream
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp (255g) sugar
3 Tbsp (24g) corn starch
1 egg
2 egg yolks
Pinch of Salt
1 1/2 cups (375ml) milk
8 Fresh Kaffir Lime leaves, finely chopped
1 Tbsp Vanilla bean paste, extract, or the scrapings of one vanilla bean
3 cups (675g, or 6 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature. 
2 Tbsp sugar
2 fresh Kaffir Lime leaves, finely chopped

Macaron Shells
170g ground almonds
300g powdered sugar
180g egg whites, at room temperature
160g sugar
Light green gel food colouring (we used 'avocado' by americolor)
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

 

- PROCESS -

KAFFIR LIME GERMAN BUTTERCREAM

In a bowl, whisk together the sugar, corn starch, egg, egg yolk and salt. In a medium non-stick saucepan, heat the milk, the 8 chopped kaffir lime leaves and vanilla to just shy of a simmer.  Remove from the heat.

Using one hand to whisk constantly, pour half of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture. This helps to temper the eggs and stop them from scrambling. Whisk until incorporated, and then pour the whole lot back into the saucepan. 

Heat the milk and egg mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it begins to bubble. It will thicken quickly. Once it has thickened, cook for one minute, then remove from the heat. Pour into a shallow dish or bowl of a stand mixer and press some plastic wrap over the surface to avoid a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cold - at least four hours, preferably overnight.

Fit your mixer with the whisk attachment. Pass the pastry cream through a sieve in order to remove any lime leaves. Whip the mixture on medium until creamy and lump-free. Begin adding the butter, a few cubes at a time, until fully incorporated. It may look curdled at some point but just keep whipping - it will come together!

Place the remaining 2 chopped Kaffir lime leaves and the 2 Tbsp sugar in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, and process until finely ground. Add to the buttercream. 

MACARONS

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 green 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. 

Store cooled macarons in an airtight container until ready to use. 

ASSEMBLY

Transfer the buttercream to a large piping bag fitted with a french star tip (such as an ateco #868). Match the macaron shells up so that they are in pairs of equal size. 

Pipe a blob of buttercream on one half of the macaron, and place the second half on top, pressing lightly. Macarons are best after an overnight rest in the regrigerator. Bring to room temperature before eating.

Kaffir Lime Macaron - a shell filled with a delicately infused kaffir lime german buttercream #kaffirlime #macarons #germanbuttercream

Hundreds and Thousands Macarons (Vanilla Macarons with Vanilla Bean Buttercream)


 
Hundreds and Thousands Macarons - a grown up version of a childhood treat. Vanilla shells, sprinkled with hundreds and thousands, and sandwiched with an american buttercream for the perfect nostalgic treat.
Hundreds and Thousands Macarons - a grown up version of a childhood treat. Vanilla shells, sprinkled with hundreds and thousands, and sandwiched with an american buttercream for the perfect nostalgic treat.
Hundreds and Thousands Macarons - a grown up version of a childhood treat. Vanilla shells, sprinkled with hundreds and thousands, and sandwiched with an american buttercream for the perfect nostalgic treat.
Hundreds and Thousands Macarons - a grown up version of a childhood treat. Vanilla shells, sprinkled with hundreds and thousands, and sandwiched with an american buttercream for the perfect nostalgic treat.
Hundreds and Thousands Macarons - a grown up version of a childhood treat. Vanilla shells, sprinkled with hundreds and thousands, and sandwiched with an american buttercream for the perfect nostalgic treat.
Hundreds and Thousands Macarons - a grown up version of a childhood treat. Vanilla shells, sprinkled with hundreds and thousands, and sandwiched with an american buttercream for the perfect nostalgic treat.
Hundreds and Thousands Macarons - a grown up version of a childhood treat. Vanilla shells, sprinkled with hundreds and thousands, and sandwiched with an american buttercream for the perfect nostalgic treat.
Hundreds and Thousands Macarons - a grown up version of a childhood treat. Vanilla shells, sprinkled with hundreds and thousands, and sandwiched with an american buttercream for the perfect nostalgic treat.
Hundreds and Thousands Macarons - a grown up version of a childhood treat. Vanilla shells, sprinkled with hundreds and thousands, and sandwiched with an american buttercream for the perfect nostalgic treat.

 

I have a confession to make. I can't make rice. To be fair I never really took the time to learn properly - I just tried a few times, made seriously gross mush (rich described it as 'melt in your mouth' one time just to be nice), and then bought a rice cooker, and I haven't had an issue since. 

Unfortunately, macarons aren't such an easy fix. I fell in love with these little cookies a few years ago, but after a few times making them, decided that they were too tricky, and popped them directly into the too hard basket. I blamed my oven. I blamed the weather. I blamed all sorts of things. I put them out of my mind and just decided that I couldn't make them, but they stayed lurking there, until I decided recently that it was time to give them a go again. 

I was convinced my oven was the issue, so I set out to make them in a countertop convection oven. This produced allll kinds of weird results - perfect shells and a nice foot, but on the strangest angle i've ever seen. About 10 batches in I decided that it was probably time to try something else, because this wasn't working. I had tried swiss meringue, and Italian meringue, but had stayed away from french because it was 'harder' to make macs with. 

All it took was a well timed visit to my friend Jase's house with a couple of passionfruit. I made a passionfruit curd then sat at his breakfast bar and watched him make macs, carefully taking mental notes of each step, before realising that I had been doing most of it right all along, and I just needed to keep trying. And so I went home, busted out the food processor again, and proceeded to FINALLY make a batch of macs that were worthy of being called macarons. I was worried I had fluked it, so told myself I had to make another six batches that were perfect before I was even allowed to think about sharing the recipe. And now look where we are! Cloudy Kitchen can make macarons. 

I'm not going to pretend these are easy to make and that I just whipped them up, because they aren't - they are finicky little bastards. Breathe on them wrong and they will fail. Over mix the batter, and they spread everywhere. Don't rest them long enough, and they will crack all over the show. Over whip the meringue, and they will look great, but taste like sweet failure when you bite into one and realise that they are hollow AF. BUT when you nail them, it is an amazing feeling, and you look like a total pro. I just don't mention all the failed batches that came before this one. 

However I am hoping that all the disasters I have had in the past (trust me, there's been a lot - if there is a way to fail at macarons, I have done it), will make for a post that can hopefully prevent some of them happening for you! It's important to remember that these ARE tricky, and they do take a little bit of practice with technique and knowing how far to take the batter, but they are fun to make, and once you have them sussed, you should be away laughing.

I wanted the first macaron recipe that I posted to be a wee nod to my childhood. These macs are inspired by a biscuit (cookie) I ate growing up - hundreds and thousands biscuits. They are a vanilla biscuit, covered in a pink icing, and loaded up with hundreds and thousands (nonpareils). They don't really have a distinctive flavour aside from just being sweet, which I think is probably half the appeal. I replicated the biscuit with a pink shell, and added some sprinkles just after I piped them out. I then filled them with an american buttercream, also "pink" flavour. Usually I wouldn't use an american buttercream in almost any situation, but the slight crust that it gets is perfect for replicating the texture of the biscuits. So here we have it - a hundreds and thousands macaron! Or, a vanilla macaron, coloured pink, with sprinkles. You decide what to call it.

A few wee tips:

  • This is essentially just a vanilla macaron recipe! You can colour it any way you like, leave off the sprinkles, or fill it with whatever flavour you like!

  • If you don't have a kitchen scale, then you need to get one ASAP - these are finicky as they are, and grams are by far the most accurate way to bake. I haven't included a cup conversion in this recipe for that exact reason - I don't feel comfortable giving a recipe that could be thrown off by how tightly packed your cup of almond meal is, or how big your eggs are.

  • Macarons are tricky. They take practice. Don't feel disheartened if they don't work the first time (or even the second time!), they still taste super yum. Take lots of notes. Work out what works for you. Play around with baking time and oven temperature. Its all about finding the good balance. This is the recipe that works for me - hopefully it works for you too! There's so many different recipes floating round on the internet.

  • Invest in an oven thermometer if you haven't already. I calibrated my oven a while back and it's made a huge difference to the consistency of my oven.

  • Watch lots of videos. This is one of my favourites - the recipe is different but the technique is the same. It can be tricky to judge how far to take the meringue and then again how far to take the batter, so a visual guide is best, for me at least.

  • I had a few batches that weren't turning out perfectly circular like I wanted them to, and realised it was from the banging of the pans to help them settle. Too much banging was unevenly distributing the batter, so when it baked they would come out a little oval. I found that giving the batter just a few extra turns meant that less banging was required, and therefore less chance of oval macarons!

  • Oval macarons can also be due to a draft in the room from the air con. Make sure the room doesn't have any and this should hopefully remove the issue of oval macs!

  • Doubling up on sheet pans makes a huge difference in the baking process - it helps to keep the distribution of heat nice and even. Jase found that heating the pan in the oven before you add the one with the macs helps with the lift, which I noticed too - the first batch (on the cool pan) would always rise less than the second and third which were on a heated pan, so, heat your double up pan!

  • I had some issues with my macarons being hollow, and discovered it was from over whipping the meringue (Which I didn't realise that I was doing!) You want it to be nice and stiff, but not too dry.

  • All kinds of things can go wrong with macs. I have experienced almost all of them, so if they happen to you don't sweat it, you're not alone. I used this site to troubleshoot, but the main solution was just to keep at it and keep trying.

  • I also had some issues with the macs sticking a little to the parchment paper (I have had much better luck with paper than silpat), even though they were cooked. My friend who is a pastry chef suggested that if this happens, then you can freeze them, still attached to the paper, for 5-10 minutes, and they usually peel right off! Update on this: We also discovered an amazing parchment - and haven't had a single mac stick since we started using it. It's a non-stick parchment paper - we used this one.

  • It can be a little tricky to check if they are done. There is a fine line between having the shells set, and the feet set and stable, and overbaking and giving them colour, which you don't want. I like to very gently press on the top of one of the shells, and if the foot stays stable, then I know that it is well on the way to being done. If it is not quite there, I give it extra time, checking every minute.

  • I was originally grinding the almond meal and powdered sugar together, but then realised it really only needed sifting, I just had the wrong sized sieve! You want one with a medium sized mesh (I ordered this one), and make sure you sift twice to remove any big lumps and aerate the mixture.

  • If you need a template, print two of these and stick them together to use as a guide.

  • If you have any questions please feel free to pop them down below - I will update this section as I try more things and learn what works the best!

 

 

Hundreds and Thousands Macarons

- Makes about 24 sandwiched macarons -

Macaron Shell Recipe from I love Macarons, with adaptations from Fox and Crane 

Macaron Shells
170g ground almonds
300g powdered sugar
180g egg whites, at room temperature
160g sugar
A few drops of pink gel food colouring
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
Hundreds and Thousands Sprinkles, (Nonpareils) to finish

American Buttercream Filling
225g (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
pinch of salt
500g (4 cups) powdered sugar, sifted
2-3 Tbsp whole milk, as needed
Pink gel food colouring

 

- PROCESS -

MACARON SHELLS

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 pink 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. Sprinkle the tops of the macarons with the hundreds and thousands sprinkles. 

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. 

AMERICAN BUTTERCREAM FILLING

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the butter, vanilla bean paste and salt until pale and creamy. Sift in the powdered sugar, and mix on medium speed until well combined. If needed, add milk a tablespoon at a time, until the frosting is light and fluffy, and a pipeable consistency. Add gel food colouring until the desired colour is reached. Transfer to a bag fitted with a large french star tip (I used an ateco #866).

ASSEMBLY

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.

Hundreds and Thousands Macarons - a grown up version of a childhood treat. Vanilla shells, sprinkled with hundreds and thousands, and sandwiched with an american buttercream for the perfect nostalgic treat.