Today, I made the mother of macaroons. I was so happy, I made a whole family of macaroons. And then I ate them all. Well, I gave some to my friends, but I ate the rest.
And then I was going to say that the lesson learnt today was not to get born a macaroon but then I thought that this would be taking the metaphor too far, so I shall instead talk about why I love macaroons so much – move over cupcakes, this is where it’s AT.
Right now, I’m betting half of you are asking, what is a macaroon? Perfectly valid question; whenever I think macaroon I think raccoon, then I think panda, then I think mascara…and no matter what kind of word association we (or just me) are playing, a chocolate macaroon is definitely NOT an item of make up.
I don’t even know I how come up with these things.
So… a macaroon is a crisp on the outside, yet soft and chewy and yummy on the inside, and are made with ground almonds, egg white and sugar (and chocolate in this case too). Here I’ve sandwiched them with really easy to made and delicious chocolate ganache (chocolate truffle-y type things), from the recipe' ‘Micah’s Truffles’ from the Green and Black’s cookbook. I don’t know who this Micah is, but I want to meet her. And I want to be her friend.
I started by making the macaroons first, which was done with the standard multi-purpose saucepan:
I love this saucepan.
And then I whisked the egg whites in – wait for it – a REAL plastic mixing bowl, which I was then supposed to pipe the mixture onto baking sheets. But I didn’t have a piping bag, and I thought no way was I shelling out (…investing?) £12 and a bike ride into town to buy one, so I used the trusty spoon instead. See, it even rhymes with macaroon, it was obviously meant to be.
So in they went for 1 minute at 240˚C, then 12 minutes at 180˚C (I doubt that this is actually happened, as the dial on my oven is slightly broken, but hey ho, I don’t think anyone noticed :)
Then I started on the ganache. Well, um, after I ‘cleaned up'’ the mixing bowl…
And in case you’re wondering, ganache is French term referring to a smooth mixture of chopped chocolate and heavy cream. It sounds SO good, you CANNOT go wrong. And don’t worry about the calories, I used reduced fat cream, so it’s ALL OK. No worries about serving size and feeding small families, they keep in the fridge for ageeesss (though a bit worrying when you have so many sat in your fridge whilst writing an essay at 2am and desperately need sugar/caffine/a miracle).
So after I finished making them I spent about 2 hours taking photos, which I shan’t bore you with (except for a few). Well hey, I had 187 photos on my camera from this, if I had to suffer going through every single one to pick out the nice ones, so will you.
I am now about 90 recipes in, 10 recipes to go through my Green and Black’s cookbook; this makes me very happy indeed, maybe I should bake some more to celebrate…? ;-)
Lesson learned today: uh…. that macaroons aren’t mascara…? Yes, very important lesson, because if I didn’t know that there was always the off chance that I’d come into lectures with massive clumps of chocolate goo on my eyelashes. Obviously.
p.s. I’d like to say that no, chocolate truffles, Laurence (why is it always you? :P), aren’t the same thing as those mushroom truffles, and contain no mushroom truffles. Chocolate truffles also don’t need pigs to sniff them out, and if they did, I’d be seriously worried about the cooking skills of whoever made them.
from the Green & Black’s cookbook
Minimum 3 hours or overnight
275g (10oz) dark chocolate, minimum 60% cocoa solids, broken into pieces
250ml (9fl oz) double cream
50g (2oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
50g (2oz) cocoa powder
Place the chocolate in a large bowl. Bring the cream to the boil and pour it over the chocolate. Stir gently until the chocolate has melted, trying not to create bubbles. Leave to cool for 2 minutes, then add the butter in two stages and stir in gently. Once the butter is incorporated, the ganache should be smooth and glossy with no oil slick on the surface. Set the truffle mixture in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours or overnight.
Remove the ganache from the fridge about 15 minutes before you want to make the truffles, depending on room temperature. Put the cocoa into a bowl. Ensure your hands are cold and dry, then dust them with cocoa. Take spoonfuls of the ganache mixture (use a teaspoon or a tablespoon, depending on how large you like your truffles) and roll the mixture into a ball in your cocoa-dusted hands. Drop each shaped truffle into the bowl of cocoa, turn it around and then toss it between your palms to remove any excess powder. The truffles can then be returned to the fridge and kept for up to 2 days as long as they are stored in an airtight container.
HINT: These truffles can be eaten directly from the fridge or allowed to come to room temperature. The colder the truffle, the less dry and dusty the cocoa will seem when eating it.
TIP: Ganaches can "split" quite easily due to the high level of fat. The solution is to emulsify the mix in a food processor by giving it a few pulses until it comes together.