I finally managed to get my hands on a copy of I Love Macarons by Hisako Ogita!
I have ordered it from Amazon three times and every time I did they seem to sell out and I'm left weeping into my ground almonds. Third time lucky however and my little beauty arrived yesterday.
I love this book! Its full of gorgeous pictures of finished macarons and step by step images of the macaron making process itself. It is a total jumble of macaron information and quite difficult to follow, I think it may only be suitable if your obsessed with macarons like me.
If you are just looking for a simple recipe this book is not for you and I would maybe grab a copy of this months Delicious Magazine, which has the simplest recipe and instructions I have ever seen. I couldn't resist buying it with a gorgeous macaron cover picture like that!
I have been having a new kitchen fitted so have not been able to cook for the best part of a week! These gorgeous Coffee Cream Macarons are the first thing I baked in my lovely new kitchen.
I adapted the recipe from I love macarons and was ecstatic with the end result. My main macaron problems tend to be either cracked tops of dull rather than shiny tops. Hisako Ogita suggests using two baking trays so that the bottoms of your macarons don't get too much heat, (double up, one tray under the other) this is genius! I have never seen such an immediate difference in the appearance of my macarons and was jumping for joy, they looked perfect.
I really wanted to make some colourful macarons but had to use what I had in the house, I'm so glad I did because these were absolutely delicious. I attempted the butter cream recipe in this book that involves pouring hot sugar syrup in to a beaten egg, I tried four times with no success, I added hot syrup immediately, I cooled the syrup, I changed bowls, I tried every thing I could think of and nothing worked.
If you have tried this method please let me know where I may be going wrong, my sugar hardened a number of times (the instructions do imply the syrup is added when hot and when cooled hardens rapidly!) and when I finally managed to get some of it mixed into the egg, I added the butter and ended up with a disgusting curdled mixture. Yuck!
I will certainly try again though, maybe after some research.
In the end I made my own vanilla, coffee buttercream which was very very good indeed. These macarons are now among my favourites and are unimaginably perfect with your morning cup of coffee.
Coffee Cream Macaron Recipe
For the Macarons:
2/3 cup (3 ounces / 85grams) ground almonds / almond flour
11/2 cups (5.25 ounces / 150 grams) powdered sugar
2 teaspoons instant coffee, finely ground in a food processor
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
5 tablespoons / 65 grams granulated sugar
1teaspoon vanilla extract, or seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean
( I left out the vanilla extract and replaced the granulated sugar with vanilla sugar)
Cut a sheet of parchment paper to fit your baking tray. Draw 1-inch (2.5cm) circles on the paper, spacing them at least 1/2-inch (1.5cm) apart. This will be your guide for squeezing out the macaron batter.
In a food processor, grind together the almonds, ground instant coffee and powdered sugar together to a fine powder. Sift the mixture through a medium-mesh sieve twice. Set aside.
In a stainless-steel mixing bowl, beat egg whites on high speed until they are foamy. Gradually add the granulated sugar to the egg whites whilst beating.
Add the vanilla and continue beating, when the meringue is stiff, firm, and has a glossy texture, it is done.
Add half the sifted almond and powdered sugar mixture. Stir with a spatula while scooping it up from the bottom of the bowl.
Add the rest of the almond flour and mix lightly in a circular motion.
Macaronnage: When you run out of flour, press and and spread the batter against the bowl's sides. Scoop the batter from the bottom and turn it upside down. Repeat this process 15 times.
Pointer: If the macaronnage step is repeated less than 10 times, the baked macarons will lack luster. However, when it is repeated more than 20 times oil stains may remain on the pastry's surface when the macarons are baked.
Macaronner: When the batter becomes nicely firm and drips slowly as you scoop it with a spatula, the mixture is done.
Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1cm round tip. Squeeze the batter into the centre of your drawn out circles, make small circles as the batter will spread out.
Rap the baking tray firmly against the counter. This helps the macarons hold their rounded shape and helps the pied, or little 'foot', to form.
Dry the batter at room temperature, uncovered, for 15 minutes. A slight crust should form on top of the macarons.
If the batter circles do not stick to your fingers when you touch them, the drying process is complete. On a dry sunny day, the drying process takes approximately 30 minutes. I left mine for 30 minutes.
Use two trays one inside the other to prevent the macarons puffing up to much and cracking.
Place the baking trays in the centre of the oven. Preheat to 375 F (190C)
Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until slightly crisp and crackled on top.
190C still seems to be to hot for my macarons I bake at 150C for pretty much the same time which seems to work perfectly.
When the macarons are done, remove the baking sheet from the oven and cool on a wire rack. When the macarons are completely cooled, remove them from the baking sheet.
For the Coffee Buttercream:
100g butter, softened
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
1tbsp instant coffee
2 tbsp hot water
I must admit I make buttercream totally by eye so this recipe is really just a guide line, you want to reach a nice piping consistency
Cream the butter and add half the powdered sugar. Mix well. Dissolve the coffee granules in the hot water and cool before adding to the butter mixture along with the vanilla extract, mix to combine. Add the remainder of the sugar until you reach your desired consistency (you may need more or less).
Fill a piping bag, pipe buttercream onto half of your macaron shells and sandwich them together with a plain shell.
They are now ready to be eaten!
These macarons had a perfect texture and will certainly be a favourite from now on although I can't wait to make so colourful ones next week, I think I will do apricot and perhaps strawberry.
I have been wanting to make a Lemon Meringue Pie style Macaron for a while now so I think I might do that too.