Monday, January 27, 2014

Macarons Mondays: Jasmine Macarons with Candied Aloe Filling


PEOPLE!!! Powdered flavors are my new obsession. I am in love love with how easy they can amp up French Macarons without risking footless blobs as a result. Anyone who has made macarons knows that adding any kind of liquid to the batter can risk unbalancing the recipe and producing misshapen, cracked and/or footless shells. That's why most bakers use powdered colors and flavoring in the shells. I know professionals who don't risk flavoring the shells, just adding colored powder.




Anywho, finding powdered flavoring for sale on the interwebs was a divine revelation for me. Where have I been? I ordered a few flavors to start. Most of the flower flavors I received seemed to call out for Spring baking but this Jasmine flavor seemed the right way to start. It's just elegant for any season. You can find them in a google search and there are even varieties of natural powdered flavors available. 




The packages recommend using a 1/4 teaspoon per batter. If you don't want your French macarons to taste like perfume DO NOT double the measurement like I did.  Perfume-y or not, these were still show stoppers.




A special flavor deserves an unusual filling. The last time I was in Munich I picked up these candied aloe vera pieces at the Viktualianmarkt. So after the shells were done, I smeared a bit of vanilla buttercream on each shell and sandwiched a piece of the candied aloe vera between them.




The result was divine. My only regret was leaving the shells natural. During baking they discolored, tarnishing their elegance a bit. I should have tinted them pale yellow or pale blue.



Jasmine Macarons with Candied Aloe Filling

For the Jasmine French macaron shells:


Use a kitchen scale for precise measurements.

Ingredients:
  • 90 grams of egg whites - aged at least 2 days. Let them sit out on the counter uncovered.
  • 25-50 grams of fine granulated sugar
  • 200 grams of powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon  Jasmine flavor powder
  • 110 Grams of almond flour*
  • Pinch of cream of tarter
  • Pinch of salt
*You can buy almond flour that has been ground with or without the skin. I use the later (blanched). The former looks really nice if you are not coloring the shells. You can also grind your own almond flour by putting whole or sliced almonds in a food processor or blender. If you do, make sure you throw a little of the powdered sugar in to prevent the almonds from forming a paste.


Directions:
  • Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or use a silpat.
  • Sift the powdered sugar and almond flour together or pulse them together briefly in a food processor. Make sure there are no large pieces. 
  • Whip the egg whites. When they start to get foamy, slowly add the sugar. Continue whipping until you can turn the bowl upside down and nothing slides out. Add  the pinches of salt and cream of tartar.
  • Add the powdered sugar/almond mixture to the egg white mixture and fold, using quick strokes at first then slow down. Add the Jasmine flavor and some powdered food coloring if you like. The batter should have a "flowing like lava" consistency.  Make a peak of the batter and if it does not disappear after 5-7 seconds, keep folding. If it's running all over the place, you will probably have to start over. 
  • Place a pastry bag fitted with a round shaped tip in a tall water and and fold the edges down around the glass.
  • Fill the pastry bag with the macaron batter, twist the open top to secure and pipe circles onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or on a Silpat. 
  • Let the macarons dry for about a half hour or until they harden.
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  • Place the macarons on the middle rack in the oven. I keep the oven door propped open with a dish towel or wooden spoon.
  • I place another empty baking sheet on top to prevent the shells from becoming toasted and discolored.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes.
  • When checking them after 10 minutes or so,  if the ones in the back of the sheet seem to be cooking faster that the ones in front, flip the tray around.
  • To test to see if they are done, peel the baking paper or silpat back, if the shell comes off easily, they are done.
  • If you do have a problem with the shells sticking to the surface when removed from the oven, lift up the baking paper and pour a bit of water underneath. this will steam them off the paper.
  • Transfer to a baking rack and let cool completely before matching up the shells into pairs according to size and then fill.

For the candied aloe vanilla buttercream:



Ingredients:
  • 1 stick butter at room temperature
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup candied aloe pieces
Directions:
  • Place the butter, 2 cups of the powdered sugar and the milk in a mixer and cream together.
  • Mix in the vanilla extract.
  • Add the rest of the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until combined. If the mixture is too liquid, add more powdered sugar.
  • Fit a pastry bag with a large round tip and pipe some buttercream on a macaron shell.
  • Top with a piece of candied aloe and cover with another shell

3 comments:

  1. Candied Aloe as in the Aloe plant!? I would have never thought that such a thing existed let alone be edible. You are right, these are elegant looking and I bet they taste divine with the powedered jasmine.

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  2. So original! You sure make perfect macarons!

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  3. Beautiful flavour combination indeed! I need to find a powdered flavour source although I generally prefer to use the real thing rather than flavourings. Definitely helpful when picking these unusual flavours.

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