Macaron Mondays continue with this almopst spicy number below. But fear not. Spices can also be sweet, and this is a classic favourite number that usually takes biscuit form. Gingerbread.
Ginger is one of my most favourite of flavours. Whether it’s a ginger latte, a ginger biscuit, a ginger and lemon tea, a ginger beer or fresh ginger in a stir fry. I just cannot get enough. And it’s good for you. Though, in this form perhaps not. But still, we’re all allowed a little sweet treat every now and then, aren’t we? It is Monday after all…
Makes: 15 approx.
100g ground almonds
100g icing sugar
72g egg white
100g granulated sugar
Cream food colouring
50g butter, softened
100g icing sugar
2 tsp ground ginger
Crushed ginger biscuits
Golden food colouring gel (or a mix of brown and yellow).
Pre-heat the oven to 170°C or 160°C fan.
Sieve the almonds and icing sugar 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 into the almond and sugar mixture and combine to create a thick paste. 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.
Whisk for about 5-6 minutes of high speed. Halfway, add food colouring. If you want to add more, do so. The colour always fades a little in the oven.
After 6 minutes, the meringue mixture should be approaching stIff peak stage. So long as it holds up on the whisk, it’s done. Take about a quarter and add to the almond and sugar mixture – beat this together to loosen the mixture. Add another 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 they are 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 ground ginger and food colouring and beat together.
In a food processor, wizz the biscuits until they are fine crumbs. Lay out on a plate.
Pair off the macaron shells. Transfer the buttercream to a piping bag with a round plain nozzle and pipe a circle in the centre of the macaron. Pair together and roll in the ginger biscuits.
Repeat the process with all the macarons and place in the fridge for firm up. After a couple of hours, remove from the fridge and tuck in 30 minutes later and enjoy.