When the macaron October Daring Baker challenge was announced I immediately thought it would be fun to do something with a theme, and living in Ireland the Irish flag popped into my mind, it being 3 colours with flavours to go along with them. Green: Lime, White: Coconut, Orange: Orange!
Ok, not exactly typical Irish flavours, lol, hence I thought I'd tie it all together with the title "Tropical Ireland" :P Get it? Ireland, island? If you know me, you'll know I love my puns!
You can flavour the meringue quite easily with zest so that was sorted. Then I was convinced I could make a coconut ganache. Why? I don't know, just because. So I have it a try, using coconut milk to make the ganache, but as fantastic as it tasted, it never hardened! Meh! Which led me to swiss buttercream.
I'd never made swiss buttercream before although I'd heard fantastic things about the flavour and how easy it is to use etc, but for some reason the process seemed like a complicated one that would take forever. Boy was I wrong and boy do I LOVE swiss buttercream!!!!
It was quick and actually really easy to make, and it's really versatile as far as adding flavour. Once it was whipped up, I added a bit of coconut milk & dessicated coconut, also a bit of white gel colouring to get rid of the buttery tinge.
This macaron is really quite something. While you're eating it, you get a burst of lime, a burst of orange, the ever present coconut, then another burst of lime etc. Of course, you don't have to have both the lime & orange in one cookie, but it's definitely a great taste in the mouth.
90g Egg whites (about 3), aged & at room temp
144g Confectioners/Icing Sugar
72g Granulated Sugar
117g Almond Meal
Zest from 1 Orange
Zest from 2 Limes
1/4 tsp Green Powdered Food Colour (or less depending on the shade)
1/4 tsp Orange Powdered Food Colour (or less depending on the shade)
- Process the confectioners sugar & almond meal until the almond meal is fine then sift into a medium bowl.
- Tip: If grinding your own nuts, combine nuts and a cup of confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a food processor and grind until nuts are very fine and powdery.
- Beat the egg whites in the clean dry bowl until foamy.
- Slowly add the granulated sugar and beat until the mixture is glossy and holds stiff peaks.
- Tip: If you turn the bowl upside down they should make no move to fall out
- Fold half of the almond flour mixture and powdered colouring into the meringue, starting quite vigorously then folding more carefully.
- Add the remaining almond meal mixture and give it a few folds
- Divide the batter into 2 and fold in the orange zest & colour into the one half, the lime and green colour into the other half. Fold carefully.
- Tip: Allow the zest to dry out ahead of time for a few hours or overnight, then grind or process before adding to the batter
- Tip: A good way to tell if the batter is ready is when you fold it onto itself, it should blend back into itself in about 30seconds
- Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain half-inch tip. You can also use a Ziploc bag with a corner cut off.
- Tip: It’s easiest to fill your bag if you stand it up in a tall glass and fold the top down before spooning in the batter.
- Pipe 1 1/2 inch mounds of batter onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
- Tip: I don't recommend using a silicon mat, I had trouble taking the macarons off each time I used it. Once piped, bang the sheet down on a counter top a couple times to flatten any mounds and bring up air bubbles, also to settle the almond meal to the bottom giving smooth tops.
- Leave the unbaked macarons out to dry, between 30min - 1 1/2 hours.
- Tip: If you have a fan assisted oven you can dry them in less time by just having the fan turned on with the macarons in the oven.
- While the macarons are drying, preheat the oven to 140°C (120°C Fan Assisted)
- Once dry, bake for 15-22mins depending on their size
- Tip: They're ready when you push them and they move very slightly on their feet
- Cool on a rack before removing from the parchment, 15-30mins
- Pipe or spoon with filling and sandwich
Coconut Swiss Buttercream
2 Egg Whites
100g Granulated Sugar
175g Unsalted Butter
1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 tsp Coconut Milk
3-4 Tbsp Dessicated Coconut
1/4 tsp White Gel Food Colour
- Combine the egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl
- Put the bowl over a pot of simmering water
- Whisk over heat until all the sugar is dissolved and it resembles marshmallow fluff, about 3 mins
- Pour the mixture into a large bowl and beat until the mixture is cool and you have a glossy meringue
- Beat in the butter a tablespoon at a time, making sure it's completely mixed in before adding more
- Tip: At some point it will look curdled, DON'T WORRY! Once you've added all of the butter, just keep beating and it will come together to form a smooth, creamy buttercream
- Beat in the vanilla extract, coconut milk and white gel food colour then mix until thoroughly combined
- Fold in the dessicated coconut
This macaron recipe is adapted from Syrup & Tang
The buttercream recipe is adapted from Tartelette
You'll find that most serious macaron bakers swear by using aged egg whites, and I did notice a difference with the feet between using fresh & aged. Some say 3 days is best, some say up to 5 days is best. To age your egg whites, leave them in the fridge (or if in a cool climate) on the counter covered with a paper towel to stop anything from getting inside, and allow to stand between 3-5 days. If aged in the fridge, leave out until room temperature before using.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge but sit out for an hour or two before eating