23 November 2014

Gingerbread Macarons

Sweet, fragrant and delicate winter-spiced macaron shells are filled with a fresh ginger cream.



There is definitely something wrong with me; I feel so festive, it is unbelieveable. I kept thinking it was only a week until Christmas, not an entire month. Well, this means that delicious, easy (and maybe even some healthy, gasp!) christmas and winter treats will be coming your way!  

I think gingerbread and ginger in general has come into the limelight this winter; I am seeing so many more recipes use the humble spice. I personally love anything with ginger; it is just so fresh and vibrant as well as soothing and warming. 

Ginger + cinnamon + nutmeg = Christmas in a jar!


If you have been reading Baking the Day for a while, you might know that I do love a good macaron! Crisp outer shell, chewy but melt-in-the-mouth centre and a fresh, cold and creamy filling. After my fair share of macaron eating in Quimper, the home of the macaron in France, I have tried numerous times to achieve the perfect macaron formula. Many macarons have failed; becoming porous, flat and some even inedible! Two years later, I think I have finally cracked it!


I was going to make some pistachio macarons but after the gingerbread cake I made a couple weeks ago, I was inspired to make these macarons ginger-style.


Macarons are notorious for being the pinnacle for pastry chefs as they are hard to master and take many years to perfect. However, these macarons are easy to make if you
 just take your time and do each step in stages. Macarons aren't a quick bake but if you have the time, you will definitely love making these and eating them to! 

There are a few tips and tricks to make divine, delicious and delectable macarons. 

First, ageing your egg whites! I know that sounds so weird but giving the whites a chance to age in the fridge makes a huge difference to your "macs". Ageing the whites removes some of the moisture and slightly breaks down the proteins in the whites, making them easier to work with. This step is imperative to make a good macaron. To age, just weigh out the whites and put one amount of 50g into a tupperware and the other 50g into a tupperware. After 1 - 2 days, they will be ready to use. 


These macarons were just about to go into the oven. 

Another very important tip to make "good looking" macarons is to let them rest and to develop a skin. Yep, a skin to success! Letting the macs rest at room temperature forms a skin, which keeps the macs from erupting in the oven like little volcanos. Also, when the macarons are baking, instead of the air and steam coming out of the top of the macs, it comes out the sides, giving the macarons "feet", the frilly bits at the bottom of the mac. The feet make these macarons appear so professional and pretty. 

When baking, macarons are curious creatures; they hate the steam and moisture! During baking, it is very important that you open the oven door frequently or even keep it slightly open the entire time. 


These bites are so tasty and rewarding! They do take a little bit of love and labour, but trust me, it is so worth it! Every bite filled with warming cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg as well as a very subtle almond flavour. The cold whipped cream is a welcomed contrast to the chewy macaron shells; being soft, light and creamy. 

This recipe is based on the the Italian method of making macarons. Did you know there are three ways to make a mac?! 

The most traditional is the French macarons - sieving the dry ingredients into a French meringue, hence the French macaron. 

Next is the Italian macaron, my favourite! I find this method creates perfect macarons. A paste is made with the dry ingredients by adding 1/2 of the egg white. The other half is whipped and cooked with a sugar syrup. I know this may seem a bit over the top, but, j'adore ça! 

The last method is the Swiss macaron, which I find the most challenging. The whites and sugar are whisked over a "bain marie", to make a "meringue cuite" or cooked meringue. This type of macaron is not normally made as it is quite a hassle compared to the other two method!




Gingerbread Macarons
Posted by Eve
Makes 40 shells/ 20 whole macarons
Ingredients
  • 125g ground almonds
  • 125g icing sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 50g egg whites
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 100g caster sugar 
  • 50g egg whites


For the filling

  • 60ml whipping cream, whipped

Method
  1. First,  2 days before you make the macarons,  separate and weigh out your egg whites and put each 50g of white into an air-tight container,  such as a tupperware. Place in the fridge until you make the macarons. 
  2. Line 1 -3 baking trays with baking parchment or silpat mats. If you want, you can create a stencil.  Just measure out a bit of drawing paper that fits your trays and draw 3cm circles over it. I used a compass to make them all the same. And what's even better is that the template is reusable.
  3. Using a food processor, whizz the almonds and icing sugar together until very fine. Sieve 2 - 3 times and discard lumps.
  4. Add all of the spices, 50g of egg white to the sugar and nuts and mix well with a wooden spoon until combined and sticky. Set aside. 
  5. Put the remaining 50g of egg white into the bowl of a free-standing mixer and whisk until they form soft peaks. Stop the mixer once you get to this stage.
  6. Put the caster sugar and water into a saucepan and heat on medium with a sugar thermometer until it reaches 115ºc. 
  7. Turn on the mixer again on to high speed. Slowly add the sugar syrup in a steady stream until all of it is added. Whisk the egg whites on high speed until they are very stiff. 
  8. Take one third of the meringue mixture and add it to the almond paste. Beat it in vigorously until the mixture has become much looser in texture. Fold in the rest of the meringue using a large metal spoon until the texture is uniform.
  9. Fill a large piping bag with the macaron batter. The piping bag does not need a nozzle. Pipe 3cm diameter discs on to the prepared trays. Leave the macarons to rest on the counter for 30 - 60 minutes until you can touch the macarons without getting batter on your finger. This stage is crucial so don't forget about it! Preheat the oven to 170ºc/ 150ºc fan/ gas mark 2.
  10. Bake the macarons for 12 - 15 minutes until they lift of the tray with ease. During baking, open the door half way through to remove moisture.
  11. Once baked, transfer the macarons, still on the parchment or silpat mat to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  12. Once the macarons are cool, put the whipped cream into a piping bag and pipe the cream onto the flat half of the macaron shell. Sandwich together and repeat. 


Enjoy!


Once filled, store the macarons in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Unfilled shells should be kept in an air-tight container for up to 1 week. 

8 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh I want a dozen!! Gingerbread is my favorite flavor, these are gorgeous!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, we definitely like the same flavours if you love gingerbread as much as I do!
      x

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  2. Beautiful macarons! My favourite method is also the italian meringue, they are so much more stable. But with that said, there are still times they screw up...macarons have a life of their own, and the amazing ability to make bakers cry. Haha!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Amrita! Italian macarons, I find, are much more stable and I have definitely shed a tear or two over a macaron!
      x

      Delete
  3. YUM! I just love macarons! Yours look just wonderful - cinnamon and ginger, what lovely holiday flavourings!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jessica, these sweet treats are perfect for the holidays!
      x

      Delete
  4. OMG!! I love it!! I need try it!! xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, they are amazing, you won't be disappointed!x

      Delete

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