These are not the most perfect macarons, and rather more of them cracked than in my first attempt but I still considered them a victory because the last two batches of attempted macarons that I made did not turn out well. I'm still getting used to my new oven - I've always had fan ovens, but this one seems a little more ferocious - so we'll put that down as the main cause of the imperfections.
I filled the macarons with a vodka and coffee liqueur white chocolate ganache. Since reading on Homemade By Fleur that ganache can be made with any liquid providing that the ratio is correct, I have been waiting for an opportunity to put this suggestion to the test. I was a little nervous at first that the alcohol would prevent the chocolate from setting (I think I was confusing it with freezing alcohol in ice creams and such), but once cooled, the ganache had indeed set into a runny consistency, so I was happy. My only qualm is that it made the macaron shells slide around a little bit when I sandwiched them together, and as you can see from the pictures it also ran down the sides of some of them when I'd been a bit too liberal with the ganache.
To those of you with spoon-licking habits, a word of warning: that ganache is stronger than you might think, and a spoonful is not at all delicious. This was not at all learned from my own experiences...
I really like these macarons. They're sufficiently gooey, and the shells prevent the ganache from being too overpowering. If anyone knows a mixologist, perhaps you could suggest the Chocolate Russian for me? The recipe is based on the one for macarons from Bravetart - if you have yet to look at her site, hurry on over because it's full of great ideas.
- 4 Egg Whites (115g)
- 230g Icing Sugar
- 75g Caster Sugar
- 115g Ground Almonds
- 20g Cocoa Powder
- 200g White Chocolate
- 50mL Vodka
- 50mL Coffee Liqueur
- Make the ganache by breaking the white chocolate up and putting it in a saucepan with the vodka and coffee liqueur. Put it over a gentle heat and stir occasionally until the ingredients are all incorporated.
- Take the pan off the heat and leave until the ganache has solidified to a runny consistency.
- Preheat the oven to 145C.
- To make the macaron shells, first take three baking trays and cover with baking parchment. Use a cookie cutter or something about 2in wide to trace circles all over the parchment. Turn over so that the ink is on the bottom and set aside - these rings will act as guides for your piping later.
- Sieve the icing sugar, then the ground almonds into a bowl and set aside.
- Put the egg whites and caster sugar in another mixing bowl and whisk until very stiff - the meringue should get trapped inside the whisk and hold its shape perfectly when held upside down on the whisk.
- Add the cocoa powder and whisk for another minute to make sure the meringue is really stiff.
- Pour the icing sugar and ground almonds onto the meringue and stir in until completely incorporated. This will look like an impossible feat at first, but it will combine eventually.
- Now use a spoon or spatula to push the mixture against the sides of the bowl until enough air has left it that if some mixture on a spoon is dropped back into the mixture it will sit on top to start with, but over 20 seconds it should disappear back into the meringue.
- Dispense the macaron mixture into a piping bag, snip the end off and use the guides you drew earlier to pipe circles of mixture.
- Firmly slam the baking trays on the kitchen surface, then turn them at right-angles and do it again. This will knock any leftover air bubbles to the top of the meringue.
- Put the macarons into the oven for 22-25 minutes. If you have a fan oven it's a good idea to put the oven shelves above or below the fan, as Stella at Bravetart believes it can cause them to crack otherwise. When the macarons are done they should peel off the baking parchment without leaving any residue.
- Leave the macarons to cool on a rack, then sandwich them together with teaspoons of the ganache.
- Put the finished macarons in an air-tight container in the fridge for 24 hours before having one, as this helps the flavour develop. Take them out of the fridge about 30 mins before you have one so they can return to room temp.
For more tips on macarons, head over to Bravetart's Ten Commandments of Macarons or check out what Fleur learned at her macaron masterclass. If you're after more cocktail-inspired macarons, Mel at Sharky Oven Gloves has you covered, with a whole series devoted to this cause!
I'll be back in a couple of days with one of my favourite autumnal dishes because, unfortunately, the autumn is upon us. I wore tights on Wednesday for the first time since April; it's gonna be a fun few months!