When the macaron October Daring Baker challenge was revealed, I thought of quite a few flavours that I wanted to try, I also wanted to do it in themes, so I had "Pretty in Pink" "Natural Neutrals" "Tropical Ireland" and then this one was "Have a Pint!"
I couldn't really get my head around making macarons that tasted like Guinness so had to think of something else. The brain then connected the next best thing with a black macaron; liquorice. It was actually perfect, my husband loves his Guinness & he LOVES liquorice.
I'm not really a liquorice fan, I'll eat Liquorice AllSorts, but won't ever buy plain liquorice. When my husband comes along on for the grocery shopping, there's normally one or two liquorice strips slipped into the trolley without me seeing it ;)
I wanted to flavour the head of the Guinness with a Baileys ganache or buttercream, but seeing as I took on doing 8 flavours in the space of a couple days along with planning a Sunday lunch for friends, I ran out of time, and so the head of my pint is the almond macarons I did for the DB challenge.
90g Egg Whites (about 3), aged & at room temp
135g Confectioners/Icing Sugar
45g Granulated Sugar
114g Almond Meal
2 Liquorice Teabags
1 Tbsp Black Powdered Food Colouring (or less depending on strength)
- Process the confectioners sugar, almond meal and contents from the teabags 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 fold in carefully. Do not overfold.
- 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/280°F (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
Liquorice Dark Chocolate Ganache
250g Dark Chocolate
250ml Double Cream
3-4 Liquorice Teabags
- Put the cream and teabags into a pot and heat on a very low for 15-20mins to infuse the cream, stirring occasionally, don't allow the cream to boil
- Squeeze out the teabags as much as possible
- Finely chop/grate the chocolate and put into a heat resistant bowl.
- Put the cream into a saucepan and heat until just about to boil.
- Remove from heat and pour hot cream over the chocolate, using a whisk stir the cream and chocolate together making sure all the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.
- Refrigerate and stir with a fork every now and then so that it's all the same consistency until thick enough to spread (about 2 - 3 hours)
- Tip: Basically, the longer you allow it to cool, the thicker the ganache, cooling it in the fridge speeds up the process but make sure to stir the ganache so that it cools evenly, also, keep an eye on it because it can become too thick for spreading if left too long in the fridge. If that does happen, allow to soften up at room temperature or using a water bath. The macaron shells are very delicate so rather have the ganache on the softer side, then pop in the fridge to firm up
Recipe adapted from the Daring Bakers Challenge Recipe
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