Who didn’t love a glass of Milo when they got home from school? Nowadays I require something that packs a bit more punch, like a shot of caffeine. These macarons are like a rich mocha, they have a lovely chocolatey malt flavor, while the ganache is infused with coffee.
There are many myths surrounding the art of macaron making: only use old eggs whites, leave the macarons to dry for 2 hours, don’t work in humid conditions etc. It’s enough to freak you out before you even begin. When I made my first batch of macarons a few years ago, it was after I’d been to a macaron demonstration. The pastry chef was very specific about the process of macronage (it’s a real word!), he believed that you had to use old egg whites etc, but I did some Googling and came across 2 excellent posts from the awesome BraveTart. One debunks the macaron myths and the other suggests ways to make perfect macarons. They are both really good posts which I recommend reading, especially if you’ve never made macarons before.
For the best results and the most tastiest macarons, start this recipe a day in advance.
For the macarons
250g ground almonds
250g icing sugar
200g egg whites – split into 2 x 100g portions
* you will need a sugar thermometer
Preheat your oven to 200°C and prepare a couple of baking trays by lining them with baking paper. I found it easier to use a macaron template which I found online, printed it out and stuck it under the baking paper.
Add the ground almonds, icing sugar, cocoa and Milo to the bowl of a food processor and give them a good whiz for a couple of minutes, until you have a fine powder. Tip into a large bowl and set aside.
Place one portion of egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. We’re not going to set it going just yet.
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water and heat to 120ºC. When they have just about come to temperature, whisk the egg whites in the stand mixer on medium until a meringue forms.
Slow the mixer to medium-low and slowly drizzle in the hot sugar syrup, pouring it between the whisk and the side of the bowl. With the mixer on medium-high, whisk until the meringue has cooled, about 5 minutes. The egg whites should hold stiff, glossy peaks.
Tip the remaining 100g of egg whites into the bowl of ground almonds etc, and mix well.
Fold in 1/3 of the meringue mixture and gently incorporate, then fold in the remaining meringue, bit by bit until when you test it by folding a portion of the batter over on itself, you see is a slowly moving ‘ribbon.’ It shouldn’t hold its shape (too stiff), nor should it completely dissolve (too loose.) . You need to fold it gently but thoroughly so all the mixture is incorporated (see notes.)
Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2″ tip. Holding the bag just above the baking tray, pipe enough mixture to fill the circle. I found it best to squeeze the mixture out on one spot, without moving it in circles.
When you have piped out the whole tray, lift it up and give a couple of taps to the bottom. This will burst any air bubbles (resulting in cracks) and will also help to smooth the tops.
Put the tray in the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 165°C.
Bake for 9-12 minutes, until the tops are shiny and crisp. (Mine took 12 minutes.)
Remove from the oven and cool completely on the tray. Reheat your oven back to 200°C before adding the next batch.
Store the macarons in an airtight container in the fridge overnight.
- It’s super important to make sure the egg whites are incorporated and the mixture is completely homogenized. Any rogue streaks of meringue will cause the macarons to crack.
- I left my piped macarons sitting for a couple of minutes before they went in the oven. This was enough time for any peaks to flatten out.
- Chilling the macarons overnight improves their flavour. In fact, their flavour will continue to improve every day (if they last that long.)
For the ganache
20g coffee beans
190g dark chocolate (I used 62%)
15g butter, cut into little cubes and at room temperature
*you will also need Gladwrap
Coarsely chop the chocolate and put it in a heatproof bowl. Set aside.
Place the cream and coffee beans in a small saucepan and gently bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and immediately cover with Gladwrap. Let it stand for 8 minutes.
Strain the cream into another small saucepan and bring it back to the boil.
Pour over the chocolate and let it stand for one minute before whisking gently, until the cream and chocolate are emulsified.
Add the butter and whisk until incorporated.
Let the ganache stand until it’s of a piping consistency.
Match the macaron shells up and pipe a small dollop onto one half of each pair.
Place the other shell on top and very gently twist the shells so the ganache squishes evenly.
Chill in the fridge until the ganache is set and bring to room temperature before serving.
- Keep the filled macarons in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- They can also be frozen, wrapped in Gladwrap, for up to 2 weeks.
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