S’MORE Macarons. I’ll just let that sink in. The weather has turned here in the UK this week. It’s gone from sunshine [yes, we do get sun] to gloomy clouds, intermittent rain and autumn leaves. I KNOW. How is this possible in August? As ever, food was my first thought when I opened the curtains, my mind receptive of the change in weather I suddenly found myself craving pumpkin pie and a squash soup. So much squash.
But ultimately, it got me thinking about this week’s macaron Monday. I had originally planned to upload my -SPOILER ALERT- Lemonade macarons [don’t fear, they’re coming], but I felt the need to create something that bit more autumnal and reflective of the week.
It’s this coming week for the last few years I’ve got camping to a lovely campsite outside on Monmouth. As you can imagine, once the tent is pitched and the dog is settled, the first thing I do is get the campfire going and get dinner prepped. As the night rolls in, out come the marshmallows and the chocolate and biscuits and it’s time to indulge in what I only know as an American stereotype, whether true or not: s’mores.
The fact of the matter is, I don’t care if s’mores as a thing. I don’t care if they are a truthful American stereotype or if those over the pond consume them as little as we do.
With thoughts of those trips in my mind, and the gloomy weather overhead, I knew the next instalment of #macaronmondays just had to be just that: s’mores macrons.
100g ground almonds
100g icing sugar
72g egg white
100g granulated sugar
2 tsp cocoa powder
50g butter, softened
100g icing sugar
Marshmallow extract [Amazon.co.uk]
100g milk chocolate
50ml double cream
Pre-heat the oven to 160°C or 150°C fan.
Sieve the almonds, icing sugar and cocoa powder in a bowl several times. Three at a minimum. If you don’t have a sieve, use a food processor but either is fine.
Pour half of the egg whites – that’s 36g to be exact (and you need to be exact) – into the almond and icing sugar mixture and mix together with a spoon. It should all come together to create a paste, almost – thick and sticky. Sometimes it calls for me to push the mixture together against the side or bottom of the bowl to bind it together, but just do what works at this stage. Pour the rest of the egg whites into a stand mixer or clean bowl.
Put the sugar and water onto a medium-high heat in a high-sided saucepan. Combine carefully so all the sugar is coated in the water then leave very much alone. It’s worth having a pastry brush and a bowl of water to hand incase sugar crystals form up the side of the pan. Just dab them with the wet brush and they’re fizzle away, causing you no both. Bring the mixture to the boil. Using a sugar thermometer, bring the syrup up to 110°C. At this point, start mixing the egg whites in your stand mixer or with an electric hand held whisk. Once the temperature reached 118°C and the eggs are frothy, carefully and slowly pour it into the egg whites. You water the almost dribble the mixture in – pouring it in too quickly is dangerous and you may end up cooking the egg.
After 6 minutes of whisking on high, the meringue mixture should be approaching stIff peak stage. So long as it holds up on the whisk, it’s done. Take about a spoonful and add to the almond and sugar mixture – beat this together to loosen the mixture. Add a quarter and carefully fold together – you don’t want to remove the air you’ve just put into the meringue so slowly and carefully does it. Once combined, add another quarter and repeat the process. You may not use all of the meringue so test every now and then – take a bit of the mixture on the spatula and if it falls away in a ribbon-like consistency and disappears into the rest of the batter in about 10 seconds you’re there. It should fall from the spatula within 2 seconds.
Decant the mixture into a piping bag, fit with a plain round nozzle of about 1/2″. Blob a little of the mixture onto a baking sheet and place the baking paper on top, using the mixture as a glue to stick it down. Baking paper is needed – baking parchment will not suffice!
Pipe the circles onto the baking paper. Sometimes, there may be a ‘nipple’ to your meringue, but worry not, this should disappear with the next movement. That being taking the baking sheet and knocking it on the counter top several times. Just raise it above the counter a few inches and drop. Rotate 90 degrees and repeat. And twice more.
Leave the macarons uncovered for 15 minutes and then place in the oven for 12 minutes on a low shelf. Any higher the macarons tend to brown and discolour. Once cooked, leave to cool completely before even attempting to remove from the baking paper.
While the macarons are in the oven, make the ganache. Put the chocolate and cream in a microwave safe bowl and put it in the microwave for 30 seconds. Mix and if it needs more melting, buzz it for another 10 seconds at a time, stirring in between each one. Set it in the fridge until it firms up slightly – just five minutes or so. Give it another beat. When you have a piping consistency – not too runny, mind – transfer to a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle.
When the macarons are out of the oven and cooling, make the buttercream. Beat the butter with an electric whisk for 5 minutes until pale and smooth. Add 50g of the icing sugar and beat for 2 minutes. Add the remaining 50g and beat once more, with a little splash of milk. Add the extract – just a few drops as it’s pretty strong and beat again. Test the flavour and adjust accordingly if needs be. Transfer to a piping bag with a round plain nozzle and pipe four ‘pearls’ equal distance apart. You need enough of a space in between each pearl to pipe a star of chocolate ganache. Pipe the ganache in the spaces and add a mini marshmallows to the middle.
Repeat the process with all the macarons and sandwich together. Set aside in the fridge for an hour before consumption and then dig in!