Monday, February 11, 2013

Heart Shaped Italian Macarons

Ever since making my first batch of macarons last month I wanted to try a different macaron recipe/technique AND attempt to make them heart shaped. Well, I did and they were a success! How cute are these heart shaped treats? Is there any way to make them cuter?
Yep! Add some pink poodles into the shot.  My room mate figured that would be cute/funny and he was right!

Then I wondered if there was any way to make these even more adorable.
Yep! Drawing Valentine's messages on them with edible marker fit the bill nicely. How cute are they? My room mate exclaimed that they looked like Sweethearts and I had to agree. 
Not into the normal Valentine's Day messages? Don't worry. I have that covered too. Here's some updated messages that I felt were very "of the times" for today's society...and also made me giggle.
Still not into Valentine's Day/love? Been burnt too many times in the past? Don't worry. I have you covered as well.
There was one broken heart out of the 80+ I made.

I am glad to say that the folks eating these enjoyed the messages AND the yummy tastes of these macarons. I used an Italian technique (which incorporates hot sugar water which helps to make the tops shiny.) I really enjoyed this recipe and plan to keep it as my go to macaron recipe.

Happy Valentine's Day!
Love,
Available and Slightly Low Maintenance.
Italian Macarons (from Good Food)
Ingredients
200g almond meal, laid out on tray to dry for 2 days (Erika's Extras: I laid the almond meal out for only overnight and it worked fine)
200g pure icing sugar, sieved
150g egg whites (from 3 to 4 large eggs), sieved and allowed to stand at room temperature overnight
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1g dry egg-white powder (optional)
200g white sugar
50g water
Few drops food colouring (Erika's Extras: I put in extra food coloring since the color of my last macarons faded while baking.)


Method
Preheat oven to 150C (around 300F). Place almond meal and icing sugar in a food processor and pulse to get a finer consistency. Sieve through a drum sieve into a large mixing bowl. Divide egg whites in two batches, each 75 grams. Place one batch of egg whites in an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add cream of tartar and egg white powder and set aside.
Mix the remaining egg whites into almond mix to make a thick paste, then set aside. Put sugar and water in a saucepan on medium heat, stir to make sugar syrup. Insert thermometer. When thermometer reaches 110C, start whisking egg whites on low speed. Gradually increase the speed until the egg whites are thick. If the sugar syrup gets too hot before the egg whites are ready, add three teaspoons of cold water to syrup to reduce the temperature. When sugar syrup reaches 118C and the egg whites are ready, slowly pour syrup down the side of the mixer while whisking the egg whites on medium speed. Continue to mix for about 10 minutes until the meringue cools (the bowl should still feel slightly warm).
Add food colouring. Using a pastry scraper, mix the meringue into the almond meal paste — no need to be gentle. Keep mixing until the paste is supple and shiny.
Shiny!
It is important to have the correct consistency. The mixture should be oozy and lava-like. When you fold the mixture over itself, it will spread slowly. Using a pastry bag fitted with a one-centimetre plain nozzle, pipe mixture on to a lined double baking tray. Using two trays ensures even heat distribution. You can use baking paper to line the trays but I have found a silicone baking mat gives the best result. (Erika's Extras: I used parchment paper and it worked fine. I also only had one tray in the oven at a time which was fine as well.)
For a guideline to making heart shapes, I traced a heart on one side of the parchment paper. With the pencil side down, I piped the hearts on the other side of the paper.
Rap the baking tray on the bench firmly a couple of times to get rid of any large air bubbles, settle the shape of the macaron and help make the pied or "foot". Bake for about 16 minutes-18 minutes. (Erika's Extras: I kept the oven door slightly ajar when baking. The other macaron recipe I made said to do that and I think it helps an even baking.)
 
Check the macarons are dry by testing whether the top and the pied are firm (if the top is soft and the sides are moist, leave them a few more minutes). (Erika's Extras: I checked if the pied/bottom was firm by seeing if the macaron easily peeled from the parchment paper. If not, place back in oven.)Remove from oven and cool on baking trays, then remove and place on wire racks. When cool, sandwich with filling (see below). Refrigerate overnight for the correct soft macaron texture. They can be frozen for up to six weeks.Makes 85-90 (42-45 filled macarons)
 
Erika's Extras: I used this Martha Stewart recipe for the filling. I added honey to half and raspberry jam to the other half. While the filling was nice, I wasn't a huge fan of the flavor/consistency. I would suggest searching for a different recipe.
 
Bake well and prosper!

2 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh, they are the cutest macaroons ever! What a fun idea, but so much work! You must have spent a lot of time making them look so adorable. Have a Happy V-Day, Lotte

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  2. Happy Valentine's Day, Erika!

    I can see that you are having lots of fun baking these heart shaped macarons. Sorry that I had to laugh at "your broken heart" :p

    Zoe

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Thanks for taking time to leave a message! xo - EB