Happy New Year Everyone!
I just got back from a gorgeous 2 week holiday in the Canary Islands with B and some friends, and I'm feeling refreshed, revitalised and very inspired. We didn't just go for Christmas and New Year, it was also my birthday on the 1st of January and I usually prefer being somewhere warm on that day. I'll write a blog post about the trip soon, but for now folks, it's macaron time!
For these macarons, I thought I'd go for something festive, something celebratory, something yummy, all inspired by the New Year. As I had so many chestnuts left over from Christmas, I didn't see why they couldn't work just as well as almonds for the macaron shells. I also wanted something pink (surprise, surprise!), so for the filling I used a lovely, light pink champagne buttercream and added some edible pink glitter for extra sparkle.
I had such a great time making my Blackberry and Raspberry Macarons and I really didn't think I'd be making macarons again this soon, but there's something very addictive and fulfilling about making them, as anyone that's made them will agree. I think the best part about it is towards the end when you get 'feet' - the bubbly, frilly bits at the bottom of each shell - one of the more elusive parts of the macaron process. If this is your first time making macarons (or reading this blog), you might find it helpful to read the Blackberry and Raspberry Macaron post, as that was the first time I'd made macarons. It's filled with links to other macaron blog posts and videos that I found extremely helpful.
I found that when I mixed ground chestnuts and ground almonds, the macs turned out much better than when I used ground chestnuts alone. For best results, grill your chestnuts as you normally would, peel them, grind them, and gently fry in a dry pan until slightly golden. Then mix with the ground almonds and grind again together with the icing sugar. Sift mixture twice to get a smooth, floury consistency.
Chestnut Macarons With Pink Champagne
(for a printable version of this recipe, click HERE)
Makes around 40 macaron shells
100g aged egg whites
10g dried egg white
60g ground almonds
60g ground chestnuts
200g icing sugar
1. Separate your egg whites and keep them in bowl covered with a plate or some kitchen paper at room temperature for at least 48 hours. If you would like to age them for longer, place them in the fridge. Sift ground almonds and chestnuts and powdered sugar together.
2. Whip the aged and dried egg whites with a mixer until stiff peaks form. Slowly add the sugar and keep mixing until it is all incorporated and the mixture turns glossy. Do not over mix the egg whites at this stage otherwise the macs turn out too dry.
3. Add the ground almond and chestnut sugar to the egg whites and incorporate them into the mix. For the best way to do this, watch THIS VIDEO.
4. Place a teaspoon of the batter onto a plate. If the top smooths out slowly, leaving a flat surface, then your batter is ready. If there are still peaks or ridges on the surface, give your batter a few more turns. Again, watch the video I've highlighted above to see what the macarons look like once piped onto a baking tray.
5. Place your batter into a piping bag fitted with a plain small tip. Pipe roughly 4cm rounds. Preheat your oven to roughly 150˚C. Leave the macarons out at room temperature for a minimum of 45 minutes until their outer surface forms a skin. Then bake for 15-20 minutes. Again, you might have to turn the trays around or place them on a lower shelf half way through the baking process, depending on your oven.
6. Remove from the oven and allow the macs to cool thoroughly before attempting to remove them. If you used a silicone sheet, they should lift off easily. If you used baking paper, the macs might stick to it, so just dab a few drops of water under the baking paper, then lift them off.
Pink Champagne Macaron Filling:
2 egg whites
1 tbsp pink edible glitter
5 tablespoons pink champagne
220g butter, at room temperatureMethod:
1. Hand whisk the egg whites until foamy. Mix in the sugar, and pink champagne. Place mixture over a water bath. Keep whisking by hand until the mixture is piping hot and the sugar has dissolved.
2. Remove from water bath and mix with an electric mixer on high speed. Keep mixing until the bowl starts to cool down.
3. Add butter, one tablespoon at a time at first, then two tablespoons at a time. Make sure to incorporate the butter properly into the mixture each time you add butter.
4. Add the pink edible glitter.
5. Place buttercream into a piping bag, fitted again with a small nozzle, and pipe a small amount onto a macaron shell. Cover with another macaron shell. Refrigerate for best results.
Macaron tips and tricks:
- Macarons keep in the fridge for around a week. You can also freeze them but it's best to freeze the shells only, without fillings.
- Before placing the macs in the oven to bake, I found it best to keep the tray over the oven, while the oven was preheating. This formed harder shells faster.
- Before piping the macs, you could outline circles with a pencil and compass on the baking paper, as a guide before piping.
- You can either add the almond flour to the egg whites as is the usual way, but what I found works quite well is adding the egg whites to the almond flour, then mixing.
- To get the right lava consistency, can I also suggest having an extra beaten egg white nearby, and also some extra almond flour. This way you can always add a little extra of each or either to achieve the best batter texture.
- If using baking paper, pipe a small amount of batter onto the four corners of the baking tray, then place your baking paper on top. This will stop the paper from sliding or moving.
- For extra tips and tricks, have a look at Mactweets to see a great selection of the macaron round ups they hold every month.