It’s December! Which marks this month as my very first Christmas as a recipe/food/baking/WHATEVER blogger – all photography from here on in will feature GREEN, RED, CUTENESS, SPARKLES, BAUBLES, etc etc.
Tonight I’m off to an annual Christmas dinner with my old school friends. Traditionally we give each other small, cute gifts. Last year I made some sugar cookies and fudge however to celebrate this blogging landmark as a vaguely serious baker I figured it was time to step up my game.
At first I was dubious of baking with such a wintery flavour in (what should be) the beginning of Summer here in Sydney however thanks to much unprecedented and rain below-average temperatures I had no qualms whatsoever getting my gingerbread on. This recipe should make around 20-25 macarons, depending on the size.
(an original recipe)
100g egg whites, room temperature
100g almond meal
200g pure icing sugar
30g caster sugar
1 tsp powdered egg whites
1 heaped tsp ground ginger
White Chocolate Ginger Ganacahe
200g white couverture chocolate, chopped
100ml pouring cream
1/2 tsp cinnamon (plus extra for dusting)
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ground ginger
2-3 lumps of crystallised ginger (around 10g), finely chopped
1. Preheat your oven 150°C.
2. Sift pure icing sugar, almond meal and ground ginger and place into a bowl and give it a quick stir.
3. Beat eggwhites and eggwhite powder in a separate bowl until soft peaks form. Slowly add the caster sugar, beating well between each addition, until eggwhites are stiff and glossy. This process should take around 5-10 minutes.
4. Pour half of your dry ingredients and colouring (I used half brown half orange gel colour) into the bowl of beaten eggwhites and combine with a flat utensil, like a spatula, using “cutting strokes”. Once incorporated repeat with the remaining icing sugar and almond meal mixture. This is where things begin to get a little tricky as under-mixing or over-mixing will ruin your macarons as they attempt to rise and “grow feet” in the oven. Experts say to stir the mixture until it becomes the consistency of lava. The mixture will be sticky but you’ll know it’s ready when, upon holding your spatula above the bowl, it will begin just begin to flow freely back into the bowl. You’ll need to knock a lot of the air out of it.
5. Prepare a piping bag with the appropriate tip (around 1 cm or less), a baking tray with baking paper, and pipe small rounds (they must be small enough to balance on the cupcakes!). If there are any small lumps left from piping wet your finger and gently press them down (unlike cake batter, macaron mixture does not flatten out when in the oven). Dust some extra cinnamon over the shells and allow tray to rest for 30 minutes.
6. Place baking tray in the oven and allow to bake for around 15-20 minutes (this time will depend entirely on your oven, so keep an eye on them). Within 5 minutes or so they will begin to grow feet.
7. Once ready, remove from oven, and after 5 minutes transfer to cooling racks.
8. Whilst your shells are cooling place your cream in the microwave for 30 seconds or until relatively hot. Pour your chopped chocolate into the bowl and stir continuously until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is combined. Add cinnamon, ground cloves, ground ginger and finely chopped crystallised ginger and stir to combine. Place bowl into the refrigerator to cool and thicken.
9. Prepare another piping bag with a large tip and neatly pipe rounds of ganache into half of the shells. To close, gently place its partner shell on top of the ganache and twist shut, taking care to prevent ganache spilling over the edges.
As well as these macarons I’ve also bundled some of my berry and vanilla infused vodka in adorable little jam jars complete with mini baubles (a fluke discovery at Coles this morning!) – a cute reminder that a cocktail-fueled Summer is just around the corner… maybe.
Sugar and alcohol. Spice and berries. Here’s hoping they like my little edible trinkets!