Sunday, August 19, 2012

Macarons!

I'm feeling so clever, right about now  :)
Please let me affirm, I am NOT a good cook, in fact I am truly disastrous in the kitchen, hehe.
But LOOK!
I found this terrific recipe on homerunballerina (I love her blog, even though I am a horrendously bad cook her recipes are ab fab) and felt emboldened to give it a go.
Now, confession time, my first batch following the linked recipe exactly and to the letter was pretty horrible...  I am thinking though it might have been due to the difference between Australian ingredients and US ingredients, maybe? maybe not?  When we lived in the US I did find that some common ingredients were very very different from ours with the same name.  Some ingredients commonly used here in Australia, for example self-raising flour and golden syrup (and that is just a few of many) are simply not available at all.  A lot of my recipes that worked a charm here at home just did not work in the US.  Particularly baking and cake-y sorts of things.
Anyhoo I made a few minor changes to Audrey's recipe, both to the macarons, and I made a much thicker ganache too; and my second batch looks and tastes pretty darn goooood if I say so myself! so this might be a good recipe for other Aussies and New Zealanders to try out.
The original recipe specified egg white powder, and I have no idea where or even if one can get such a thing here in sleepy lil' Perth.  I substituted this stuff called Pavlova Magic, which contains powdered egg white along with other things.  It seemed to do the trick.  It is still a gluten free product, which makes the whole entire recipe gluten free; a definite plus!
My modified version of Audrey's recipe...

Vanilla macarons with dark chocolate ganache 

3 egg whites, allowed to sit for at least an hour
30g castor sugar
5g powdered egg white (if you can't get it, Pavlova Magic works)
125g almond meal
200g pure icing sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp pure vanilla essence

Sift the icing sugar and baking powder and stir through the almond meal.  Combine castor sugar and powdered egg white (or Pavlova Magic) in a separate little bowl.
Whisk the egg whites until firm and stiff enough to keep its shape when you turn the bowl upside down, I prefer to whisk by hand.  Gradually add the castor sugar/powdered egg white mix whisking continuously and vigorously after each addition.
Add the icing sugar/baking powder/almond meal mix in five batches, stirring until mixed each time.  Lastly, stir in the vanilla essence.
Transfer mixture to a piping bag and pipe rounds onto a baking sheet or baking paper, leaving an inch between each round, and let them sit on the bench for at least another hour or until they have developed a "skin" and do not feel sticky to the touch.  I accidentally forgot mine and left them sitting for over two hours, but apparently that is a good thing  :)
Bake at 130C for 5 minutes, turn the tray around, bake for another 5 minutes then remove from the oven.  Slide the baking sheet off the tray and onto the bench; partly so you can cook the next batch, but also the cold bench stops the cooking process in its tracks.  When they are completely cold, peel them carefully off the paper.

For the ganache:
150g dark chocolate
75mL whipping cream
Bring the cream to a boil, then take off the heat and add the broken up chocolate, let it sit for a minute then stir in thoroughly to melt.  When it is lukewarm, spread a little onto a macaron like spreading jam thickly on bread, then stick another macaron on top.

Let the ganache set before you let everybody loose onto them.

17 comments:

  1. Yum yum - making my mouth water... Must be afternoon tea time here in Sydney!! Although I won't have anything as scrumptious to eat as these ..... and who knew you could still buy Pavlova magic???

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  2. Ooohh YUM! I'm going to try these. I think the powdered egg whites you can get at health food shops - someone gave me some once otherwise I wouldn't know either! I didn't know there was no flour in macaroons so I'll be sharing these with my gluten free eating friends. Ta

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  3. Wow! You are clever! I lurve macaroons, must try this. I completely agree with the ingredient differences though. I'm having fun trying to adapt some of my UK recipes for NZ, just because things are that little bit different.

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  4. Yum ... one thing I've been meaning to try...

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  5. That's impressive; macarons are really hard to make! I made some with a friend once - disaster. I know what you mean about having trouble baking in other countries; if I want to bake things using US recipes I have to use US ingredients, otherwise it just doesn't work. I guess it makes sense; baking seems so precise.

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  6. They look great! I find us recepies have a lot more processed ingredients. Why not use regular egg whites, for example? Or add yeast to flour? Not to mention it's cheaper. If you need it I can find an original French macaroon recipe

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  7. Baking is a form of chemistry, affected by weird things like altitude. There is self-raising flour in the US, I'm sure, but I never met golden syrup until I came to the UK. There was a thing called Karo syrup which might be similar, but as I'm not much into sweet stuff I don't know much about it. Your macarons look pretty though! I'm relieved to learn there is something you aren't fantastic at!

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  8. I love macarons.. I can't believe the shops get away with charging so much for them! Wish I could make them but I cook like once a month.

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  9. Yum. They look so good. Nice work.

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  10. Bread bakers have found that something as elemental as the water used in a recipe makes a difference to the final product. @Shelley - I am a Brit now living in Los Angeles, so I am familiar with both Karo syrup and golden syrup, the latter of which I buy here in the import shops. Karo syrup is made from corn, and is very thick and viscous, but oddly doesn't have much of a sweet taste. It is a traditional ingredient in Pecan pie, but I much prefer Richard Sax's recipe which calls for golden syrup instead. I love the slightly caramel overtones of golden syrup in pecan pie - adds a more complex note. I grew up in the UK putting golden syrup on porridge, and it is also lovely with some vanilla essence stirred into thick plain yoghurt.

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  11. these look great! something i've been meaning to try out. i have a recipe from http://www.tarteletteblog.com/ (and she even has a little macaron tutorial booklet thingie) that uses good ol' egg whites instead of the powder.

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  12. Bonus to the story: WE've officially WINTER - we can enjoy baking, cooking, eating ... and movement without too much heat interfering negatively!
    Guess what: Europe seems to have sort of australien summer on a couple of days basis - for 'taste' ! ;-) :-D

    LG, Gerlinde

    (no need to complain about your kitchen skills, when you're even capable to amend/adjust recipes!
    Others would simply whine and stop attempting!)


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  13. I can't imagine you being horrendously bad at anything. My DD - a macaroon fiend - will love this recipe.

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  14. Congrats on your success! Those macarons are beautiful!

    I've tried twice and am itching to try again. I've been getting my flavor ideas and mixing advice from Helen aka Tartlette (http://www.tarteletteblog.com/search?q=macaron&x=0&y=0), but you've provided me with links to other macaron blog posts and ideas. Thank you!

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  15. oooh, gluten free? I might have to check out the original (US ingredient) recipe!

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  16. You are a very bad sewist for posting picture of food on your sewing blog. Bad bad Carolyn.

    I am dieting and avoiding all tempting looking foods. But they do look yummy.

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  17. Wow. Pretty and delicious! I love macarons too.

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