Sunday, 30 August 2015

Coffee Macarons

Picture me, head in hands asking why-oh-why do I do this to myself...
Macarons. They tease me, tempt me, and ultimately taunt me.
But I keep on coming back to them!
It's been a while since I made these little devils delights. But one batch, and I'm hooked again...
So, here's a pairing of two of my addictions: coffee and macarons!

Coffee Macarons 

3 egg whites (100g-110g), at room temp. Aged for 2-3 days.
2 tbs caster sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
200g icing sugar
125g ground almonds/ almond meal
1tbs instant coffee granules (use good quality freeze dried coffee), dissolved in 20ml boiling water. 

Prepare baking trays with parchment. Make sure that the parchment is flat and that the trays aren't warped.

Put the almond meal and icing sugar into a food processor and pulse until well mixed and finely ground.  Sift into a bowl. Discard the large granules which don't pass through the sieve.

Whisk the egg whites at low speed with an electric beater until frothy, then add the cream of tartar. 
Beat until soft peaks form, then add the caster sugar, slowly down the side of the bowl.  
Beat at high speed just until stiff peaks form. Add the cooled coffee mixture. Fold it in. 

Sift half the almond meal / icing sugar mix into the meringue and fold in.   
Then sift in the remaining almond meal and icing sugar. Once again discard any large granules of almond meal.

Use a spatula and a figure-of-8 motion to gently fold the batter until it is loosened and falls in "ribbons" from the spatula.
(This is a tricky part - as you need to avoid both under-mixing, and over-mixing!)  

Transfer to an icing bag with the tip cut off or one fitted with a large plain round icing nozzle (not more than 1cm diameter).

Pipe small dots of batter beneath the corners of the baking parchment  to keep it in place on the baking tray.

Pipe your macaron rounds - about 3-4cm diameter, about 2cm apart. Pull your piping tip to the side - this leaves a tiny tail, which will settle. 
Rap the tray twice on the counter to release air bubbles. 

Now, turn on your oven to 150'C

Leave the macarons to stand for approx. 30minutes until they form a "skin" - ie. when touched with a clean, dry finger they aren't sticky.

Bake at 150'C for 15-16 minutes.
Check that they're not browning as the end of the baking time approaches.

Leave to cool for 5minutes, then remove from the trays. If they are undercooked, they will stick to the parchment. You can pop them back into the warm oven for a few more minutes just to dry out a little more.
(Macarons are best after being filled and left for 24hrs - the filling rehydrates them a bit.) 

Dark chocolate ganache

200g dark chocolate, cut into small, even sized pieces.
100ml cream ( 35-40% fat content) 

Place both ingredients into a double boiler (a heatproof bowl placed over a pot of simmering water) 
Heat slowly, stirring frequently until all the chocolate has melted. (Alternatively microwave, in 30second bursts. Stir in between. Do not overheat!) 

Leave to cool down at room temperature. Place some cling-wrap onto the surface of the ganache to prevent a crust forming. 

Allow the ganache to set to spreading consistency, then either spoon or pipe it onto a macaron shell. Place another matching-sized macaron shell on top.

Store the macarons in the fridge, but allow them to come to room temperature before serving.



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