Monday, August 11, 2014

Macaron Monday: Orange Ginger Spice French Macarons with White Chocolate Ganache Filling

Sometimes I find the greatest edible treasures at TJMaxx. Sort of a joke, considering  I've traveled and traipsed all corners of the earth collecting foodstuffs. However, one trip to this American chain store at just the right time and my cart is piled high with oils, spices and mixes.

This one intrigued me. Anything with Ginger intrigues me. Upon sampling it when I got home, it was surprisingly more savory than I'd anticipated. I decided anyway to give it a go as a French macaron flavor. Because savory doesn't scare me and because I'm like that. Rebellious. In my life and in my kitchen.

To offset the savory spice mix, I made a white chocolate ganache to fill these babies. The super sweet ganache was the perfect complement to the spicy savory-ish shells which had a hint of orange and a slight sting of ginger.

Orange Ginger Spice French Macarons

with White Chocolate Ganache Filling

For the Orange Ginger Spice Shells:

Use a kitchen scale for precise measurements.

  • 90 grams of egg whites - aged at least 2 days. Let them sit out on the counter uncovered.
  • 25-50 grams extra fine white granulated sugar
  • 200 grams of powdered sugar
  • 110 Grams of almond flour*
  • 2 tablespoons Orange Ginger Spice Blend 
  • 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.

  • 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. 
  • Remove two tablespoons of the powdered sugar/almond mixture and discard. Replace with two tablespoons of the Orange Ginger Spice Blend. Pulse or whisk until combined thoroughly.
  • 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/spice blend mixture to the egg white mixture and fold, using quick strokes at first then slow down. 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.
  • Fill with White chocolate ganache.

For the White Chocolate Ganache:
(Very slightly adapted from Chocolate Ganache Recipe from  The Joy of Baking)

  • 4 ounces of white chocolate cut into small pieces (do not use white chocolate chips)
  • 6 tablespoons of heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter)
  • 1 teaspoon Cointreau or triple sec (optional)
  • Place the chopped chocolate into a heatproof bowl.
  • In a small saucepan, heat the milk and the butter, stirring to combine. 
  • When the mixture has come to a boil remove from heat and pour over the chopped chocolate.
  • Let sit for 2 minutes and then stir the mixture until smooth.
  • If desired, stir in the orange liqueur.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge until cooled completely.

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