Friday, 15 July 2011

Mac Attack #21 - Scream For Ice Cream - Salted Caramel Ice Cream Macarons

I will be honest, when I saw that this months Mac Tweets challenge was to combine homemade ice cream or sorbet with your macarons I wasn't exactly enthralled.  I don't have an ice cream maker (yet) and have heard terrible things about non ice cream maker ice cream, I really didn't fancy a day of running backward and forward from the freezer either.

As if by kismet however I found a gorgeous looking ice cream recipe in this months GoodFood magazine that lo and behold didn't need an ice cream maker and requires no hand churning.  Amazingly I think I have somehow managed to make the best ice cream I've ever tasted in my life and let me tell you ice cream macarons are unbelievably delicious!

Thanks so much Mac Tweets for once again pushing me to do something new, I love you for it.

The cold ice cream makes the macarons gloriously chewy and after taking these pictures I ate three...

I have made huge batches of salted caramel macarons every week since I started my new contract with the hotels, they are my most popular flavour and the hotels always seem to sell out immediately, which I'm really ecstatic about.  I think the key to caramel macarons, apart from amazing caramel of course, is a little cocoa powder in the shells, it makes all the difference and you don't have to add any colouring.

I haven't yet posted my usual salted caramel macarons so I thought I best show you a pic of those too.

Salted Caramel Macarons

(Basic macaron recipe adapted from The Boy Who Bakes)
Makes 35

170g icing sugar
160g ground almonds
3 tsp cocoa powder
4 large egg whites, separated into two equal batches -
160g caster sugar
1 vanilla pod

Sieve together the icing sugar, ground almonds & cocoa powder into a large mixing bowl.  Add the first batch of egg whites (unbeaten) and mix to form a thick paste. Set aside.

Tip the second batch of egg whites into a heatproof bowl and have an electric whisk at the ready. Place 50ml water and the caster sugar into a small saucepan on a medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook until the syrup registers 110C, using a sugar thermometer, at which time start beating the egg whites on a high speed. Once the syrup has reached 118C pour it slowly down the side of the mixer bowl, avoiding the whisk. Continue to whisk on high until the mixture has cooled slightly and you have a shiny peaked meringue mixture - the bowl should no longer be hot to the touch, but still warm. 

Split your vanilla pod in half and using the back of the knife, run it along the length of each bean scraping out the vanilla beans. Add to the egg whites and mix until combined.

Tip the meringue onto the almond mixture and gently fold together. It is important not to over-mix the batter - it should fall in a thick ribbon from the spatula. The ribbon should fade back into the batter within about 30 seconds - if it does not, fold a few more times.

Heat the oven to 170C/150C Fan/ gas 3-4. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper. Transfer the batter to a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle. Pipe rounds onto the prepared baking sheets, leave to rest for 30 minutes on the kitchen counter, or until the macarons have developed a skin.

Bake the macarons for 14 minutes (around 10 minutes for mini macarons). Once out of the oven immediately slide the parchment onto a work surface and cool for a few minutes before gently peeling off the paper.

For the Salted Caramel:

1 cup / 225g caster sugar

2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup / 125ml heavy cream
1 teaspoon fleur de sel
1/4 cup / 60ml sour cream

In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and corn syrup with 1/4 cup water, stirring them together carefully so you don’t splash the sides of the pan. Cook over high heat until an instant-read thermometer reads 350F (175 C), or until the mixture is dark amber in colour, 6 to 8 minutes. Meanwhile warm the cream gently in another small saucepan. Remove the caramel from the heat, and slowly add the cream (careful, it will bubble up) and then the fleur de sel. Whisk in the sour cream. Set aside to cool before placing airtight in the refrigerator until needed.

This ice cream is the creamiest most delightful thing I think I've ever tasted and not only that but it is really easy to make, you could also substitute the salted caramel for fruit puree, to make a ripple ice cream such as raspberry or blueberry.

For the Ice Cream:

200g caster sugar
2 large eggs, plus 4 egg yolks
600ml/1 pt double cream
250ml Salted Caramel (recipe above)

Place the eggs, egg yolks and remaining sugar in a heatproof bowl.  Whisk with an electric whisk to combine, then place over a pan of simmering water - make sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water.  Beat with the electric whisk for 3-4 minutes until thick and pale.  Remove from the heat and beat until cool.

In another bowl whisk the cream until it forms soft peaks, then gently fold into the cooled egg mixture until just combined.  Pour the mix into a shallow container or a dish that can be frozen.

Gently swirl the salted caramel through the ice cream mixture, cover with cling film and freeze for at least 6 hours or ideally overnight.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone. x

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Naughty Little Sprinkle Stealing Monsters Caught On Camera: Part 2

Oh dear...

Things have gone from bad to worse where the naughty little sprinkle stealing monsters are concerned, they are running riot day and night. 

 They are a terrible bunch of scoundrels who steal things constantly, they are messy and gluttonous and quite frankly driving me mad!

They will wander off with anything they can get their hands on...

...and they cause a sticky mess everywhere they go...

This little guy looks like he has made himself thoroughly sick gorging on caramel.

I'm sure they are getting fatter too...

...I mean look at that belly!

Irritatingly I can't find their hideout anywhere, thankfully Rebella's secret motion sensor cameras are still up otherwise I would be non the wiser, still wondering why my toppers kept disappearing and why on earth half of my cocoa powder had vanished...

The naughty little monsters love sprinkles, they are deceptively cute but behind those oddly adorable, pudgy, sprinkle loving, little faces lie devious criminal minds.

They are incredibly stealth, sneaking around without me even noticing, I still haven't seen one in real life, just evidence...

Nothing is safe..

This one is one of the greediest...

What is he eyeing up?

Salted Caramel Macarons of course.

I need a plan of action...I've started leaving treats out for them, mainly just so they don't raid the cupboards and leave the sprinkle jars alone but I don't think this is going to improve the situation much.

All advice is very much appreciated and if anyone knows of a good method to catch a naughty little sprinkle stealing monster, please do let me know.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Mango Macaron Recipe

I've been meaning to post this recipe all week but I've been so busy, not only have I been making an enormous amount of cupcake toppers this week but I've also been supplying gigantic trays of apple crumble, lemon drizzle loaf cakes, layer cakes and macarons (salted caramel this week) to some lovely local hotels.

Everything is going really well and I'm slowly getting used to baking something other than cupcakes in the bakery. July is a busy month a the best of times but with all the changes and crazy little monsters stealing things, I'm  all over the place, rest assured normal blogging will resume shortly.

This macaron recipe alone is well worth ordering some natural mango extract for, you can get some from NY Cake, they ship all over the world which is lucky because my little bottle isn't going to last very long.  Not only is it totally natural and scrumptious but it smells amazing!

The quick mango jam filling is a dream and really simple to make.  I like my mango filling just a little bit chunky so I have instructed to finely dice the mango in my recipe, feel free to puree yours if you prefer.

  There is an entire mango in this filling, so if you eat the whole batch of macarons I'm pretty sure it will count as one of your five a day.

Mango Macarons

200g (7oz) icing sugar
200g (7oz) ground almonds
80ml (2 3/4 fl oz) water
200g caster sugar
2 x 80g (2 3/4 oz) egg whites
3/4 tsp natural mango extract
1 tsp orange food colouring paste

For the Filling:

1 ripe mango, finely diced

To make the macarons:

Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.

Sieve together the icing sugar and almonds into a large bowl.  Mix 80g of the egg whites (unbeaten) with the sieved icing sugar and almond mixture until you have a thick paste. Add 1 tsp of orange food colouring paste and mix until the colour is evenly blended.

In a saucepan, bring the water and the caster sugar to the boil. Use a thermometer to ensure that the temperature of the syrup does not exceed 110C (230F). This is very important.

In a clean bowl whip the remaining 80g of egg whites until they form soft peaks. Decrease the speed of the whisk, then, still whisking, pour the sugar syrup over the egg whites in a thin stream. Be sure to avoid the whisk.

Add the mango extract and continue whisking until the mixture has cooled.

 Fold the meringue into the almond paste mixture using a rubber spatula. The batter is ready when it falls from the spatula in a ribbon, this ribbon should disappear back into the batter after about 30 seconds.

Use a piping bag fitted with a plain round tip to pipe rounds onto the prepared baking sheets. Lightly tap the bottom of the tray on the work surface to remove any small air bubbles. Put the tray aside for between 30 minutes and 1 hour to allow the macarons to dry, you should be able to touch the macaron and come away with a clean finger, the macarons will be noticeably firmer.

Pre-heat oven to 145C (125F).

Bake the macaron shells for between 13 - 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately slide the greaseproof paper onto a clean work surface. Leave to cool completely before removing from the sheets.

To make the filling:

Place the finely diced mango, vanilla sugar and 3 tbsp of water into a small pan and place on a medium to high heat for 5- 10 minutes until considerably thickened and syrupy.  Stir in 1 tbsp water and set aside to cool, the mixture will thicken further as it cools.

Pair up your macarons, sandwich together with a tsp of mango filling and enjoy.