Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Trick or Treat Macarons

These macarons were perfect for Halloween, because they were both a trick and a treat.
The macaron shells were definitely a treat because they came out perfect; smooth, nice feet, moist interior, and more importantly not hollow. The filling on the other was quite the trick. I made two different fillings, Dark Chocolate Caramel and Browned Butter Spice. The Browned Butter Spice Frosting was a little freaky tasting. I was hoping for a nice warm fall flavor but it turned out to be a weird mixture of sour and spice.

The Dark Chocolate Caramel filling was a mix of a trick and a treat. It had an amazing rich chocolate flavor followed by a hint of caramel, but the consistency was a nightmare. It was too thick to spread on the shell but so thin it oozed out of the cookies while they were sitting in the refrigerator, making a sticky mess.

With that said, the Dark Chocolate Caramel filling with the chocolate shell was so fudgy and delicious, that I would probably make them again.

Basic Macaron Shell
from Kitchen Musings

3 egg whites (aged in the refrigerator 1 day and then microwaved 10 seconds)
125g almond flour
225g powdered sugar
25g granulated sugar
pinch of cream of tartar
1/2 tsp powdered food coloring (optional)

Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Prepare pastry bag with a 1/2 inch plain tip.
Using a food processor, pulse almond flour and confectioner's sugar until combined.
In the bowl of a stand mixer whip the egg whites and cream of tartar on low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium high and beat 1 minute. Add granulated sugar and continue whipping until stiff peaks form, about 1 minute.
Gently fold 1/4 of the flour mixture along with the vanilla into the egg whites. Continue adding 1/4 and folding until all the flour is combined, making a thick batter. Fill the pastry bag with the mixture.
Pipe the batter into 1 1/2 inch mounds on the prepared baking sheets, spacing about 1 inch apart.
Let the macarons rest at room temperature for 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 310. Bake the macarons for 10-12 minutes.

*For chocolate shells add 2 tbs unsweetened cocoa to almond flour and confectioner's sugar during the processing step.

Browned Butter Spice Frosting
Adapted from myrecipes.com 

2/3 cup butter 
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon five spice
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon apple cider
3 cups powdered sugar 

Cook butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, swirling pan occasionally, until deep golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes.
Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer, place in refrigerator and chill until solidified.
Add remaining ingredients and beat until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes, occasionally scraping inside of bowl.

Dark Chocolate Caramel Filling
From winespectator.com

3/4 cup (180 grams) heavy cream
2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon (4 grams) freshly squeezed and strained lemon juice (from 1/2 lemon)
4 ounces (120 grams) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon (3 grams) vanilla extract
Heat cream in a saucepan over medium heat until scalding, about 3 minutes. Set aside.
Heat the sugar and lemon juice in another medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar resembles wet sand. Cook until the syrup turns a clear amber color, and the edges begin to foam,  about 10 minutes. Stir only if the sugar does not melt evenly.
Remove from the heat and immediately pour in the cream to stop the cooking process. Be careful, the syrup will steam and may splatter. Whisk in the chocolate and vanilla, pour the caramel into a container, and let it cool at room temperature for 2 hours. Cover, then refrigerate for several hours.

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