This is another recipe that has come about during the October Daring Bakers challenge. I'm fairly conservative when it comes to flavour combinations, sweets flavoured with green tea or matcha or not the usual suspects is something I stay away from but when the macaron challenge was announced I thought that just maybe I'd try something a little on the unusual side, for me anyway.
I bounced some ideas around in my head, it actually started off a little on the boring side, like cloves & cherry jam etc. but eventually I had an idea, what about paprika? It's not too hot, has a lovely colour and great taste and I figured it might just work in something sweet.
I've teamed it up with a strawberry jam buttercream and I think the combination is pretty darn good! You immediately taste the sweet strawberry, then this smoky aftertaste comes through that leaves your tongue tingling just that tiny bit.
I must say, I was very proud of myself for thinking up this one, and maybe it's not actually as adventurous as I think, but it's certainly delicious.
90g Egg Whites (about 3), aged & at room temp
144g Confectioners/Icing Sugar
72g Granulated Sugar
117g Almond Meal/Ground Almonds
3/4 - 1 tsp Paprika
- 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 all the paprika 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.
- Sprinkle a little bit of paprika on the still wet macarons
- 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
Strawberry Jam Buttercream
2 Egg Whites
100g Granulated Sugar
175g Unsalted Butter
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
3 tsp Smooth Strawberry Jam
- 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 and strawberry jam
This recipe is adapted from Syrup & Tang
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