Since we started watching Masterchef, we’ve been inspired to make the things they make on the telly. And we especially love watching the masterclass on Friday nights, where the chefs give cooking tips and give techniques. Besides getting cooking tips, we’ve been exposed to a some of Australia’s top chefs, although most of them (probably all) are over east.
So last year, when we went over to Sydney, we made sure we paid a visit to Adriano Zumbo’s pattiserie to try his acclaimed macarons. We were faced with a whole glass cabinet of macarons, and we had a hard time choosing which to try.. and they all looked so pretty and perfect and colourful. So we chose some (can’t remeber what flavours now) and they were awesome! Crunchy shells with soft centres.. nommmms
Since then, we’ve wanted to try our hand at making our own macarons. We knew that these were finicky little bicces, and that lots of things could go wrong. Lots of people have written up lots of tips and do’s and don’ts to successfully make macarons. So, armed with all these information, we set a date to try them out.
Our first macaron making attempt was a failure. The almond meal was too coarse, so it ended up tasting like almond cookies. 😦 It took us a while before we decided to try again. Second time around, it wasn’t great either. Not sure what went wrong, but we suspect an overmixed mixture and under cooking the shells, so we ended up with lemon curd meringue cookies. 😦
Take three – I found this recipe from BraveTart, who had compiled a list of “macaron making mythbusters”, which i thought was interesting to know, it helps in figuring out what I need/need not worry about in making the macarons.
Here’s the link to the recipe – its for a basic macaron recipe. We did a mocha macaron, by taking out 1oz icing sugar and replacing it with cocoa powder and added about 1tbsp of instant coffee powder, ground finely.
115g blanched almonds or almond meal
200g icing sugar
30g cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp instant coffee granules (ground finely)
1/4 tsp salt
Chocolate Ganache filling
220g dark cooking chocolate
1 cup cream
We had Esther’s help in sifting the almond meal – the most laborious task, as almond meal isn’t as fine as flour and takes FOREVER to get through the sieve.
While Esther was painstakingly sifting the almond meal mixture, we whipped the egg white till it forms a stiff meringue. After that, fold the dry ingredients into the meringue. This should be done in about 40 strokes. (Yes, we were so determined to make this round a success, we counted the amount of strokes when folding it!) A mixture that is mixed right should have the consistency of molten lava. I’ve never seen molten lava, but I guessed that it thinner than a brownie mixture but thicker than a pancake mixture, so I thought it should be done.
After that, the mixture is put into a piping bag and piped onto baking paper. My piping skills aren’t that perfect yet, so I drew out circles with the base of a piping nozzle as a guide on baking paper and piped the mixture on the flip side. I started piping the mixture from the centre towards the outside. If the mixture is the right consistency, it will spread itself out slightly, but still hold its shape. After that, we just let them stand for about half an hour, or until the tops are dry to the touch.
Then, put them in the oven and anxiously wait, crossing your fingers that those macarons will grow their feet (or skirt as some might call it). I snuck a peek while it was baking and did a happy dance when they DID grow feet! YAY! 😀 We filled them with chocolate ganache, and it was YUMMY!
So yea, it took us a few experiments, and a bit of a journey, but we finally managed to make our own macarons. It’s recommended that the macarons be filled and let them sit overnight, as the shells will absorb the filling and create a soft, chewy centre. But we couldn’t help ourselves, we had a few and then left the rest to sit overnight, and I was told they were yummier. (I didn’t get to try them :()