Monday, April 30, 2012

April Roundup

Lovely, lovely macarons! Well done. These are tricky and your results are just amazing! Thanks for participating.

Raspberries and Cream Macarons

Posted by - bakingaddict from The More Than Occasional Baker

This is a lovely recipe from my macaron book which has remained untouched until recently.  It's a great little book all about macarons. There are pretty pictures and clear instructions with step by step photos. I particularly like the recipes in this book because there is no egg wastage.  The egg whites are used for the shells and the egg yolks for the filling. I would say these were a semi-success, far from perfect but I'm glad I tried them again. I particularly liked the filling - I could just eat it on it's own! I think I can now say with confidence that I've conquered my fear of macarons :)


 strawberries & cream macarons ... but I've run out of strawberry jam so it's raspberries and cream for me

 I didn't have any vanilla pods either so I used a tablespoon of vanilla bean paste - smells amazing and you can see the flecks of vanilla seeds if you look closely enough

 you are supposed to mix to a ribbon like texture... so far so good.... 

 Glitter makes everything better

 A skin formed - honestly! 

 I couldn't resist peeking into the oven... looks good :) 


 look there's feet!! 

 whisking egg yolks, sugar and cornflour... 

 to make a custard like filling...

 ready for the fillings

 jam on one side, custard-cream filling on the other 

 mini macs just because everything looks better in miniature form!

 I'm so super proud of myself!! :) 

Recipe from Macarons by Annie Rigg, published by Ryland Peters & Small, photography by Kate Whitaker - reproduced with kind permission from the publisher (with minor edits from me in the method section)

For the macaron shells

200g icing sugar
100g ground almonds
120 - 125g egg whites (approx 3 egg whites)
a pinch of salt
40g caster sugar
1 vanilla pod split lengthways (I used vanilla bean paste)
red edible glitter

For the filling

Raspberry jam (original recipe states strawberry jam)
3 egg yolks
75g caster sugar
1 tablespoon cornflour
250ml milk
1 vanilla pod, split lengthways (I used vanilla bean paste)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
100ml double cream

  • Blend the icing sugar and ground almonds for 30 seconds until thoroughly combined and set aside. 
  • Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they hold a stiff peak. 
  • Continue to whisk at medium speed while adding the caster sugar a teaspoonful at a time.
  • The mixture should be thick, white and glossy.
  • Using a large metal spoon, fold the ground almond and sugar mixture into the egg whits. 
  • Continue folding until a ribbon-like texture as shown above. 
  • Fill a piping bag with the mixture and pipe evenly sized rounds onto a baking sheet (I used a silicone mat which you can buy online here)
  • Tap the bottom of the baking sheets sharply, once, on the work surface to expel any large air bubbles.
  • Scatter edible glitter on top (I used a small paintbrush which I tapped gently from a height).
  • Leave the macarons to rest for about 15 minutes - 1 hour until they have set and formed a dry shell. 
  • Preheat the oven to 170C. 
  • Bake the macarons, 1 sheet at a time for about 10 minutes.
  • The tops should be crispy and the bottoms dry. 
  • Leave to cool on the baking sheet.

  • To make the filling, put the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour in a small heatproof bowl and whisk until combined. 
  • Heat the milk, along with the vanilla pod (or vanilla bean paste) in a small saucepan until it only just starts to boil.
  • Remove from the heat and pour over the egg mixture, whisking constantly until smooth. 
  • Pour the mixture back into the pan and cook gently over low heat, stirring constantly until the custard comes to a boil and thickens.
  • Strain into a clean bowl, add the butter and stir until the butter has melted. 
  • Cover with clingfilm and leave to cool before refrigerating. 
  • Whip the cream until it holds soft peaks and fold into the chilled custard. 

  • Take one half of the macaron shells and spread about 1/2 teaspoon raspberry jam onto each one. 
  • Fill a piping bag with the vanilla cream filling and pipe it onto the remaining shells. 
  • Sandwich together with the jammy macarons and leave to rest for about 30 minutes before serving. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Three Tier Multi-Colour Macaroon Cake

Posted by - Laura loves cakes (

If you have a friend or family member who likes cake but who also likes macaroons and you can't decide which to make them...why not give them both in this three tier multi-colour macaroon cake. You can choose any colour of macaroon you like, I quite fancy making another one with a rainbow or macaroons and it looks quite impressive without being too difficult!

This cake is based on a design by the cake decorator Zoe Clark, she made hers with 4 tiers and with a slightly different shade of yellowy/peach on the extra tier.

To make the macaroons I used the Italian meringue method, which I have been reliably informed is the best method. The first batch I made were the pink ones, I think the egg whites may have been slightly overbeaten in this batch as the mixture was very stiff and I couldn't get rid of the peaks. However, with a bit of practice the peach and yellow macaroons came out a lot better. You can find recipes for macaroons on the internet and in many recipe books but here are my top tips for macaroon making.

Top tips for making macaroons:
  1. When heating your sugar and water make sure you use a heavy based saucepan and have a thermometre on hand as the temperatures need to be very precise.
  2. Mark out circles on your greaseproof paper using a circular cutter as a guide to give your macaroons a uniform size. Don't forget to turn your paper over to use it, otherwise the pencil will come off on the macaroons!
  3. To pipe, don't try to go round in a circle. Just hold the nozzle still and pipe, the shape will form on it's own. When you reach the edges of your circle template, stop putting pressure on the piping bag and quickly swirl the nozzle to avoid a peak. This can be achieved with a flick of the wrist.
  4. When you have finished piping your macaroons, tap the tray on the counter top to get rid of any ridges or peaks.
  5. Once piped, leave your macaroons for around 30 minutes before putting them in the oven. They should form a skin over the top.
  6. Finally, whilst cooking your macaroon should grow in size and a little foot should develop around the base of each macaroon as you can see above.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Pistachio Macarons

Posted by - Anuja @

I have a new obsession these days (and I think 8 out of 10 food bloggers are on the same platform as I m :D)...French Macarons. Having tasted blood with my first batch, I m hungry for more. I want to try every combination possible and the possibilities are endless.

Made Chocolate Macarons next and they too obligingly turned out beautiful. This is my third batch of the temperamental cookie (did I just committed a faux pas by calling it a cookie?....oh well) and I m telling you the cookie is still behaving :D.

As much as I love the traditional almond flavor, this pistachio variation was unexpectedly delicious. More earthy and nutty.  The pistachios add an extra chewiness and also give the macarons beautiful intense flavour.

Everything is just right about these green beauties. The bottoms of the shells are flat and they rose and had "FEET", the texture is extremely chewy with a crunchy exterior, and the flavour is just amazing.

Pistachio Macarons
Refer to my first post on macarons for detailed understanding of the process and weights of ingredients
(will yield around 40 shells of 3 cm diameter)
35 grams Almond meal 
30 grams Pistachio meal
80 grams icing sugar
40 grams caster sugar
50 grams egg whites (aged for a little over 24 hours on the counter top

Preheat oven to 180 degree Celsius. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
In a large mixing bowl mix the egg whites with an electric hand beater (alternatively you can use a stand mixer with the whisk attachment) until it is thick and frothy. Gradually add the sugar, whisking all the while, until the mixture turns into a thick, glossy and compact meringue. Make sure the the meringue is not over beaten or else it will be too dry.
Process the almond meal, pistachio meal and icing sugar at high speed to achieve a fine powder. Sift (or whisk the powder by hand) to break up any lumps of powder.
Place the dry ingredients into a bowl, then add a few drops of the green food coloring. Add the meringue and give it a quick fold. You don't need to be gentle, but the goal is to incorporate the dry ingredients quickly to avoid overmixing. It's better to undermix than overmix. Continue until you get a smooth and supple mixture, thick in consistency so that when you lift the spatula in flows back in thick ribbons. Test a small amount on a plate – should the tops fall back and flatten by themselves then it is ready, if not give it a few more folds.  
Spoon the batter into a piping bag/gun with a 8-10 mm nozzle and pipe evenly onto the baking paper. Mild peaks should settle back into the batter eventually. If they don't disappear, tap the tray repeatedly on a table until the peaks have largely disappeared. Usually the batter will spread a little and any bumps will disappear.
If you want, you can leave the piped batter to dry for anywhere between 20 mins and two hours. Drying the batter helps in feet forming. Place the tray in the oven. If you're using a conventional oven, cook as normal for two mins and then open the oven door about 2.5 cm and place a wooden spoon between the door and the jamb to permit hot air to escape for the rest of the cooking time. (Your spoon might get a bit singed, so soaking it in water briefly beforehand is a good idea.) 
At the 5 minute mark the shells should have lifted and developed 'feet'. At the 6-7 minute mark they should be starting to colour just slightly. Rotate the baking sheet if the colouring is uneven. They are probably ready if a shell moves only reluctantly on its foot when you lightly nudge it with a finger.
 Remove from the oven and leave on the tray for a minute or two. Gently try to lift one of the outermost shells. A slight twisting motion or a peeling motion can help. If the shells stick badly, but are firm, try spraying or brushing a little water under the baking paper. This will moisten the paper and soften any stuck bits after 1-2 minutes. Don't use too much water or the shells may start to dissolve around the edges. Remove each shell by gently peeling away the baking paper or with the aid of a thin palette or paring knife. Another solution to the sticking problem can be to place the paper or Silpat (with stuck macarons) in the freezer for a while. Once removed from the sheet, leave the shells to cool on a wire rack, face up.

How to Assemble:
Fill the Chocolate Butter Cream in a plain tipped piping bag and pipe small dollops on one of the shells then gently cover with another. Do not press. Continue to do this until you have used up all of the filling and shells.  Leave the filled cookie to mature in the fridge for a day or two for the flavours of the fillings to mingle with the shell and to get the best results. Macarons are best eaten after a day or two of filling them.

This post is linked to Have The Cake. The theme for the month of April is French Macarons.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Beauty and the Beast

Posted by - Miss C @ Tête-à-Tête 4 Food

Macaroons look simple, the ingredient list is not long or peppered with unusual things BUT do not be fooled they are tricky things to make! However I found them really fun to create!
These are my Raspberry and White Chocolate macaroons I made for Valentines Day this year, hope you enjoy!

As a child I loved watching Disney movies and Beauty and the Beast was a favourite. From this day I still remember the rose in the jar and my panic stricken grief as the petals started to fall one by one. I thought it would be a lovely theme for my Valentine's post. What I thought of love as a child was influenced a lot by the fairytale styled Disney films and hopefully this post portrays the sweetness and innocence of love. I sometimes still believe in fairytales!

So, I have made raspberry and white chocolate macaroons finished off with roses for decorations. The rose in the glass jar is my inspiration and I was sure to feature it as part of my presentation. I hope you enjoy this post and cherish your childhood memories. 

April Challenge: French Macarons

Posted by - Rena

photo courtesy of Pinterest (not mine)

It was bound to happen. There has been a macaron explosion in NYC for last few years. They are everywhere! The flavor combinations are endless. I've eaten a bunch around the city and they are hit or miss. Some I love, some are good but not worth the $2-$3 a cookie you have to pay. It's time to make them on our own. These are not to be confused with the macaroon which is a coconut cookie.

I can't wait to see what combinations you come up with!

Happy Baking!