Sunday 21 December 2014

Christmas morning macarons: hazelnut macarons with spiced coffee and chocolate ganache

I once tried making hazelnut macarons, quite arrogant of me really, because it was the second time i was ever trying out macarons. I hadnt even perfected normal almond macarons, so its no surprise that the hazelnut ones didnt turn out nice. So without even trying to figure out what went wrong, that was put to rest.

Now that i eat, breathe, live macarons, I thought i should try the hazelnut ones a go, also because i was getting a bit bored of serving the almond ones to friends and family and before they started complaining about it, thought I should play around with the recipe a bit. Macarons are so temperamental, and fails with the slightest of changes, so technically I should have gone with a recipe using powdered hazelnut, but I couldn't find one that follows the French meringue method, hence I just sub'ed the almond measurement in my regular recipe with hazelnut. Of course my heart was in my mouth till i saw the feet, but it all worked out well in the end.
When its baking it smells just like nutella and taste wise, its not as neutral as the almond ones, so you need to be quite careful with the filling flavour. They are obviously nuttier and if you didn't know its hazelnut, you would be a bit confused as to what the taste is. I loved it, but Ro was not too sure, he said I should stick to almonds, how boring! Anyways, to play it safe I filled them with my spiced coffee stash (from my Harrods Hamper- yes i know eons back, but its only taken out every Christmas), perfect for Christmas morning and since hazelnut and coffee is a gorgeous match it went down very well with me :)

Talking about Christmas, have you all planned your feast yet? My house is all decorated (yes, as you can see, this year i went a bit crazy with diy christmas decorations), presents are all wrapped and i am all ready for my huge Christmas feast. I have invited a couple of friends over and have already planned my menu starting with cocktails and champagne all the way to cheese, dessert and coffee. Hopefully I'd be able to post one more recipe before the year ends, but if I don't come back, here's wishing My Kitchen Antics' readers a very merry Christmas and a kick ass New Year.

Makes 22 medium size macarons
Ground hazelnuts- 60 gms, after sifting
Powdered/ icing sugar- 100 gms
Egg whites- 60 gms
Caster sugar- 40 gms
Vanilla bean paste- 1/4 tsp (optional)

For a detailed macaron making process, check out this post of mine.
Get the baking tray with baking paper ready. Make sure you cut them exactly to fit the size of your pan without any folds or dents, because this will affect the shape of your macaron. You would need 2 trays for this quantity.
Sift the ground hazelnut with the icing sugar to remove any lumps.
Using a free standing mixer with whisk attachment or hand mixer, whisk the egg whites till frothy.
Add the caster sugar bit by bit, while continuously beating the egg white, till soft peaks form. (When in doubt, beat till still peaks form, so you don't deflate the meringue too soon)
Into the meringue mix add the sifted hazelnut-sugar mix and vanilla bean paste and fold gently using a spatula, starting from the bottom and continuing to the top till you get a smooth even mixture, with no meringue visible.
Go really easy on the folding because if you over do it, you could end up with disfigured macarons when you pipe them out. To test of the batter is of correct consistency the batter should fall back in ribbons when you life the spatula and the ribbons should have disappeared in about a minute or so. If it doesn't, then give a couple more gentle strokes and test again.
Pour the batter into piping bag with a plain round tip and pipe small round, leaving about 2 inches gap between the shells for them to spread and expand.
Leave aside to dry for 20 to 30 minutes. Again, this completely varies, If the batter is towards the looser side, it would take longer to dry, if it is humid it would take longer to dry and sometimes with no particular reason it just takes forever. If you don't leave it to dry enough, you wont get a proper developed feet.
Lightly touch the piped batter with your finger and if it doesn't stick them it means you are good to go.
When the batter is drying pre heat the oven to 140C and once ready place the tray in the middle rack and bake for 13 to 15 mins.
If your macarons are undercooked, it becomes crinkled and hollow. It also becomes too delicate to handle as well. So when it doubt, bake a little longer, but make sure you don't burn them.
Once done, cool completely in the tray itself before filling.

Spiced coffee and chocolate ganache
Dark chocolate- 1/2 cup
Double cream- 1/4 cup
Spiced coffee- 1/4 cup (brewed with 2 heaped teaspoons of spiced coffee)

Melt together the chocolate and cream in the microwave, in bursts of 30 to 45 seconds.
Stir in the spiced coffee and make sure its all mixed together.
Pour into a piping bag and place in the fridge to firm up, and till ready to use.
When ready to fill, pair the macarons with similar sized ones and pipe the filling on to the shells.
Sandwich them and store in an air tight container till ready to serve.
They taste better when the flavours have mixed well and has moistened in the fridge for a couple of hours.
If you leave it in the fridge for a long time, it would moisten too much leaving you with soggy shells.

Notes: If you want to do your own spiced coffee, add a 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp all spice and a pinch of nutmeg
Of course, just replace the 60gms of ground hazelnuts with ground almonds and you'll get the original almond macarons


Aysha said...

Hey Nisha,
I am loving your blog to the core . . . especially the way you write things so honestly.

I am looking for a Yorkshire pudding recipe and wondered if you can post one soon...