Saturday, 5 January 2019

Vanilla latte macarons

Macarons have got to be one of the trickiest, fiddliest but oh so pretty little looking things in the world of baking. I have to be honest and admit that these have been my absolute most testing bake so far.. from failing to perfect the batter itself to having the patience in letting them rest for the required time so that they end up with their smooth outer casing and their defining characteristic- the feet

I have lost count of how many attempts it has taken me but I think I have finally *touch wood* got them worked out.

For the flavours for this batch I decided to go with a vanilla latte filling and I kept the shells white to contrast with the ganache filling

To make my vanilla latte macarons you will need

For the macarons:
175g icing sugar
175g ground almonds
150g egg whites
200g caster sugar

For the ganache:
300g dark chocolate
150ml double cream
1 tsp coffee powder

• Start by making your ganache as you want it to cool and thicken to a pipeable consistency to fill your shells with. Break up your chocolate and place into a bowl. Heat up your double cream in a saucepan with the coffee powder over a low heat till it just about starts to simmer, and pour all over the chocolate. Let it sit for a minute, then stir the mixture together until you have a smooth chocolate sauce. Set it aside covered with cling film to firm up.

• Place the ground almonds and icing sugar into a food processor and blitz together for a minute. Take out of the food processor and then sieve them into a separate bowl. Discard any large bits left in the seive, and set aside (these lumps are what will prevent the smooth shell for the macarons)

• Pour the egg whites into a bowl, and using a freestanding mixer or a hand held electric whisk, whisk the whites on a medium speed. When the whites start to form a few bubbles, turn up the speed very slightly and whisk till the mixture has soft peaks,  ( it will look like cotton wool ) and then start to add in the sugar a couple of tablespoons at a time

• Once all the sugar has been added, turn the speed up to full and mix the egg whites for 7-8 minutes until you get stiff peaks - the meringue should hold its shape if you turn the bowl upside down. At this point, add any food colouring and give the mixture one last whisk to ensure the colour is incorporated fully*

•Line 2 baking trays with baking paper. Add the sifted almond mixture to the meringue, using a spatula to gently fold until combined. Continue to fold slowly until the batter falls into ribbons when you hold the spatula up or you can make a figure 8 with the spatula without it breaking. Do not stir any more at this point

• Transfer the batter into a piping bag fitted with a round      tip. Pipe 4 dots of the batter in each corner of ths        baking paper and flip it over, gently pressing the paper down, this will help the baking paper stay in place whilst you pipe the meringue mixture

Pipe the meringue mixture onto the baking tray , in 3-cm blobs, spacing at least an inch apart. Tap the  baking sheet on your work surface a couple of times to release   any air bubbles.

Let the macarons sit at room temperature for 30 minutes     to 1 hour, until dry to the touch. They will form a skin whilst resting and this skin is what you need for the smooth crisp shell, and as they rise, the feet will then form whilst baking

Preheat the oven to 150˚C, and bake the macarons for 12-13 minutes. You'll know that they are done when they have their 'feet' and peel away from the baking paper without sticking. If they still stick a little, give them another minute and transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely before filling

• To fill the macarons, take one shell, and pipe a little blob of ganache into the middle of the shell, almost to the edges and carefully place another shell ontop. Repeat this process until you have used all the shells and have your completed macarons

* For the food colouring, gel colours work best, and the colour will lighten once the macarons are baking so add a little more than the shade you like for a vibrant colour

* I like to match up the shells size wise before filling them that way tou know which ones fit together as they won't all be the same size unless you are using a macaron mat or draw the circles onto the paper using a cookie cutter