New Year's Macarons with Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Pop Rocks


 
New Year's Macarons with Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Pop Rocks. Light, sparkly, and perfect for ringing in the new year.
New Year's Macarons with Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Pop Rocks. Light, sparkly, and perfect for ringing in the new year.
New Year's Macarons with Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Pop Rocks. Light, sparkly, and perfect for ringing in the new year.
New Year's Macarons with Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Pop Rocks. Light, sparkly, and perfect for ringing in the new year.
New Year's Macarons with Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Pop Rocks. Light, sparkly, and perfect for ringing in the new year.
New Year's Macarons with Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Pop Rocks. Light, sparkly, and perfect for ringing in the new year.
New Year's Macarons with Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Pop Rocks. Light, sparkly, and perfect for ringing in the new year.

New Year, uhhh new macaron. There’s not much to say about these ones except they are a bit fancy and very delicious. We took our regular Vanilla Bean French Macaron shell, popped some New Years themed sprinkles on top, then filled it with cute wee blobs of Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream, and finished it off with a pop rock centre for a little post NYE fireworks.

This is Jase and I’s 11th Macaron recipe - we set out to share one a month for a year, and the other day we decided that we might as well keep this going until one of us leaves NYC. We aren’t planning to go for at least two years, so I’m excited to see how quickly we run out of ideas. Lolz. We were joking the other day that us making macarons was kind of like us dating to see if we could be friends - and damn I am happy we started dating. It’s so amazing having someone just around the corner (quite literally - it’s a 6 minute walk from my door to his), who loves to stay home just as much as I do, someone to bounce ideas off of and to work in coffee shops with. I am so, so lucky to have met so many amazing people through the internet - I didn’t know anyone except for Richard when I moved here, so it’s a great feeling to have carved out my own little space here in NYC.

A few wee tips:

  • Everything I know about macarons (all the tips and tricks we have learnt along the way) can be found in this post.

  • Be careful when you are choosing sprinkles to use - if they are solid sugar or chocolate balls, they may get hot and melt through the shells. Go for small balls and baubles in your sprinkles mix if you can!

  • We added pop rocks just to give a little fancy finish, but this step is totally optional!

 

 

New Years Macarons with Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Pop Rocks

- Makes about 24 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
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
Sprinkles to finish (we used some from Fancy Sprinkles)

Vanilla Bean 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 tsp vanilla bean paste
Gel Food Colour as desired
Strawberry (Or your choice of flavour) pop rocks, optional

 

- 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 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 shells with sprinkles of your choice.

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. 

 

VANILLA BEAN 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.

Once the buttercream has finished mixing, and is smooth and silky, add in the vanilla bean paste. Mix for a further 2-3 minutes, then switch to the paddle attachment and mix on low for one minute to remove any air.

Divide the buttercream into four, and colour three of the portions with your desired gel food colour (we used blue, pink and purple to match the sprinkles, and left one white). Transfer to piping bags fitted with small french star piping tips.

ASSEMBLY

Pair up each macaron shell with another of an equal size. Pipe small blobs of the coloured buttercream on one half of the shell, then sprinkle with some pop rocks. 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. 

New Year's Macarons with Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Pop Rocks. Light, sparkly, and perfect for ringing in the new year.

A little 2017 Round-up


 

Ok. So I'm very ready for 2017 to be over. It was one of the best years of my life, but I am more than ready to face the next one. I always feel a little lost in this weird 'between christmas and new year' time, which could be due to the fact that it's not going to crack zero degrees all week, so we have been having some serious inside time. The last few months have been crazy for us both business wise and blog wise, so I have taken this week to not do much at all. I haven't baked, aside from the banana bread in the oven as I write this, which was necessary as I was worried the brown bananas were going to start eating the plate they were sitting on. 

I thought that seeing this is the first year I have actually had the blog for the entirety of the year, I would take the chance to do a little round-up! It's been an insane year growth wise for little old me in my little corner of the internet. When I started this blog a year and a half ago as a little sanity project, I never, EVER imagined that it would grow to where it is today - just in this year alone I was nominated for a blog award (!!!), had my first magazine contribution published (and was on cover of said magazine!), gone on press trips, met so many other amazing bloggers, and worked with some amazing companies. I taught myself so many new techniques, fell in love with my sourdough starter Eunice, and collaborated with some amazing people on some amazing projects. This year has been nuts, and I can't wait to do it all again next year.

Special mention to Jill, as always, for being my home base, my stand in Mum when I need a dose of reality and my own is too far away to give me a rally rally, and for taking Rich and I into their family. At the start of this year I was hideously homesick and ready to move back to New Zealand straight away. Establishing a home base and people that feel like home over here in this crazy city have made all the difference and I couldn't be more grateful. Not to mention that collaborating with Jill always results in the most delicious creations. Now all I have to do is find a way to teleport all my NZ family to the States whenever I need them, and we will be all set to go! There are hopefully a few exciting things on the horizon - we are hoping to start looking seriously at buying a house in New Zealand so that we have something to go back to when we do move, a concept which is so exciting that sometimes I can't get to sleep at night. All I want is some grass, a couple of chickens, and a lemon tree. 

This year was also amazing in terms of growth of our business. We took on 5 new staff, designed a whole lot of new things (I am particularly obsessed with the constellation range, and the new executive objects stuff), and nailed down a bunch of exciting things for next year. I am always so grateful that I get to work alongside Richard - he is so insanely talented, and I honestly would rather be nowhere else than running a crazy cloud factory. 

I also became a fully fledged crazy cat woman, realising how rewarding fostering can be. We opened our home to loads of fur babies this year, and while saying goodbye is always bittersweet, I can't wait to see how many we can give the greatest little kick start next year too. If you have a spare room / space in your bathroom or home / a little extra time, please consider fostering. It helps animals that would otherwise be put down, you get all the fluffy hugs, and it's great instagram story content. Trust me. ;)

I also just wanted to take the chance to say a HUGE thank you to you guys! I honestly would be nowhere if it wasn't for all the feedback, comments, follows, votes, etc that I am somehow lucky enough to receive. It makes my day on the regular when I get feedback from somebody trying my recipes, so please keep tagging me, messaging photos and leaving comments, because it makes every little second and every giant kitchen mess worthwhile. 

So here we are! These are the top five most popular recipes from this year! The usual suspects were in there (turns out you guys love s'mores themed things just as much as I do!), plus I have tacked a few of my personal faves on at the end, just for good measure. If you do have any requests, or things you would like to see more of this coming year. I have made it a little goal of mine to share more savoury recipes on here - I have been playing around with a few things lately and always forget how fun they are to make too! 

Happy New Year to you and yours, I hope however you celebrated was amazing, and I wish you a safe and happy 2018! 

Erin xx 

 

 
Cloudy Kitchen 2017 top five recipes

Honey Lavender Cake with Vanilla German Buttercream and Lavender Ganache Drip

This little number always holds a special spot in my heart - it was the top tier of our wedding cake. If you haven't had German buttercream before I highly recommend - it is custard based, not too buttery, you can infuse it with anything, and it's the best ever. 

Cloudy Kitchen 2017 top five recipes

Espresso Honey S'mores

These were a fave from a baking day with Jill - we made an espresso graham cracker, and sandwiched a fluffy honey marshmallow between. Loads of you guys made this this year, and they all looked amazing! 

Cloudy Kitchen 2017 top five recipes

Earl Grey Buns

If you can infuse it, I'm probably going to attempt to put earl grey in in. I wanted to do a slightly different twist on the cinnamon bun, so went for an infused dough, filled with an earl grey sugar, and finished with an earl grey glaze. Tastes like a cup of tea, but with carbs. 

Cloudy Kitchen 2017 top five recipes

S'mores Tart

This was one of my favourite things I made this year, and also one of the tastiest. Brown butter graham cracker crust, silky dark chocolate filling and torched vanilla bean marshmallow. That is all. 

Cloudy Kitchen 2017 top five recipes

One Bowl Devil's Food Layer Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting

This year one of my baking heroes, Stella Parks released her book, and it is AMAZING. This cake is from the book, and is also AMAZING. Make the cake. Get the book. 

Cloudy Kitchen 2017 top five recipes

Lemon Meringue Pie Ice Cream Pops

These guys didn't quite make the top five but I think they need a mention as they are hands down one of the most amazing things I have ever made. Lemon curd ice cream, pie crumbs, and a torched meringue situation. It's lemon meringue pie, but in a popsicle. 

Thats all from me! Happy New Year! x