Macarons (not macaroons!) seem to have fallen by the wayside in the foodie blogging world. Once they were mastered, everyone moved on to the next thing. I think it was cake pops...
But, I still enjoy making them and have done so even after they lost their spot under the limelight, and after watching the Great British Bake Off quarter finals which featured them and their history, I thought it would be fitting to do a new post with the pretty little confections.
And I went completely pretty with them, I mean, who doesn't think a baby pink macaron isn't just adorable?
Remember my Peter Rabbit decorated cupcakes? While I was on the site where I found the very cute Beatrix Potter cupcake kit, I also came across their macaron boxes, in pink! I know it's just packaging, but I had to have it. I was mentally seeing my delicate pink macarons lined up inside one. (Now to convince the people who enjoyed said macarons in lovely packaging that I did in fact make them myself!). Those boxes were kept safe and destined for this very recipe, I'm not even joking.
I'm going to let you in on a little secret, this isn't exactly a brand spanking new recipe. What I've done is combined two elements from two of my other recipes. I know right? How lazy! But, in my defence, I like my own recipes!
In my mad macaron making phase when it was still cool with the kids and I was equally hip and happening - cough - I had discovered that you could also flavour the macaron shells in various ways, so you didn't have to just rely on a flavour in the filling. One of these ways was to substitute some of the icing sugar for strawberry milkshake powder. Yes, that's right, I put Nesquik in the things. A patisserie chef may snub his nose at the very thought, but I'll tell you right now, they are friggin delicious! The strawberry Nesquik flavour really does come through and it's so damned tasty. And pink!
The other part of this lovely little treat is, of course, the filling. I've taken this element from the MaltEaster cupcakes I made earlier in the year. Say hello to malt flavoured white chocolate ganache. Stand back people, I have a spoon and I'm not afraid to use it!
Naturally, if you combine the two, you end up with one of my favourite macaron flavours to date, the Strawberry Malt Macaron. Yes, I know, pure genius. I surprise myself sometimes! Oh, and I hope you like the sprinkles. That was a last minute addition while making them, I figured I should make them look a little different from my original Strawberry Nesquik Macs, and seeing as I went pleb with the flavouring, I thought cake sprinkles would be fitting.
Now, as you may know if you've tried making macarons before, they can be temperamental little bastards to make. One stroke too many while mixing and you may as well pour the batter down the sink. Oven just too hot, sorry for you. Yes, they really can be a pain to make if you haven't had a lot of practice. But even more so when you've gone and messed with their delicate balance between ingredients. Adding the Nesquik powder does make the mixture that much more volatile, so if you've never never made macarons before and you're thinking of trying to for the first time, I'd advise you start with one of my other more classic recipes. I wouldn't want you to try your hand at these and fail, 'cause then you may give up and never experience the joy that is watching those macaron feet appear on your first successful batch.
Even if you have made them before, but only a couple of times, just know that if they don't turn out, don't take it personally. It's not you, it's them.
Why am I bothering posting this recipe if it may not be fool-proof? 'Cause if you like a challenge and you're an old hand at these things, then you deserve to enjoy them like I did.
To use a completely twee word that just perfectly sums up this flavour combination, it's "scrummy." Like having a strawberry malt milkshake, just in a cute little chewable treat. So go on, get your mac on!
Strawberry Malt Macarons
Malt Ganache Filling
|Enough for about 20 macarons|
|200g||7oz||White Chocolate, roughly chopped|
|100ml||3.5 fl oz||Double Cream|
|50g||2 oz||Malt Powder (Horlicks)|
- Place white chocolate in a medium sized heat proof bowl, set aside
- Heat double cream in a small saucepan on medium high heat just until it starts to bubble around the edges
- Remove from heat and pour cream over the chocolate
- Stir with a whisk or spatula until all of the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth
- Tip: If the chocolate stops melting, place the bowl over a pot of barely simmering water, continue stirring until the heat from the steam has melted all the chocolate. Remove from the bain marie
- Add the malt powder to the mixture and stir until thoroughly combined
- Leave at room temperature to cool, about 30mins
- Cover bowl with clingfilm and chill in the fridge to help solidify the ganache until it's needed to fill the macarons
- Tip: Ganache can be made a couple days ahead of time and kept in the fridge until needed. The ganache will be quite solid though, so leave at room temperature for a couple of hours to allow it to soften slightly, but depending on how cool the room is, it may still be a bit too firm for piping. To soften further, warm it in the microwave in short 10 second bursts on low power, stirring mixture occasionally, until it softens enough to easily spoon or pipe. If you heat it too much, just leave it too cool and firm up again
- When you're ready to fill the macarons, fill a piping bag with the ganache, or you can use a teaspoon to spoon small dollops onto half of the macaron shells, then sandwich with a plain shell
|Depending on size, makes 40 shells (20 macarons)|
|90g||3 oz||Egg Whites, room temp (from about 3 medium eggs)|
|30g||1 oz||Granulated White Sugar|
|140g||5 oz||Confectioners/Icing Sugar|
|110g||4 oz||Ground Almonds|
|60g||2 oz||Strawberry Nesquik Milk Powder, or similar|
|Red or Pink Paste or Powder Food Colouring|
|Pink Sprinkles, optional|
- Process the confectioners sugar, almond meal & strawberry Nesquik until the almond meal is fine then sift into a medium bowl
- Whisk the egg whites with the granulated sugar in a clean dry bowl until the mixture is glossy and holds stiff peaks
- If colouring, whisk in small amounts of paste or powdered colouring until desired shade is reached
- Tip: If you turn the bowl upside down they should make no move to fall out
- Tip: Don't worry about your meringue being a bit dry or over beaten, against popular belief that macarons are a pain to make, they're actually fairly forgiving at this stage
- Fold half of the almond flour mixture into the meringue, starting quite vigorously then folding more carefully.
- Add the remaining almond meal mixture and fold in carefully
- Tip: The macronage process is probably the only part of making macarons that determines if they'll be a fail or success. 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. Rather under mix than over mix!
- 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 4cm (1.5") 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 for 1-2 hours
- Tip: If using sprinkles, decorate macarons while they're still a bit tacky so that the sprinkles stick
- Tip: Especially with these macarons, the drying time is important as the skin that forms will help your macarons to not crack while baking
- 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 or if you can easily peel one off the baking tray
- Cool on a rack before removing from the parchment, 15-30mins
- Pipe or spoon half of the macaron shells on the flat side with malt ganache filling and sandwich, then sandwich with the remaining half of the shells
I found a great post busting the myths of macaron making, I highly recommend you read it. The only step that I still do is to dry the macarons, lets just say it's like lucky socks, I can't make my macarons without that step for whatever reason. But as for the rest of the myths? Compeletely busted. I use fresh eggs and don't care what the weather is. Macaron Myths
Store your macarons in an airtight container at room temperature.
You can also store in an airtight container in the fridge, but leave macarons out at room temp for a while before eating.
Best eaten after a day or two, this lets the flavours develop.