Monday, December 31, 2012

Macaron : Pretty in Pink





Last post for year 2012 - Pink Macaron with orange buttercream. I used them as small gifts for friends. Love the way these little cookies bring smiles on their faces.

 
 
I love making macarons now. It's challenging and every batch is different depending whether the meringue is beaten to the right stage or the macaronage stage is done correctly. When they do turn out okay, it's satisfying. So, when they go into the oven, I will be checking the oven every now and then just to see if the 'feet' will appear. I will be thrilled at the first sight of them and will do a happy dance in the kitchen. It does not end there, next is to monitor and open the oven door a few times just to make sure the oven does not get too hot and cause the top of the macs to crack. The whole baking experience for each batch is like a roller coaster ride....well, for me at least.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Macaron with cream custard



One thing for sure, I can only make a successful batch with aged eggs. So, planning ahead is important and I like to use an 'one egg' recipe for smaller quantity. The recipe is from blogger : Happy Flour.  I reduced the ingredients by half. I was lazy to blend the dry ingredients so I just sieved them through once.


The piped batter resting


With macarons, I am really still learning and trying very hard to get it right. I have more confidence now (after numerous failed attempts) and will try to avoid making the same mistakes. The funny thing is I am so determined and will not stop trying. There are so many things to explore, the colour of the shell, the flavour and the differemt kinds of filling. No wonder everyone loves them.

Here is how this batch looks like when they are out of the oven :


Look! They have 'feet'

If you are interested in trying, the recipe :

Macaron Shells

40g egg white ( from 1 large 60g egg, aged at least 24 hours)
30g castor sugar

40g almond meal
65g icing sugar
( place almond meal & icing sugar in blender and pulse a few times to get finer texture and sieve them together)
a pinch of purple colouring powder

- Plan ahead, separate the egg at least a day before you start baking. Keep the egg white and yolk separately wrapped in the fridge.
- On actual baking day, bring the egg white to room temperature before you start.
- Fill a sauce pan with water ( not too much) and heat up to just below boiling point. Place egg white and castor sugar in a heatproof bowl and place over the simmering water ( bowl not touching the water). Stir and warm the mixture till sugar dissolved and warm to the touch. If you have a candy thermometer, it should measure around 45 degrees celcius. Do not overheat.
- Remove from heat and use an electric mixer to beat the egg white mixture to medium soft peaks. Stop the moment the meringue shows swirls in the bowl to check stiffness. The beater should hold peak that look like a hook. At this point, add in colouring and continue to beat slightly till incorporated. Do not overbeat.
- Next, fold in the dry ingredients to the meringue in four batches. Do not overmix. The right consistency of the batter might need some practice. The batter should be shiny and able to slowly move from side to side when you tilt the bowl. When you scoop with the spatula, it should be able to drip slowly back to bowl like a ribbon.
- Prepare a disposable piping bag and a round nozzle tip. Pour batter into the bag and pipe round disc on a prepared pan with parchment paper or silicone mat.
- Rest the piped batter for at least 20 to 30 minutes. By then, a dry skin should have formed on the surface. When you touch with your finger, they should not be sticky.
- Bake in preheated oven of 150 degrees celcius for about 15-20 mins. The top should be hard and base of the cookie should be cooked.
- Remove from oven and let them cook completely before removing them.

Custard Cream Filling

1 egg yolk
1 tbsp of castor sugar
50ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tbsp top flour

- Heat milk
- In a separate bowl, beat egg yolk + sugar + extract till pale white. Add in the flour and mix well.
- Next, add in the milk.
- Heat up the mixture again till boiling point. Whisk till mixture thickens.
- Spread the mixture in a pan or plate and cover with cling wrap.
- Place over ice water to cool down.
- Keep it in the fridge when cooled. Before using, smooth the top with a spatula.

*** Once macarons have cooled down, you can store them in the fridge first before filling them. Once you filled them with this custard, you need to serve them immediately as the shells will soften and become soggy unlike ganache or buttercream where they will harden when stored****


This is how it looks like after one bite!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Hearts On Roll







First I made a template by tracing out heart shapes on a piece of A4 size paper. Next, I decided on the colour combination. Then, I started mixing the batter, following the recipe to the 'T'. I did not want any mishap and ruin my entire planning. As it turned out, I did a pretty good job and my piping skill has definitely improved. The hearts were in neat and smooth shapes. By the way, they tasted great too! Please refer to my post on Giraffe Patterned Swiss Roll for the recipe if you are interested.







So, I waited patiently for the sponge to bake and when it was ready, was so happy to see the perfect designs. Just the way I wanted them to be in the first place. Adorable, right?


Monday, December 17, 2012

Hello Kitty Macarons



I thought of giving these cuties a shot when I first saw it from this blog. I used the swiss meringue method because nothing else works. Somehow,with the swiss meringue method, at least I can see 'feet'. This batch yielded tiny feet but I had fun decorating them. These will make nice Christmas presents for office colleagues so I am going to bake another batch this weekend and plan to have assorted shapes and colours.

If you are interested, you can get the step by step recipe which I have used here . Of course, you need to tweak and not add the colouring for these Hello Kittys.

What you will need :

1) Heart shaped sprinkles for the ribbon
2) Edible food writers in black (eyes) and yellow (nose)
3) Melted white chocolate to act as glue for the ribbon
4) Your desired filling for the macarons
5) Decorate when macarons are nicely baked and cooled
6) Keep them refrigerated in air tight container after filling them

Remember to sieve your ground almond & icing sugar to get a glossy and smooth top. I did not pulse the ground almond as I felt they were fine enough but you have to use a spoon to force them through the sieve though. At the end when the coarser ones could not be forced through anymore, I just threw them into the sieved ground almond and icing sugar. Look, they turned out smooth too. I think the idea is more to break up the bigger lumps. For beginners, it's best to scale down the recipe to 1 egg white. That way, you will not end up with one big batch of ugly macarons if they don't turn out well. If they do turn out well, good for you. Just don't give up if the first few attempts fails. You just end up with meringue cookies that taste good with peanut butter. Still yummy and practice makes perfect.

Happy Trying!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Deco Roll Again




 

The thing about a craze is you just never snap out of it until you are really done and tired with it. This is exactly what is happening to me now. I am so into this deco rolls now and I think the guys at home is beginning to feel a bit overwhelmed. I used a 3 eggs recipe this time for my small swiss roll pan 9" x 12". Works fine but a bit on the dry side as it did not roll up as nicely as the 4 eggs recipe. Please refer to my giraffe patterned swiss roll for the recipe. As for the pattern, it's all up to you.

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