One of the reasons I love participating in Mactweets is to turn desserts into a compact variation in the form of a French macaron. Most of the time the challenge is more about the theme and flavor profile not the actual dessert. Nevertheless, I’ve converted Pumpkin Mousse Tartettes and Cremisicles into macarons. The great thing about macarons is that just about anything is possible.
During my recent trip to Asia, I discovered these magical little morsels in a store called Melty Kisses. They are chocolate covered matcha (green tea) ganache that you can pop into your mouth like over-sized Tic-Tacs. I’ve always had a soft spot for the taste and color of matcha, but I realized that I’ve never used it as an ingredient in a macaron.
For this month’s Mac Attack #15: Macinspirational, we are to either combine macarons in desserts or turn our favorite desserts into macarons. (I know these Melty Kisses are not exactly dessert per se, but if I eat an entire box of them, they’ll add up to more than a slice of cake in terms of caloric content and everything else.) Matcha Macarons w Bittersweet Ganache are bite-size confections that take the original inspiration to a new dimension, if not a new continent.
recipe by hungryrabbitnyc, 2011
make 32-35 macarons
2/3 cups (3 oz) ground almonds
1-1/2 cups (5 1/4 oz) confectioner’s sugar
3 tablespoons matcha powder
1/8 teaspoon table salt
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 teaspoon meringue powder (optional)
3-1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Prepare baking sheet and template: Using two half-sheet baking pan, fit each pan with a sheet of parchment. Use either a circle template or the wide end of a pastry tip, draw 1-1/8 inch-diameter circles on the papers, spacing them at least 3/4 inch apart. (I get 35 circles per sheet). Set aside.
2. Attach an Ateco #804 or #806 tip to a pastry bag. Twist the bag to hold the tip tightly. This prevents the batter from leaking out. Place the pastry bag, tip down, inside a measure cup or any container that will hold the pastry bag vertically. Set aside.
3. Grind almonds confectioner’s sugar, matcha powder and salt in food processor until powdery, about 30 sec. Sift almond mixture through a medium-mesh sieve. Set aside.
4. Add egg whites and meringue powder (if use) into the bowl of a hand mixer or a standing mixer with whisk attachment. Beat on low speed for 45 seconds to break up the whites. Increase speed to medium high and beat until foamy, about 1 minute. Gradually add the granulated sugar and continue to beat until meringue holds stiff, glossy peaks, about 1 minute.
5. Reduce speed to low, add food coloring and vanilla extract to just combine. Remove bowl to a work surface. Using a silicon spatula, fold in half of the sifted almond mixture with a circular motion (scooping from bottom of bowl) until just incorporated. Fold in the rest of the almond mixture with same motion. (Meringue will deflate slightly.)
6. Press and spread out the batter against the side of the bowl. Scoop the batter from the bottom and turn it upside down. Repeat this process about 12 times. This is what the french refers to as ‘Macaronnage’. This technique gives the baked macarons a luster. Be careful not to do it too many times, or you might get oil stains on the surface of your baked macarons, not so pretty.
7. Pour batter into prepared pastry bag, twist or clip to close.
8. Pipe the batter onto the center of the circles. Batter will spread out after it’s piped. (You’ll get the hang of it once you’ve piped a few.) Rap the baking sheet firmly on the counter. This will help the macarons to hold the rounded shape and pied (little foot) to formed.
9. Adjust oven racks to middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350°F.
10. Dry the batter at room temperature, uncovered, for 30-45 minutes. A slight crust should form on top of the macarons. (This might take longer on rainy or humid days). The batter is ready if it doesn’t stick to your finger when you touch it gently.
Place one baking sheet in middle rack and immediately reduce oven temperature to 300°F. Bake macarons for 8 minutes. Rotate baking sheet, front to back and place it on rack in lower-middle position. Continue to bake for another 8-10 minutes, until crisp and interior does not give easily when gently pressed. (Check macarons around 16 minutes into baking to make sure they don’t brown. You can place a piece of foil or parchment on top at this point to prevent top from browning. When done, move baking sheet from the oven and cool on wire rack. (Residual heat from baking sheet will harden bottoms), about 30 minutes. Loosen macarons gently from parchment with offset spatula (they will be fragile).
Chocolate Ganaché Filling
make 1 cup
1 ounce heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon corn syrup
Pinch of table salt
1/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon Canton/Ginger Liquor (optional)
1. In a small saucepan combine the corn syrup and heavy cream. Bring to a simmer and add espresso powder, whisk to combine.
2. Add chocolate, whisk until smooth. remove from heat and stir in vanilla and Canton (if use). Let ganache firm up and cool completely at room temperature, about 30 minutes.