I finally tackled my fear of egg whites- learning to separate them, whipping them to desired consistencies etc- and am very proud. After making the creme brulee I had some egg whites maturing in the refrigerator and I had no clue what to do with them. Well I sort of had a clue, but since my confidence levels were not up to mark, googled for hours deciding what to do with the egg whites.
Nothing interesting came out of the search and so I finally gave into the macaron frenzy that almost every food blogger is now aware of. I was very very sceptical as to how it would turn out and Shab and Finla totally helped me out with the entire thing. To be honest it was Shabs continuous FB status updates about her awesome mac flavours and finding feet that made me even consider making macs (at some point in my blog life), but it happened sooner than I thought.
I know I'm making it sound like an achievement, and trust me it is, when you see the feet (which you obviously know what it is) you feel joy (melo drama to the core, but please humour me). I would have been devastated if my macs hadn't come out decent, because for 1 it is not an easy job, 2, the quantity of ingredients used is not less and 3, its bloody messy. So after all this if my macs hadn't come out well, I would have cried, seriously, I would have screamed and cried and maybe even pulled my hair out.
I went through the mac bible (as I would like to call it) like a girl studying for the exams, that if someone questioned me what the first line on page 3 was I would say it, even in my sleep. I don't think I have ever been this determined to make something right. I was warned that I would be addicted to making macs again and again and in different flavours, once I got the hang oft it...but I must say, I'm done with the whole mac thing. Its too much of work and I care way too much about feet that I cant handle that pressure again :). But like I have previously mentioned, every food blogger should have tried making a red velvet cake, baked bread and made macarons at least once in their blog life. Now that the macaron bit is out of the way, I have all the time to experiment with bread (I do bake bread, but it's still not perfect) and the red velvet cake (this doesn't count as I made it with a mix).
Word of advice to those trying to make macarons for the first time, read the mac bible mentioned above and Meeta's notes on the same and you should be good to go. If you don't find feet, that's fine too. Just sandwich them anyway and give it to your husband saying its this awesome new dessert that you came up with. Mine would believe it in a second and so I wasn't too concerned about the "omg who will eat these feetless things' part of it. Pics are not that great cos after I was done with the whole episode, it was about 3pm and there was very little light. I was also in no mood to make it presentable, and hence the gloomy pics.
Recipe adapted from here
Icing sugar- 117 gms
Ground almonds- 60 gms (refer notes)
Espresso powder- 7 gms
Cocoa powder- 15 gms
Egg whites- 60 gms (refer notes)
Granulated sugar- 40 gms
Dark chocolate- 100 gms, chopped fine
Double cream- 75 ml
Get the baking tray with baking paper ready. You would ideally need two trays for this quantity.
In a food processor or grinder pulse the icing sugar, ground almonds, espresso powder and cocoa powder till nice and powdery.
Then sift the mix a couple of times and make sure there are no lumps. The mix may still be not fine as icing sugar, but it should not have any larger chunks or lumps whatsoever.
Using a free standing mixer with whisk attachment or a hand mixer, whisk the egg whites till frothy.
Then add the granulated sugar bit by bit, while continuously beating, till soft peaks form. It should hold its beak shape when you lift the whisk up, but shouldn't be too dry and stiff. (Refer the mac bible for explicit guidelines)
Into the almond-sugar mix add the meringue and fold it in using a spatula by starting from the bottom and continuing to the top (again refer the bible), till you get a smooth even mixture.
The batter should fall back in ribbons when you lift the spatula. Also put a spoonful on a plate and if it spreads out on its own, then you are good to go. If it doesn't, then give a couple more folds and it should be fine.
Place the batter into a piping bag with a plain tip, and pipe away, leaving about 2 inches gap between the shells.
Leave aside to dry for half an hour.
Towards the last 10 minutes, pre heat the oven to 140C and once the time is up, place the tray in the middle rack and bake for 12 to 15 minutes. At this point praying to the mac gods for feet would be a great idea (I swear I did this)
Once done, cool on a rack completely before doing the filling.
For the filling, bring the cream to a gentle boil and pour over the chopped chocolate. Keep aside for a few minutes.
Once the entire chocolate has melted, stir gently to mix it all in and get a smooth and silky texture.
Keep aside to cool completely
When ready to assemble, slather on to (or pipe) the macaron shells, sandwich them. EAT
The macarons are immensely sweet, so the dark chocolate ganache paired fairly well with the sweetness. Perfect balance, if you ask me.
The almond powder is a pain in the a**. The ones we get here are coarse and so I had to sieve it a couple of times, then pulse it with the other mentioned ingredients and then sieve again a couple of times to get a somewhat fine consistency.
Use egg whites matured in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days for best results. I brought them to room temperature before using though.
If you have a template it makes matters easy, but as usual the last minute madness made me forget all about it and so i just randomly piped them on to the paper.
YOU NEED PATIENCE to make them :)