Merry Macaron-Making

My life in the kitchen has pretty much been all about macarons for the past couple of months.  While I do enjoy an occasional sweet treat, I can’t be eating them all the time!  But what spurs me on is the challenge of making them.  They drive me up the wall – shells cracking, lack of feet, the ‘nipple’ effect on the macaron shells, etc.  But the learning process has been a pretty rewarding experience when the shells come out (almost perfect) from the oven.  Thanks to R from the Pleasure Monger who has been one of my sources for macaron inspiration, I started to dabble and experiment with different fillings for the macarons.

So after slaving in the kitchen, do I end up eating them all?  Hehe, unfortunately not!  Couldn’t afford the extra calories plus the Man doesn’t have a sweet tooth as well.  So once I’m done making and photographing them, they often go to friends and my little Style Princess who will happily eat them on my behalf.

Since the festive season has put me on a mac-baking roll or craze, I decided to play around with flavours that reminded me of the holiday. Peppermint immediately came to mind for this creation.  Peppermint always reminds me of Christmas probably because as a kid, I would always badger my mom to get me a box of the peppermint candy canes. As an adult, my fave holiday beverage has gotta be Starbucks Peppermint Mocha.  There’s something about holding this warm cup of beverage in my hands and listening to Christmas carols as I slowly enjoy sipping on this delicious concoction.

Instead of using almonds to make the macarons, I decided to swap them with Hazelnuts instead.  The result?  A stronger and nuttier flavour that worked very well with the peppermint white chocolate ganache.  Perfect pairing for the festive season!  I wanted to create the red/white swirls just like the peppermint candy canes but somehow the red powdered colouring melded together with the batter.  Arh well, looks like I gotta make up another batch just to try out the swirls again.

Hazelnut Macarons with Peppermint White Chocolate Ganache

Makes about 14-16 filled bite-sized macarons

For Macaron Batter

  • 1 egg white (preferably aged for 3 days) brought to room temperature
  • A pinch of Cream of Tartar
  • 38g icing sugar
  • 36g powdered hazelnuts
  • 30g granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of powder-based red colouring

Method:

  1. Line baking tray with 2 pieces of parchment paper.
  2. Sift powdered sugar with the powdered hazelnuts to ensure that there are no lumps.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg white until they begin to foam. At this stage, add the pinch of cream of tartar and the granulated sugar gradually.  Continue beating until very stiff and firm. When you invert the bowl, the egg white batter has to stay put. That’s the time you know when you should stop.  I decided to play it safe and whisked the egg white batter for about 5 minutes before stiff peaks were formed.  Add colouring.  Continue to beat the egg whites on high for another 1-2 minutes.
  4. Carefully fold the dry ingredients, in 3 batches, into the beaten egg whites with a flexible rubber spatula (ideally).  Stop folding when the mixture is smooth and there are no streaks of egg white.  I used about 40 strokes to incorporate the dry mixture into the egg whites.  Scrape the batter into the pastry bag (standing the bag in a tall glass helps if you’re alone).
  5. Pipe the batter on the parchment-lined baking sheets in 1-inch circles, evenly spaced one-inch (3 cm) apart.
  6. Rap the baking sheet a few times firmly on the counter top to flatten the macarons and to remove the air-bubbles in the macarons.
  7. Leave the macarons out in the open for at least 30 minutes to an hour. This step is important to allow the top of the macaron shell to dry up so that you get a smooth surface for the macarons.  You will know when to pop the macarons into the oven when you touch the macarons and the batter does not stick to your fingers. Be careful not to leave them out too much for it will give you crunchy macarons and you don’t want that. This step is important and if you skip it, your macarons might flatten .  While waiting, preheat oven to 140 degrees C.
  8. Bake for 15 mins and let cool completely before removing from baking sheet.

For Peppermint White Chocolate Ganache filling

  • 50g of white chocolate (chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Peppermint extract
  • 3-4 tablespoons of cream

Method:

  1. Infuse Peppermint extract in cream overnight.
  2. Place the chopped white chocolate into a medium size microwave safe mixing bowl. Set aside while you heat the cream.
  3. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until just boiling.
  4. Pour the cream over the chocolate and leave to stand for two minutes. This will give the chocolate time to soften.
  5. Stir the ganache until smooth. If all the chocolate has not melted then place the bowl in the microwave and heat for 30 seconds. Remove and stir until smooth.
  6. Leave the chocolate ganache to cool until it reaches the desired consistency.

Assembling macarons:

  1. Spread white chocolate ganache on the macaron shell.
  2. Sandwich and you are done!

It’s recommended that you let the flavours sit inside the macaron for 1 day before having them.

I’m pretty happy with how these macarons turned out.. so I decided to finally take the plunge and join the MacTweets Mac Attack #25 Seasons & Holidays Macarons.  I’ve been following MacTweets for a while but never summoned the courage to take part in any of the challenges.  Reason being they just ain’t good enough.. but this time round, I’m feeling a little more confident of my macarons.  What do you think?

Wishing you all a lovely holiday this festive season!  We have a couple more days before Christmas so get into the spirit and indulge in the merry-making by whipping up these yummy macarons.  I’m glad I did for it did bring a couple of smiles to friends as little treats.  🙂

Happy holidays!!!

xoxo: Lady J

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I’ve been busy in the kitchen… Click here to check out my baking adventures in Geneva.

 

10 thoughts on “Merry Macaron-Making

    • Lady J says:

      Thanks… I just grabbed whatever I could think of to incorporate into the photo… trying to conjure up some Christmas spirit in the photos.

  1. Jamie says:

    I am so glad you joined Mactweets and hope to have you baking with us every month! And what perfect, beautiful macs! And yes so perfect for the Holiday Challenge and I’ll bet the peppermint tasted wonderful. Wishing you a Mactastic and Happy New Year!

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