How does the old tale go? … A pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? I wouldn’t be disappointed if I found golden macarons instead.
Every time I bust out the edible pearl dust and use it on baked goods, people are always impressed. I thought I’d take it one step further (surprised?) and glitz out some french macarons for St.Patty’s day. These are filled with a dark chocolate ganache that is spiked with some Bailey’s Irish cream.
Macaron Shells – Italian Meringue Method
+ 1 table spoon liquor; like vodka
100ml pure/pouring cream (or heavy whipping cream in the US, min 35% fat unthickened)
60ml Baileys Irish Cream
1. Gently and slowly stir together the water and 250g sugar until combined. Using a pastry brush, brush water along the sides of the saucepan to deter crystals from forming around the sides of the pot.
2. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring sugar and water to a boil. Allow to cook, without stirring at all, until it reaches the soft ball stage, or the sugar registers 115’c on a candy thermometer.
Test for the soft ball stage by dipping a spoon into a glass of ice cold water, then dip into the centre of the sugar and water mixture, and then quickly back into the water. Feel with your fingers to see if you can form into a soft, gummy ball. You will reach this stage after the string stage, in which the sugar mixture will feel stringy between your fingertips.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer (make sure the bowl is spotless!), beat 90g of egg whites at moderate speed. Once the egg whites begin to look like a bubble bath– increase the speed to high and very slowly begin pouring in the sugar syrup, holding the saucepan higher than the mixing bowl so that it pours out in a thin, continuous stream. Beat until the bowl is almost cool to the touch (its likely to retain a bit of warmth) and the egg whites form stiff, shining, upstanding peaks. You want to be able to turn the bowl upside down without the egg whites falling out.*
4. Combine almond flour and icing sugar in a food processor, pulsing until ingredients are thoroughly incorporated and very fine. Sift into a large bowl and set aside. When the meringue is just about ready, fold in the remaining 90g egg whites.
5. Carefully fold the meringue into the wet almond mixture, adding a little at a time (should take about 3 additions). Stop folding when the mixture is evenly combined and the viscosity of lava or molasses. When piped, the macarons should hold a peak of about a second or two, and then they gradually find their round shape and flatten out.
6. Pipe macarons onto a heavy parchment-lined sheet pan.
- Rest macarons until they appear dull and are no longer tacky to the touch. Bake at 275ºF on the middle rack in a convection oven (310º for non-convection) for 10 minutes. To test for doneness tap the top of a macaron, if the bottom wiggles, it should bake for longer. Allow the macarons to cool before removing from pan and transferring to a cooling rack.
- 7. Once completely cool, fill with ganache, buttercream, or other filling, and carefully top with the other shell half. Macarons are best enjoyed 24hrs after filling, allowing the shells to set and the filling to rehydrate centers.
Paint ‘em gold:
– Mix about a half tablespoon of edible pearl dust with a couple of drops of pure vodka. Combine until it is a thick paste.
– Carefully brush onto the macarons; allow them to dry out. You can use an edible writer pen to draw shamrocks on your macarons.
– to get a deeper “gold”, add a second coat. Different brands have different shades of glitter dust.
Bailey’s Ganache Instructions:
Gently heat cream in a small saucepan until it just comes to the boil, then pour hot cream over chocolate. Whisk to combine mixture until it is smooth (if the chocolate has not completely melted you can place it over a saucepan of boiling water and continue stirring it until it is completely smooth). Add Baileys (you can adjust the amount to taste) and use whisk to combine. Chill in the fridge until thick but still pipable. Pipe or spoon on to macaron shells and sandwich shells together. Place in the fridge overnight.
Other Macron Recipes/Ideas:
- Big Mac-arons (Lesson from my mum)