Saturday, January 19, 2013

Violet Macarons and Cardamom Macarons with Buttercream and Coffee Macarons with Caramel fleur de sel

I went into macaron withdrawal for the past few months while away at a school which boasts an oven that has no window with which to keep an eye on your goodies and one out of four burners that mildly heats up your pot.

That is, I could barely make chocolate chip cookies there, let alone these persnickety little buggers. But complaints aside, I was extremely happy to get back into the swing of things and was pleased to learn that I have, and I don't want to jinx it, been able to consistently produce macarons with chewy, filled shells, intact tops and delicious little feet.

I know when to stop my macaronage and when to put them in the oven after growing their skins. I can even fix explosions or other less dramatic mishaps while they are baking, either reversing the process or at least distributing the calamity.

For Christmas, I received crystallized violet petals, which smell oddly enough like raisins. When crushed in my mortar and pestle however, the perfumey scent of violets arose.

Unfortunately, the flavor was a tad too subtle to compete with the almond flour, and the only reason you could taste a hint of violet was because I infused the buttercream with the remaining powder. I'm not giving up on violet macarons but am surprised that they don't have a more potent flavor.

I won't even give a full sentence to the cardamom macarons, but will move right along to my newest addition: Coffee shells with salted caramel. I ground about 1 tbs of coffee beans in my mortar and pestle and added this at the last minute to my egg whites. Don't forget the egg white powder!!

5 grams makes all the difference in your shell. You can see the shell recipe in my other macaron posts as well as on bravetart's blog. For the filling, I followed my caramel recipe from "Trials and Tribulations of Nika's Maiden Catering Voyage," except I scaled the recipe down by 1/4 and added 2 tbs of Maldon sea salt flakes.

I piped the salted caramel onto the cookies when they had cooled sufficiently and left them out of the refrigerator so that the caramel didn't harden too much.

Note, the caramel does drip a tad, so put some paper towels on your plate. The combination of coffee, caramel and sea salt was to die for and for a final touch, I sprinkled unsweetened cocoa powder on the shells, since I hadn't colored them. Enjoy!

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