Saturday, July 23, 2011

Yep. I did it. I made Macaroons. Macarons. Pantalons. Bloody Good Biscuits.

I have been watching Season 2 of Aussie Masterchef and was really inspired by Callum's gorgeous bright purple macaron royal crown-inspired dessert which he made for the London challenge.

My sister in law CosmicGal mentioned she would love to try her hand at making them, especially after trying the delicious ones from BabycakeShoppe (located under the stairs to the right of the lobby as you enter the GTower hotel on Jalan Tun Razak, right next to Dayabumi). They are delicious and quite cheap, as they come.

Prior to that I had already tasted the sublime macarons from Nathalie's Gourmet Studio , which I must say are truly divine. Especially the Salted Caramel ones. They are almost double the price of the others, but are also almost double the size.

In general, they are expensive, yes. It's a delicate art or craft. Try whipping stiff peaks into your egg whites in this humidity.

But with all the macarons in my life, I decided perhaps I should try making them too. I went to my local complete baking goods store which I love just browsing (heck, who needs to shop with all that eye candy?) in Jalan Negara, Taman Melawati. Got me some ground almonds and a variety of food colour pastes, chocolates and sugar sprinkles and flavours.

Tonight after the baby had slept, I got to mixing a double batch of all the recipe I decided to use, which I found in two sources, here and here. The former seems to originate from MArtha Stewart's site, and while I followed the ingredients measurements from that one (much prefer cups and spoons to measuring by weight!), I found the instructions to the latter recipe much simpler.

I still had to read and re-read the recipe to understand it. I knew that my performance with the egg whites could be the deal-breaker, and I wanted to fully understand what I was getting myself into.

I had to read up on what aged egg-whites were (whites separated from yolks out of the fridge but allowed to stand, covered in cling film, for at least a day at room temperature. They lose moisture and therefore whisk better).

I was also concocting all sorts of flavours for both the macarons outers and the fillings. At the very last moment I decided on green tea macarons with a white chocolate ganache filling (am toying with making half of them with ginger added to the white chocolate).

I also did paprika macarons, which were surprisingly delicious.

These I will fill with the white chocolate but if I were more inventive, I would go with something less garishly sweet and more mellow. Perhaps a sort of cottage cheese flavoured filling? Something to complement the bite of the paprika.

As I was mixing up the batches, I ended up having too little egg white for the green tea dry mix and they ended up being very dry and heavy in the piping bag, and wouldn't form a skin when resting. Still, I went ahead and baked them because it was my first try and I think I would have been prepared to eat them all raw, it looked so good. They formed "feet" (the little bubbly underlayer you see on all well-made macs) very quickly, and then kind of slid off themselves sideways. They were too heavy and didn't cook in the middle. I kept them in as long as possible but they were starting to turn brown, which is a no-no apparently.

The paprika ones piped beautifully, formed a skin beautifully, and baked beautifully. You could almost see the feet form in a span of 5 seconds.

Both batches have that nutty, herby, almost bittery malty taste, except the green tea is dry on the tongue and the paprika is perky in the throat - ALL GOOD.

Waiting for them to cool and for the chocolate to thicken up. Will post more pics when the product is finished!

Hmmm. Is this something I should ask my peeps to taste-test? Or something I can do on my own?



PS Macarons VS Macaroons? I always thought Macaroons are coconut chewy biscuits - and I was right! However I am not sure if the two names are interchangeable for the egg-shell biscuits I refer to here. If you're shy about frenchifying your words, then fine. I know what you mean!

PPS i awoke to a set white choc filling but i reckon had too little choc in it cos it is too runny. Once i sandwiched the macarons together with the filling, surprisingly, the paprika macs worked out better than the green tea ones, which seem overly sweet despite the matte green tea taste. Must say the paprika are quite good. When you take the first bite, the aroma in my mouth reminds me of barbeque twisties, but then when i continue chewing it becomes this mellow smokey sweet with a kick of heat at the end.
The promised pics:

Despite the drippy choc, Baby Two in typical fashion let it drip all over her hands do she could spend that extra moment savouring it. The mac lasted about 5mins, she took that long to eat it.

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