Macaron

Macaroon

My  OCD or obsession for Macaron began in Muswell Hill, London, there is a lovely cafe called Sable D’or near where I used to live- http://www.sabledor.co.uk/ I went to this cafe every Saturday morning to have a nice latte and 5 macarons. The chef makes the best hazelnut macaroon and the staffs are ever so friendly. There were times when I feel blue and I know that a hazelnut macaron will make my day. So I run to Sable D’or hoping they are still open by the time I finish work. Unfortunately, I am not always successful at getting my macarons fix. Since moving out of London, I decided that I could no longer tolerate waiting to go to London, Paris or Lyon to eat macarons so I decided to make them and now can have them then whenever I crave one or two or three.

The best Macaron I’ve ever eaten was at Chocolatier Bouillet in Lyon. Although I will never say ‘no’ to a Ladurée Macaron, for me the macarons I ate at Chocolatier Bouillet in Lyon are still the best, in terms of the variations and combinations of flavours they offer. When I visited them last year I tried each and every single one of their 52 different macarons. I ate every single one with great pleasure and although I couldn’t walk very well after all the macarons I’d consumed, I’d say the temporary discomfort was well worth it and I can’t wait to do it again next time I visit them.

Here’s a my version of my favourite hazelnut macaron.

Macaroon

KITCHEN KIT:
Macaron mould/baking parchment, piping bag, electric whisk or food mixer.

Ingredients Serves 1 just for me:

The Macaron:
1.  130g icing sugar
2.  130g ground almonds
3.  100g egg whites only
4.  Pinch of salt
5.  2tbsp water
6.  100g  caster sugar
7.  ¼ tsp vanilla extract
8.  ½ tsp of food colouring ( I prefer to use the food colouring paste rather than food colouring liquid)

The Hazelnut & Chocolate Ganache:
9.  40g blanched hazelnut
10. ¼ tsp vanilla extract
11. 2 ½ tbsp sweetened condensed milk
12. 60g good quality dark chocolate
13. 2 ½ tbsp whipped cream (optional)
14. Pinch of salt

The Macaron:
1.  Preheat the oven to 180°C
2.  On a large bowl mix the icing sugar, ground almonds and 50g egg whites. This almond mixture will turn into a paste like texture. (it may not look like the egg whites are enough to transform the ingredients into a paste but it is, so be patient, keep mixing and do not be tempted to add more egg whites or worst water)
3.  On a separate clean bowl, whisk the remaining 50g egg whites with a pinch of salt until they hold a medium-stiff peak.
4.  On a small pan gently melt 100g sugar with the 2tbsp of water, boil until the sugar dissolves into thick syrup. (it is important to get the sugar granules completely dissolve or your macaron shells will be grainy and will easily crack, as it happened to me recently so ensure that the sugar are well dissolve)
5.  Slowly pour your sugar syrup onto your whisked egg whites, whisking constantly as you slowly add the sugar syrup,  whisk until the mixture becomes stiff and shiny again.
6.  Gently mix you almond paste onto this, add ¼ tsp vanilla extract and ½ tsp food colouring, mix until the mixture becomes stiff again.
7.  Pour the mixture into a piping bag. Pipe the mixture onto a macaron mould or into a baking parchment. Drop the macarons on a flat work surface 2-3 times to flatten the macaron shells.
8.  If you would like to add hazelnut pieces or pearl sugars as decoration, add it at this stage.
9.  Leave the macarons out to form a dry shell between 30 minutes to 1 hour, the macaron shells must be complete dry, it should not feel sticky or wet when you touch it with your fingertips, if your macaron shells are not completely dry, leave it for a longer period to form a dry shell do not bake it unless the shells are dry or they will not bake properly (the shells will crack). Once the macaron shells are dry, bake in the oven for 15-17 minutes, with the oven door slightly ajar/open, this allows the steam to come out of the oven, alternatively you can also bake in the oven with the oven door complete shut and opening it only a couple of times to let the steam out.
10. Remove from the oven, leave to cool at room temperature for 30 minutes before adding the hazelnut and chocolate ganache. (The macaron shells are completely cook if they come off easily from your macaron mould/baking parchment. The shells should not be sticky, if they are sticky they are undercooked)

MacaroonMacaroon

The Hazelnut & Chocolate Ganache:
11.  Roast the blanched hazelnuts in the oven for 5 minutes. Then finely chopped on a food processor until the nuts turned into a paste like texture.
12.  On a small sauce pan, gently melt the condense milk and dark chocolate. Once melted, add onto the hazelnut paste. Blend until the mixture are all incorporated into a smooth paste.
13.  Add cream (optional), vanilla extract and pinch of salt, then mix lightly.
14.  Pipe the mixture on the inside of a macaroon and sandwich together.

Leave to rest for 30 minutes before serving.

Macaroon

Extra Tip:
Macaron Lifeline:
Macarons keep for 5 days in an airtight container and don’t need to be refrigerated.
When cooled (not immediately after taking them out of the oven), they can be frozen in an airtight container, defrost in an airtight container with the container lid on at room temperature. Do not defrost on a plate expose to air it will make the macaroons soft (not to be microwave either).

Baking in the oven:
It is important that the oven temperature is not higher than 180°C degrees otherwise the macaroon shells will crack. Some Macaron recipes suggest a lower temperature but my personal experience so far hasn’t been great, with a lower temperature the macaroon shells remains undercook.

Folding:
Almond paste needs to be folded into the beaten egg whites, just when you no longer see egg whites stripes around your bowl stop folding, over folding will make the macaron shells crack.

The Ganache:
This can be made a day in advance kept in the fridge in an air tight container.
Usually made with whipped cream, I sometimes add whipped cream to the above ganache mixture and sometimes I don’t. If I want to serve the macaroons on the same day I add the whipped cream, making this ganache mixture less dense.
And if I planned to keep the macarons for a few days I don’t add the whipped cream as I found it makes the macaron shells a bit soft after a while.

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