TODAY, my dear friends, is MACARON DAY!
Yes, all over the world pudgelings like myself are jumping for joy in celebration of these little delights.
Thus, we toast the macaron today. This is like a two-in-one special… drink + dessert sort of vibe.
The old fashion macaron.
For those who don’t know the drink (shame on you), it’s a whiskey cocktail that starts off by muddling sugar, bitters, and a wedge or peel of an orange together. After these flavours have a small party, you top off the glass with a large helping of some good old bourbon whiskey.
This macaron idea was given to me as a macaron "challenge"... And originally I wanted to make an orange macaron, and then a whiskey filling. However, after a long debate about what aspect makes the macaron, we decided that in fact the most important part is the cookie, and that the cookie should be the star of the show. Thus, despite my terror of adding liquids into the macaron batter, the whiskey macaron has been born. Adding a bitters buttercream with a piece of candied orange rind recreates one of my (newly found) favourite drinks in a macaron form: The Old Fashion.
First we need to make the candied orange. (Adapted from Food Network.)
This part is actually quite simple, but I guess you don't NEED it for the whiskey macaron itself.
Candied Orange - What you need:
- 2 large oranges
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 1 1/2 cup water
Candied Orange - What you do:
Start off by cutting the bottom and top off of the orange. Without cutting into the orange itself, slice the rind into quarters, and then peel the orange.
Cut the peels into small strips.
In a small sauce pan, cover the orange rinds with water (just enough to cover the orange rinds completely is fine), and bring the mixture to a boil. Pour off the water, and repeat two more times with fresh, cold water. This step removes the bitterness of the orange rind.
Next, bring the sugar and 1 1/2 cups of water to a light simmer in a small saucepan. Whisk to combine the sugar and water, and then simmer this mixture on low for 8 to 10 minutes.
Next, add the orange rinds, and continue to simmer the mixture on low for 30 minutes. Don't stir the orange rinds, just let them hang out.
Drain the oranges from the syrup (that has formed in the cooking process), but make sure you save this syrup - we will use it later in the buttercream!
Set the oranges on a rack and allow them to cool for 4 to 5 hours.
Store in an airtight container until ready to use in the macarons.
Next: the whiskey macaron!
Whiskey macarons - what you need:
- 100 grams of aged egg whites (egg whites that have rested in a sealed container at room temperature for 24 hours)
- 50 grams of caster sugar
- 120 grams almond meal
- 220 grams confectioners sugar
- 2 teaspoons of whiskey
Whiskey macarons - what you do:
Start by drying out the almond meal in a pre-heated 100 celsius oven for 10 minutes.
Next, (optionally) pulse the almond meal and confectioner's sugar in a food processor until finely ground. Sift the almond meal and confectioner's sugar to remove any large lumps into a large bowl, and set aside.
In another large bowl, add the egg whites. Beat on high until foamy, then gradually add the caster sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. The egg whites are ready when you can tip the bowl upside down without the mixture sliding out of the bowl.
Add the two teaspoons of whiskey to the egg white mixture (also known as a meringue at this stage), and fold the whiskey in carefully two to three times.
Add the whiskey meringue mixture to the almond/confectioner's sugar. Carefully fold the two together. You don't want to over beat the macaron batter here - I count my stirs to make sure they are under 50.
Next, scoop the macaron batter into a pastry bag, and pipe out macaron circles on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Tap the baking sheet on the counter a few times to remove any air bubbles.
Allow the macarons to sit at room temperature for 1 hour before baking.
In the meantime, preheat the oven to 140 degrees celsius and prepare the buttercream (recipe below).
After the macarons have rested, and the oven is preheated to 140c, bake the macarons for 14 minutes. They should pop off the parchment paper easily after they have finished baking. If they stick, put them back in the oven for another minute or two.
Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.
Bitters buttercream - What you need:
- 100 grams butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon orange syrup (saved from making the candied orange rinds)
- 175 grams confectioner's sugar
- 1 tablespoon bitters
Bitters buttercream - What you do:
In a large bowl, beat the butter until soft and fluffy. Add the orange syrup, and continue to beat, while occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl, until the mixture is well combined.
In two additions, add the confectioner's sugar. Beat well.
Finally, add the bitters and beat the mixture together well until completely combined.
To construct the macaron, pipe a dollop of buttercream onto one macaron cookie. Press a piece of candied orange into the buttercream.
Add a touch more of buttercream on top of the orange, then top off with another macaron cookie and sandwich everything together.
These macarons are best when you allow them to chill overnight in the fridge (or even better: for 24 hours) so that the flavours can develop together.
Before eating, allow the macaron to rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.
This recipe makes around 20 to 22 macarons, depending on the size you choose. Eat them up within 2 to 3 days for the best freshness!