Sunday, January 10, 2010

Mac Attack 3 - Chocolate Macarons with Green Ginger Wine Buttercream

There has been a great deal of twitterchat about macarons and I understand that they are the new Cupcake!?
So I decided to have a go myself and when I came across the MACTWEETS blog I thought - hell why not.

Now to enter the Mac Attack challenge I understand that there has to be something NEW about ones macarons.  Well these are new to me and I won't provide a recipe as such as I sort of made it up as I went along using the ingerdients I had to hand from my larder and referencing a number of different blogs and foodie sites and I'm sure every MacMaker has their own secret recipe tips and twists.  This is more of a pictorial blog of my journey through making Macs for the first time...

I had 4 eggwhites left over from the pasta that I made for dinner last night so I used these as a starting point for my macarons - Some recipes that I have seen say that whites should be left uncovered in the fridge for a week before using, therese were only 24hrs in the fridge and would have to do. them from the fridge and letting them come up to room temperature before whipping them up with a small amount of icing sugar until glossy and stiff
Into a separate bowl I seived ground almonds, icing sugar and cocoa powder.

I then folded the dry mix into the eggwhites and added some vanilla extract.
Being a techy geeky type I used photoshop to make up sheet of 1" (25mm) circles on a 2" (50mm) grid which I printed out a couple of times and stuck together to be the size of my baking tray.
I then laid a sheet of non-stick baking parchment over the layout grid on the baking tray and used the printed circles as a template for piping the macarons out.
After piping out two tarys worth I left them on one side for 30mins while the oven heated (180 degrees C) as I understand that the formation of a skin is very important especially if ones macarons are to have good "feet"!
After baking them in the oven for 15 mins they cane out looking quite good - I think the mix may have been a bit thick as although they did seem to have grown "feet" and puffed up a bit the little "nipple" at the top did not bake out.  I transferred them to a baking tray with ease - some recipes suggest putting a bit of water on the hot tray under the baking paper to ease the macs off - this did not seem necessary with the non stick parchment I used.
While the macs were cooling I made a simple butter cream using Stones Green Ginger Wine as a flavouring - I love this stuff and of course chocolate and ginger is always a winner!
After pressing the nipple out of a half shell and piping a good blob of the buttercream on I stuck the other half on and set it out to serve.
I have to say I, and the rest of the family were very happy with the results - a really deep chocolaty almond macaron that was crisp on the outside but chewy in the middle was well balanced by the aromatic green ginger wine butter cream.  Although not a strong  ginger flavour you got the sense of ginger up through your nose as the alcohol evaporated and mingeld with the unctious chocolate!  I could have used a puree of crystaised ginger, and may do in the future, but I guess macarons are a delicate amuse bouche and will defiantly be making them again now I have got the bug and next time will work on nipple less macarons!


  1. Congrats on FEET! Those macs are beautiful with their nipples. ;)

  2. I can't believe these were your first attempt and you winged the recipe! Absolutely brilliant first attempt, as I said on twitter only a couple of tweaks to make them perfect. Amazing stuff :D

  3. Thanks guys! and Thanks Twitter for inspiring tweeps!

  4. Impressive. I have yet to try making macarons, but everyone on Twitter is taking about them. How long did this first try take you, from beginning to end? Was it as effortless as you make it look??

  5. Oh I love how soon & how well you made these finicky amuse bouche wonderful techy geeky macaron baker! You are so lucky to find your feet in uno attempt. It took me several disasters, and then 6 attempts on a single morning to get anywhere at all.
    Those feet have the potential to make you sing! Brava!! Chocolate & Ginger? YES PLEASE!!
    Thank you for joining us at MacTweets! It's been lovely to have you there.
    PS Shall I add you to the blogroll?

  6. Thank you all for your great comments: such lovely support!

    Deeba - I'd be honoured to join the blogroll - than you. I hope that next time they come out with the more traditional shape!! - was thinking maybe use pistachio instead of almond or if I do use almonds again I will grind them finer! I'd like to try a mango cream too (0% fat using Xanthan Gum to stabilise).

    Sarah - I did it over a period of about 2 hrs - including setting, cooking and cooling but was doing other things at the same time (Cooking Sunday meal for all 9 of us) - I'd reccomend the setting time 30mins minimum - the second tray to bake had better feet and less spread.

  7. Glad I'm not the only one suffering with an overabundance of nipples! And you should market those circled sheets to Bake-O-Lite (seriously!) Great job, well done.

  8. Well done. Glad we have conquered this thing that we only heard about for a while....Making Macarons are addictive. I have made 2 batches in the last couple of weeks and my daughters (6 and 4) had us toiling this last weekend!!!!!!!! Good job. Oz @

  9. These look great! I've read if you dab the tops of your macarons after piping with a wet finger, it will smooth out the nipple-effect. Good luck and can't wait to see what you come up with next!

  10. These look great! I have been making macarons for the past month, and two things I have learned. The almond vs. pistachio flour doesn't make a difference. What matters is sifting the flour through a fine strainer to get all the lumps out. Also, you can beat the #$!!* out of the bottom of your sheet pan prior to baking to get rid of the nipple. Just make sure you do it symmetrically, or your feet will be lopsided. I also found that the more you rap the bottom of the sheet, the shinier the shells are. If your batter is the right consistency, it shouldn't flatten the shells too much.