Monday, 21 December 2015

Vanilla Bean and Gingerbread Macarons

I'm not usually big on glitter, but when I saw these awesome macarons, I decided if there was ever a time to break out the sparkles, it was now.  Once I committed to the task, there was no stopping me.  I was In The Zone baby.  I was a regular, Tinkerbell with her magic dust. Though, I think I ended up wearing more glitter than the macarons.   In fact when I was done, you could have stuck me on top of the Christmas tree and I wouldn't have looked out of place.  Fun though.

Vanilla Bean and Gingerbread Macarons
adapted from here
Makes about 25

For the Macarons:
110g ground almonds
200g icing sugar
Pinch of fine sea salt
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
90g egg whites (about 3 egg whites)
25g caster sugar

For the Buttercream:
60g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cups icing sugar, sifted
1 tablespoons cream
Pinch of fine sea salt
1 teaspoons ground Gingerbread Spice Mix (below)

For the Gingerbread Spice Mix:
2 teaspoons white peppercorns
1/4 whole nutmeg
12 whole cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Make the Gingerbread Spice Mix:
Put all the spices into a spice grinder (I use a dedicated coffee grinder), and blitz to smithereens. Set aside. Note: This will make more than you need for this recipe, but will keep in an airtight jar for months.

For Decorating:
Sugar syrup (1/4 cup caster sugar and 1/4 cup water brought to boil until the sugar melts and cooled)
Silver and red edible glitter
This template for the pinwheel effect

Make the Macarons:
Trace 3.5 cm circles onto two sheets of baking paper.  I use this template.  Turn the baking paper over so that the ink is on the back and line 2 large baking sheets with the baking paper. Set aside.

Put the ground almonds, icing sugar, salt and vanilla seeds into a food processor and blitz to mix.  Sift into a large mixing bowl. Set aside

Put the egg whites and caster sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium for about 5 minutes, then on high for another 5 minutes. You will have a stiff meringue.

Add the almond mixture to the meringue and begin to mash and smear them against the sides of the bowl. You don't have to be careful here, the point is to deflate the egg whites. After about 40 folds, you should have a mixture that is the consistency of molten lava - slow flowing. Start checking your mixture at 30 folds and go easy from there. If you over mix, you will have a batter that is runny. If you under mix, you will have a batter that is too stiff. Both with be difficult to pipe. You are looking for a batter that, when dropped from a spoon, back into the batter, it disappears back into the rest of the batter in about 20 seconds.

Spoon the batter into a large disposable piping bag and snip a 5mm hole in the tip. Pipe the mixture onto the baking paper, using the circles as a guide. Pipe until the circles are almost full as the mixture will spread a little on sitting.

Preheat the oven to 140C.

Rap the baking sheet against the counter a couple of times. This will get rid of any air bubbles. Leave them uncovered and at room temperature for 30 minutes. This will allow the macarons to form a skin on the surface. They should feel dry when very carefully touched.

Bake, on tray at a time for 16 - 18 minutes, or until you are able to easily peel the macaron from the baking paper. Leave to cool completely on the baking sheets for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the Buttercream:
Put the butter into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium until smooth. Add the icing sugar and beat (slowly at first), until fluffy. Add the cream, salt and spice mix and beat for 2 - 3 minutes until whipped.

Spoon the buttercream into a disposable piping bag and snip a 5mm hole in the tip. Pipe onto the bottom sides of half of the macarons and top with the other macarons, sandwiching the filling between them. 

To Decorate:
Brush the tops of each macaron with the sugar syrup.  Sprinkle a some with silver glitter and sprinkle some with red glitter for the solid colours.  For the pinwheels, place the pinwheel template directly on top of the macaron and sprinkle with red glitter.  Gently lift the template off and quickly flip the macaron over so that any excess falls off.

1 comment:

  1. Tinkerbell with your glitters awwwww :) They are just so cute those little macarons!! So festive :) And flavoured with a nice spice mix, yum :)