Ramadan is now far behind us, I know, but if you’re like us (we tend to stock up on dates, 7kgs worth), you might still have some left over. If you want to use up some dates or just want a datey (totally a word, right?) treat, try these!
These macarons are slightly different to the norm, brown sugar is used to make the meringue instead of the usual white sugar. The brown sugar gives a subtle taste difference as well as a slight creamy tinge.
Brown Sugar Macarons
40g egg white (1 egg white at room temperature)
56g almond meal
72g icing sugar
20g light brown sugar
Measure out your ingredients. Combine almond meal and icing sugar and grind till a fine powder. Whip egg whites till foamy, slowly stream in the brown sugar until egg whites are stiff and glossy. Sift almond meal and icing sugar mixture on top of egg whites and fold until just combined.
Pre heat oven to 150°c. Fill mixture into piping bag and pipe 3cm rounds onto baking paper lined trays. Let mixture sit for 15-30 minutes. Place in oven for 17 minutes (I found that the substitution of brown sugar required the macarons baking for a little longer then usual) or until tops don’t move when pushed with a finger.
Sticky Date Filling
1/2 cup pitted dates (I use medjool)
100g softened butter
3 tblsp cooled butterscotch sauce (recipe below, alternatively you could use 1/4 cup of brown sugar)
Pit dates and place in a bowl, fill with hot water until all the dates are immersed, leave to soak for 10 minutes. Cream butter till fluffy. Drain all excess water from the dates and process till smooth and pasty. Add date paste and butterscotch to butter, beat until combined. Fill a piping bag, ready to fill macarons.
1 tblsp dark brown sugar
1 tblsp butter
3 tblsp cream
Place sugar and butter on a medium heat on the stove. Mix till sugar dissolves. Add in cream and mix till combined, set aside to cool.
To assemble macarons, pipe sticky date filling into one macaron shell and sandwich with the other. Sticky, datey, yummy macarons!
It seems lately that macarons have shot into popularity with them being featured frequently on TV cooking shows like Masterchef & Zumbo. My first taste of a macaron was in Singapore with my husband. I had no idea what to expect, I bought a chocolate macaron. I bit into it’s crisp shell and soft, luscious inside just melted into my mouth with the creamy ganache filling. YUM!
I have been determined ever since to recreate these little treasures. After a lot of research, I realised it wasn’t going to be an easy task. Macarons are notorious for being temperamental and hard to master. That shattered my spirits a little but hey, why not give it a go. Well, I did, my first 3 attempts were complete failures. But I kept going. Plucked up the courage to try once more and finally achieved my first decent macaron. Pistachio!
Here’s my recipe (taken from various sources, cookbooks & websites)
Ingredients (this has to be precise and measured as accurately as possible)
35 g Egg whites (approx 1 egg white)
55g Pure icing sugar (pure icing sugar without any corn flour/starch)
45g Almond meal (blanched-skins removed)
30g castor sugar
This recipe makes about 10 macarons once sandwiched (20 halves)
Combine almond meal and icing sugar, grind until it becomes a fine powder. Sieve the almond meal and sugar mixture and discard any big bits, set aside. In a clean stainless steel or glass bowl, with an electric whisk, whick the egg whites until soft peaks form. Slowly drop in castor sugar until the egg whites are stiff and glossy. If using food colouring add it into the egg whites now and give it a quick whisk once more (a gel colouring is recommended). I used a little blue and yellow colouring to make a green shell, next time I think I’ll go darker. Sieve the almond and sugar mixture onto the egg whites and fold it in. Keep folding until the mixture is just incorporated into the egg whites. The mixture needs to be firm but loose enough that it settles back into itself if you make a line through the centre.
Line a tray with baking paper, then fill a piping bag with the mixture and pipe into 3cm rounds. Leave aside for 30 minutes to form a skin and pre-heat the oven to 150°C. The cooler weather in Australia at the moment is ideal for macarons, the humidity during summer can really affect the formation of a skin (Tip – You know the macaron is ready for the oven when you touch it with your finger and it does not stick)
Put it into the oven for 15 minutes. By definition a macaron must have that cracked, airy crease at the bottom (known as feet), you should see this after 5-10 minutes of baking. Let the macarons cool and remove them from the baking paper. If they’re having trouble lifting off, sprinkle some water under the paper. Set aside to cool, ideally leave the macarons for a day in the fridge in an airtight container. Fill macarons with buttercream or ganache filling. I filled my macarons with buttercream that I had added crushed roasted pistachios to.