Haniela's: French Macarons for Halloween

Sunday, October 10, 2010

French Macarons for Halloween



I've only made French Macaroons twice, I can hardly say that I perfected them this time around. One thing about these little treasures, even if they crack or don't look like the ones you'd buy in France, they still taste incredible.
I've been munching on these cuties unfilled or filled. I love the way they sing in all kinds of colors and flavors.

My friend gave me 25 pounds of blanched almonds so first thing that came to mind ? You are right. French Macaroons.
I made my own almond meal and I was well underway to make some Macaroons, but not just any Macaroons.
I wanted to make Halloween Macaroons.

For the shells:
100 grams egg whites ( use aged egg whites, left egg white in the fridge for about 3 days and then at room temperature for 24-36 hours)

200 grams powdered sugar
25 grams granulated sugar
110 gr almonds ( blanched and ground )*
1/2tsp cinnamon
Food colorings

( one time I made a big mistake of leaving the almonds in the water too long and they absorbed too much liquid and basically I ruined them. If you feel that your almonds are little too wet, I suggest placing them in the oven a very low temperature to dry them)

Macaron Batter

Prepare Almond Flour
1. I don't have a food processor so I used my blender to ground my almonds, work in batches not all at once, once ground, using a fine mesh  strainer, sift the almond mixture, reserving the fine crumb almond flour and processing second time what ever you get in the strainer. Work until you have enough flour for your macarons, I make more than I need and then I store it in the freezer. If you are using already made almond flour that you stored in the freezer, make sure to bring the almond flour to room temperature before using.
One you have your almond flour, process it again in the food processor or blender with powdered sugar, just to make sure we get rid of any lumps.

Meringue
2. Using your stand mixer or hand mixer, fitter with whisk attachment, whip egg whites to foam, and then gradually add granulated sugar, and whip until you get glossy meringue, add coffee powder and beat until with stiff peaks, but not over beat or your meringue will be too dry.

Folding
  3. Add the almond mixture into to the meringue, give it a  fairly quick fold to break some of the air and then  gently fold the mass  until you obtain a batter that falls back on itself after counting to 10. What you want to do is give  several  quick strokes at first to break the mass and  then gradually slow down.When you are about 25 strokes divide into 2 bowls Using food coloring color both batters, I used orange and electric green color. Gently fold in.
This whole process should not take more than 50 - 55  strokes.
I recommend testing a small amount on a plate: if the tops flattens on its own you are good to go. If there is a small beak, give the batter a couple of turns.
4. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip,  and pipe small rounds (1.5 inches in diameter) onto parchment paper or silicone mats lined baking sheets. Let the macarons sit out for 1 hour to harden their shells a bit. To test this, gently touch the top of the shell, if it smooth and your finger comes off clean, you are ready to bake the shells, if after gently touching the top of the shell your finger is wet, leave them dry for a little more time.

Baking
5. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 300 F. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on their size. I bake my macarons with crack open oven, I use wooden spoon for this.
Let cool. Once baked and if you are not using them right away, store them in an airtight container out of the fridge or in the freezer.


Filling

1/2 cup heavy cream
1cup dark chocolate(chips or finely chopped)

Place chocolate into a medium size heat proof bowl, glass or stainless steel bowl works great.
Heat heavy cream until it get hot, once you see little bubble former around the edges, pour it over the chocolate,
cover and let sit for about 2 minutes. Using a wooden spoon stir the mixture until all the chocolate is incorporated, you should get a thick shiny chocolaty mixture.
Let cool completely, best for several hours.


Fill the baked macaron halves and sandwich them.
Filled macarons taste best when rested for several hours.
 


Macaron Flavors

Apricot: Add 2 drops of orange food coloring to the egg whites after they are whipped. Add apricot jam for filling.
Lemon: Add 2 drops of yellow food coloring to the egg whites after they are whipped. Many types of lemon filling are a delicious addition, but keep it simple with lemon icing.
Cassis: Add 2 drops of purple coloring to egg whites after they are whipped. Add cassis jam for the filling.
Pistachio: Add 2 drops of green food coloring to the egg whites after they are whipped. Combine ½ cup macaroon filling with 1 tablespoon pistachio paste for the filling.
Raspberry: Add 2 drops of yellow food coloring to the egg whites after they are whipped. Add quality raspberry jam filling.
Chocolate or White Chocolate: Add 2 drops of brown food coloring to the egg whites after they are whipped or leave plain for white chocolate. Add slivers of chopped chocolate or white chocolate for filling.
Coffee(watch caffeine, not allowed during pregnancy): Add 2 drops of brown food coloring to the egg whites after they are whipped. Blend ½ cup macaroon filling with 1 ½ teaspoons espresso powder dissolved with ½ teaspoon of warm water.


Macaron Fillings

Bittersweet Toffee Ganache

3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup bittersweet chocolate
1/4 cup crushed toffee

In a heavy saucepan set over medium heat, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the stove and add the chocolate to it. Let stand 2 minutes and then stir until fully combined. Let cool until firm enough to put in a small piping bag.

White Chocolate Raspberry Ganache

1 1/2 cup white chocolate 1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup good quality raspberry jam

Heat the cream until hot. Drop the chocolate and jam into the cream and stir until all are melted and come together. Let cool until firm enough to pipe or spoon onto the macaron shells.

White Chocolate Ganache
1 1/2 cup white chocolate 1/2 cup heavy cream.
Heat the cream until hot. Drop the chocolate into the cream and stir until all melted and comes together. Let cool until firm enough to pipe or spoon onto the macaron shells.

Coffee Caramel chocolate ganache- cook sugar to amber color..pour heavy cream over it, let the caramel to dissolved in the heavy cream, add a tsp of instant coffee and pour hot caramel coffee cream over chocolate

White chocolate lemon ganache- add a lemon zest and limonicello to the white chocolate ganache


Sadly I didn't have any Fall Flavoring so I used cinnamon to flavor mine, but you could flavor them with maple, spice, pumpkin flavoring etc. Wonderful collection of variety of natural flavorings can be bought at http://www.spicesetc.com/category/Natural-Flavorings.
I decided to use 3 colors : Purple, Orange and Electric Green. Purple ones didn't make it. Thought they tasted great, it was a bad hair day for them, so I didn't include them in the photo.
I decorated top shells with royal icing designs. Melted cocolate could be used as well.


5 comments:

  1. they are beyond perfect. i sooo want some now!!! boo hoo for me. yeah for you!

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  2. These are so gorgeous Haniela!! I need more time in my day to try some of these delicious sounding recipes!

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  3. All wonderful, the piped finish is beautiful Haniela... and it's "your Halloween tree" which I love!!

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  4. these are amazing!! I've always been intimidated by macarons, but I think you've inspired me to make some for our neighborhood Halloween Party (mine won't be quite as ornate - WOW!!). Thanks for sharing!!

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  5. I don't know if the first one posted. These are gorgeous!

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