It's been some time since I made these.
Macarons can be really scary to make. They can come out 'good' often, but to reach 'pretty darn good' it takes some time. Lots of time. And practice. Lots and lots of practice.
BUT. It's possible. So, stay with me!!!
I've been a nomad since April. I once had an apartment. It was pretty cool. But since then I've traveled to Singapore, perhaps 4 or 5 different cities in China, Hong Kong, Turkey, Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Hungary, and Canada.
In between those pretty fun adventures I've been staying at my sister's place. She's the most wonderful being on the planet, but... I do miss having more than one cubby and a shelf allocated to my person and possessions. Yeah. I wouldn't mind having my own bed soon.
BUT SOON IS HAPPENING. We found an apartment (photos to come), and it's basically perfect. I'm pretty darn pleased.
Because I was kinda in denial of being homeless, I refused to acquaint myself with her oven. I thought my stay was temporary, and that soon I would become a mature human being that didn't live rent-free with her sister and pay her back via the barter system with dog walking and dinner cooking. (I swear one day I'm going to be a total spinster with seven(teen?) cats.)
But. Big changes up in here. We signed our apartment contract, I'm gonna have a room (AN ENTIRE ROOM!), and to celebrate, I'm getting involved in this oven. It's about time.
This was the first time making macarons in this oven, so I'm still tweaking my perfect temperature setting and baking times. This is something any macaron maker will have to find out for themselves. It depends a lot on the humidity in the room you're baking in and heaps of other stuff (I could pretend to know, but let's be real... I have no clue, it's a trial and error system in my experience). However, if your first batch (or second, or third) isn't perfect... YOU WILL SUCCEED. I'm totally on the "everyone can make macarons" boat. So, roll up your sleeves and let's get going!
So, remember that time I made these AWESOME knock-off Pierre Hermé Macarons? (Merup, proabaly not... BUT:) One shell was carrot, and the other was orange! They turned out pretty well, and this got be thinking about all of the other possibilities out there. Since carrot cake is my favourite, carrot in a macaron shell obviously means carrot cake macarons, amiright?
Carrot Cake Macarons - What you need:
- 110 grams of almond powder
- 195 grams of confectioner's sugar
- 5 grams mixed spices (I used 3 grams cinnamon and 2 grams nutmeg)
- 1 large carrot, dehydrated*
- 100 grams of egg whites, aged for 24 hours in a sealed container at room temperature (weigh the egg whites AFTER they've sat out)
- 50 grams caster sugar
*To dehydrate a carrot, either cut it in matchstick pieces or slice it thinly with a potato peeler. Next, bake the carrot slices on parchment paper in a 110 degrees celsius oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Carrot Cake Macarons - What you do:
I ALWAYS dry out my almond powder first, and I recommend you do, too!
To do this: place the almond powder in oven safe pan or dish in a pre-heated 110 degrees C oven for around 5 to 10 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally. Some moisture will evaporate from the almond powder, so weigh the almond powder AFTER drying it out!
Either crumple up the dried carrot or place it in a food processor for around 15 pulses.
Sift together the almond powder, confectioner's sugar, and spices in a large bowl. Stir in the carrot pieces. Set this aside.
In another large bowl, using an electric beater, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the caster sugar slowly, and continue to beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. The egg whites are perfect when you can flip the bowl over without any egg whites sliding down.
Using a rubber spatula, fold the egg whites into the almond powder mixture. Incorporate these two mixes together, but try to use fewer than 50 folds. You don't want to over beat the batter!
Spoon the macaron batter into a pastry bag fitted with a circular pipe. On a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, pipe out 4 to 5 centimeter circles of the macaron batter. Continue to do this until all the batter is gone. Make sure to leave some space in between the macarons, they will spread out! Tap the baking sheet on the counter a few times to remove any air bubbles.
Allow the macarons to rest at room temperature for around 1 hour.
Pre-heat the oven to 140 degrees celsius while waiting for the macarons to set.
Bake the macarons for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the pan half way through the baking time. Take the macarons out, and allow them to sit for one to two minutes on the pan. After this they should pop off the parchment paper easily. IF they stick, place them back in the oven for another 2 or 3 minutes.
Allow the macarons to cool completely before filling them.
For the filling... ANY proper carrot cake obviously has a cream cheese frosting! So I used that for these macarons, too!
Cream Cheese Frosting - What you need:
- 150 grams cream cheese, softened
- 100 grams butter, softened
- 3 cups confectioner's sugar
Cream Cheese Frosting - What you do:
Beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth and fluffy.
One cup at a time, beat in the confectioner's sugar. Beat everything together until fully incorporated.
Spoon the frosting into a pastry bag. Pipe out a looney (or euro or quarter) size dollop of frosting onto one macaron shell.
You can optionally add small pieces of walnut on top of the frosting. I did this randomly. (I hope my friends like surprises!!!)
Top off with a second macaron shell. Press slightly together.
For the best taste, allow these macarons to sit over night in the fridge. Allow the macarons to sit at room temperature for around 15 to 20 minutes (minimum) before enjoying.
This makes 16 to 18 macaron cookies.