Friday, 28 July 2017

Mint Chocolate Macarons


mint macarons mint chocolate ganache

As you may have gathered, I love macarons and wanted to have a go at a grown up flavour. The macarons were flavoured with peppermint extract, and the filling is a chocolate ganache flavoured with an amazing Finnish chocolate mint vodka I received as a birthday present (called minttu). In place of that, you could use your favourite spirit, or more mint extract if you want a mint sensation. 

These are delicious just after assembly, but are even better the next day. I think duck eggs are amazing, but hen eggs will work too (just make sure they are free range as the better quality eggs, the better the meringue and hence the macarons).

Makes around 24 macarons (48 shells)

Ingredients:

For the macarons:
  • 175g (1 & 1/3 cups) ground almonds
  • 175g (1 & 1/2 cups) icing sugar
  • 4 (125ml/1/2 cup) medium duck egg whites
  • 165g (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 50ml (3 tbsp and 1 tsp) water
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract (not essence, a paste would be best)
  • Green food colouring (I use a paste, but you could use a powder)

For the chocolate ganache:
  • 100ml (1/2 cup) double cream
  • 50ml minttu (or your favourite spirit)
  • 300g (2 cups) 70% dark chocolate, chopped
  • 30g (2 tbsp) softened butter

Method:

1. Place the ground almonds, and icing sugar in a food processor (or high power blender) and blitz 3 times for 2-3 second bursts, until the mixture is very fine. Be careful not to blitz for too long as the almonds can turn to butter!

2. Sieve the almonds/icing sugar into a large bowl. Add 2 of the egg whites, and beat until a smooth paste is formed.

3. Heat the granulated sugar and water in a saucepan, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Then stop stirring and place a sugar thermometer in the pan. In a grease-free bowl *, add the remaining two egg whites. Once the sugar/water has reached 110C, start whisking the egg whites (I tend to use a hand-held electric whisk, but a stand mixer would be even easier!).

4. Once the sugar/water syrup has reached 118C, the egg whites should be white and frothy (like shaving foam). Carefully pour the syrup onto the egg whites, whisking constantly. Be very careful not to touch the syrup as it is super hot! Keep whisking until the mixture is shiny and forms peaks when the whisk is lifted from the mixture (this should take between 5 and 7 minutes). Add a small amount of the green food colouring and whisk until the desired green colour.

5. Use a metal spoon to fold a third of the egg white mixture into the almond/sugar paste. Once incorporated, gently fold in the remaining egg whites.

6. Fill a piping bag with the macaron mixture, and cut off 1cm from the end (or use a large round nozzle). Grease and line three baking trays with parchment paper and hold the piping bag vertically above where you want to pipe. Pipe 3cm lines of macarons, leaving at least 2cm between each macaron. 

7. Tap the tray on the surface a few times, then leave at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour, until a "skin" has formed on the macarons - this means that when you gently touch the macaron, no mixture goes on your finger.

8. Preheat the oven to 170c (150c fan)/ 340F/ gas mark 3. Before you place the baking trays into the oven, tap the trays against the surface again. This gives the perfect "foot" of a macarons. Bake the macarons for 8-10 minutes - keep an eye on them after 8 minutes in case they are browning too much. Remove the macarons from the oven and transfer the macarons (with the baking paper still attached) to a wire rack to cool.

9. To make the ganache, heat the cream and butter in a saucepan until bubbles are beginning to form on top of the cream.

10. Pour over the chopped chocolate and beat until all of the chocolate has melted. Add the minttu, and whisk to combine. Set aside to cool, then place in the fridge for around 45 minutes, until beginning to set.

11. Take out of the fridge for 5 minutes at room temperature. Use an electric whisk to beat the ganache, causing it to become fluffy and soft (it becomes more mousse like in texture). Fill a piping bag with the ganache.

12. Flip half of the macarons over. Pipe ganache on the flipped halves and gently top with an unflipped macaron shell.

13. Enjoy!

* A great way to ensure your bowl and whisk is grease-free is to lightly wipe with lemon or lime juice.

mint macarons mint chocolate ganache

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