I feel like the title of this blog post has probably been done many times before, however the song 'Hey Macarena' (well, macaron-a) was the first thing that popped into my head when I decided to have a go at making macarons and I haven't been able to say macarons (heeey, macaron-a, ahai!) quite the same way ever since.
I've got quite a bit of work due in for the academic side of the course at the moment and so as a result, I have been finding more elaborate and interesting ways of procrastinating. I've wanted to make macarons for ages, related probably to the Great British Bake Off which shows the bakers making them (with complete ease I have to say!) almost every other week. So I thought I'd have a go myself, as I've never made them before.
Chocolate orange is one of my favourite pudding flavours and so I decided to make Chocolate orange macarons. I found a Chocolate Orange Macaron recipe on BBC Food Recipes however part of it suggests heating sugar in a pan until it reaches a certain temperature, which for me is all a bit too complicated. So I took bits and bobs from the BBC food recipe and took bits and bobs from a macaron book that my (almost) mother-in-law rather kindly lent me. First, I lined three baking trays with greaseproof paper and preheated the oven (170°C). I then grabbed a huge glass mixing bowl and mixed some icing sugar (180g), ground almonds (180g) and cocoa powder (1 tbsp), before sieving the mixture to remove any lumps.
In a separate bowl, I whisked the whites of 5 eggs and once they were fluffy, added a tablespoon of caster sugar, one at a time (whilst still whisking) and only added the next spoonful, when the last was fully mixed. Using a metal spoon, I folded the ground almond, sugar and cocoa mixture into the egg whites thoroughly. Once mixed, I spooned the mixture into a piping bag and piped circles onto the lined baking trays. I only had three baking trays and so tried to fit as many circles on as possible but I realised afterwards that this probably wasn't a good idea as it resulted in some circles merging into one another. To remove any air bubbles, I dropped the trays on my work surface a few times (it felt very dramatic!) and left the circles to harden for about 45 minutes.
I knew the macaron shells were ready to bake when I touched the shells and they no longer felt sticky or wet. I baked each tray of macaron shells one at a time for 10-12 minutes each. Whilst baking, I made the chocolate orange ganache (for the middle) by heating some double cream (100ml) on the hob until it boiled and by mixing in some plain chocolate (200g). When it was thoroughly melted and mixed, I added some orange extract (1.5 tsp) and popped it in the fridge to stiffen slightly. Once cool, I assembled the macarons by putting a spoonful of ganache in the middle of the bottom of one macaron shell and by placing another shell on top. I then popped these into the fridge overnight and sprinkled some edible bronze paint over the top to decorate them.
I'm so pleased with how they turned out and can confirm that they tasted amazing! Not bad for my first attempt, though I definitely think it was down to the fool-proof recipes I followed. Here's to a macaron-filled future!
Have you made macarons before? Any recipe recommendations?
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