Masterchef Junior is now the top choice in our home and when the girls saw the incredible Macaroons that Nathan made in season 3 they were begging to try some of their own.
Now did I mention being an overachieving mum? Well after taking on these tiny but oh so tricky little sweet delights, it seemed only appropriate that we celebrate in style with a macaroon dolls tea party for my twin sweet hearts.
To start with I recommend researching the technique as there are a few tips and tricks that will definitely help you on the way to making a beautiful macaroon. I immediately knew exactly who to talk to, our dear friend and incredible chef Edison, or as he is fondly know in our kitchen ‘Uncle Eddie’ Edison has taught me many tricks over the years and I have fabulous memories of cooking in his kitchen together. I knew he would know the best tips when working with kids as this is one of his specialties. Tip number 1, practice this recipe before you attempt it with the kids.
What you will need for the Macaroons
- 3 Egg Whites TIP – be sure your eggs are room temperature before your whisk
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
- ¼ cup white sugar (50 g)
- 1 cup almond flour (120 g) Tip – sieve your almond flour and then measure the correct amount from the fine flour
- pinch of salt
- 2 cups confectioners sugar (200 g)
- Filling suggestions either a chocolate ganache or raspberry buttercream (see below for more details)
- Using a high power electric whisk (KitchenAid) beat your room temperature egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy, then add sugar and salt and continue to beat until they form a stiff peak that’s still glossy but firm. This can take 6/7 minutes, I tried a little longer the first time, but felt it was too long, the whites seemed a touch too solid, had lost their shine and got stuck inside the whisk . Tip – If you forget to leave your eggs out to reach room temperature you can submerge in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes.
- Add the food coloring, Tip – I like to add a touch more than desired color as the cooking process can dull the appearance.
- Sift the Almond Flour and the Confectioners sugar to remove any lumps. Tip – I like to sieve the almond flour and then measure 1 cup from the sifted bowl to avoid losing any weight as you will most likely discard a lot of lumps. You can also give the flour a quick blast in the Vitamix being sure not to leave too long or you will get almond butter. Repeat with the confectioners sugar and then I like to sieve them both together to create my light airy flour mix.
- Very gently fold the flour mix into the eggs being careful to not over mix, you will want to just mix it so there are no traces of the flour and sugar but then stop. This is the point where may or may not get the mark of a great macaroon. To much folding and you won’t get the little ridges at the base called feet.
- Transfer your mix into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch tip (or use without a nozzle) and on baking trays lined with parchment paper pipe small 1.25 inch rounds. Tip – to avoid the top of your macaroons cracking you will need to tap the tray a few times which will release the little air bubbles. Tip – if you have little peaks you may want to flatten them down a little so try laying a sheet of parchment over the top and gently pressing the peak down.
- Let your trays sit for 30-60 minutes before cooking this will allow them to dry out a little and form the smooth crust.
- Bake in the oven at 300F for 8-10 minutes and then turn tray and bake for a further 8-10 minutes. Tip – I recommend baking one tray at a time, I tried with one tray and the next time with 2 but when there is more than one tray the baking isn’t as even.
- Remove and slide the sheet immediately off the tray onto a cool surface to prevent any extra cooking.
- Viola beautiful Macaroons ready to be sandwiched with a filling of your fancy.
http://youtu.be/h0-tX2Z7TXc For the chocolate ganache filling:
- Place 4 ounces of chopped bittersweet chocolate in a bowl
- Warm 1/2 cup of heavy cream in a saucepan over a medium heat until its just about to boil. Remove from the heat and stir gently into the chocolate.
- Rest for about a minute and then add 2 Tbsp of chopped room temperature butter and mix until blended and smooth.
- Thicken in the refrigerator and then fill your macaroons with a small dime size dollop and gentle press till the you see that perfect little rim of uniform ganache reaching the edges of the macaroons.
For the raspberry cream filling:
- First cream 1/2 cup of salted butter until light and soft
- Sieve into the butter 3/4 cup of confectioners sugar and blend
- Reusing the sieve over the bowl crush a cup of raspberries through the sieve to squeeze out the juice until you have approximately 3 Tbsp of juice and then mix and chill for a few minutes before filling your macaroons with a dime sized dollop.
Lastly be adventurous, colorful and enjoy an indulgent afternoon after all Life is Sweet! with a little eccentricity from Literally Life. If all else fails keep calm and go to Laduree! I have to say I have had my share of Lauree which are lovely but there is nothing more satisfying than accomplishing your first great batch of macaroons, watching the oven and hoping for feet and then the first bite and hearing the gentle crunch through the shell to reveal a light and just slightly chewy centre. We did it on our second round, the first was pretty good but the appearance needed some improving with a little social chat with Edison. I still keep my boxes though from Laduree they are just too pretty ! Outtakes http://youtu.be/0x30UzrwGD8 http://youtu.be/Bfybga4RuRQ http://youtu.be/cxsZbSt76G4 http://youtu.be/hMKuJ0hc3dg