Sunday, 28 August 2011

Coconut almond macarons

I can take a hint; for as long as I can remember whenever I have mused out loud what to bake Mr CC has helpfully suggested, “macarons”.
Much as I love macarons – their crisp, light shells sandwiching rich delights – I have been a little wary of making them. They seem so….high maintenance….so needy.

I’ve read on many a website that macarons hate, of course, I end up baking them on one of the most humid weekends of the year. This isn’t as bad a tactic as it sounds – if they succeed I am a baking genius who can defy all the odds; if they fail it’s the stupid weather’s fault!

But, never let it be said I shy away from a challenge.
Armed with my new non-stick macaron mats from Squires I got to work.

I’m torn as to my favourite flavour macaron from Laduree; it’s either coconut or chestnut.
Sadly, both are seasonal flavours rather than all-year round, so for my first attempt at macarosn I opted for coconut. The fact that they were sandwiched with white rum white chocolate Ganache may have been a factor!

OK, so they’re maybe not as uniform or pretty as the lovelies that you see for sale at Laduree or Pierre Herme, but they’re not bad!
And they taste heavenly.

As is often the way with much in life, what you fear and dread most actually turns out fine.
I enjoyed making these and, while they’re not a quick bake, I think they’re worth the work. Oh yes, did I mention? In your face, weather!


For the macaron shells:

90g ground almonds
20g desiccated coconut
3 egg whites
55g caster sugar
½ teaspoon coconut extract
200g icing sugar, sifted

For the Ganache filling:

60ml single cream
150g white chocolate, chopped
2 teaspoons coconut liqueur – I used Malibu


Start by placing the ground almonds and desiccated coconut into a food processor and blitz until you have finely ground powder.

Tip into a bowl and put to one side.

Line two baking sheets with baking paper or macaron mats (see above).

Beat the egg whites until you have soft peaks.

Add the caster sugar and coconut extract and beat further until the sugar has dissolved (rub a small amount of the mix between your fingers – if you can feel grains it needs more beating).

Fold in half the icing sugar, ground almonds and coconut.

Fold in the rest of the icing sugar, ground almonds and coconut – it’s easier to do it in two lots.

Spoon the mixture into a piping bag, which has a round nozzle – about 2cm is ideal.

Pipe rounds approx 3cm across leaving a gap between them to allow for spreading. Don’t expect the mixture to be firm like buttercream; it’s firm enough to hold its shape but it will run out of the icing bag without you squeezing so work quickly and precisely.

Lightly tap the baking sheets on the work top to encourage the macarons to spread a little. At this point the macarons are sticky and, if you tap you finger on one, some of the mix will come away.

Leave to stand for 30-40 minutes. This is important as they need to develop a thin skin and their “foot”. If you tap the macaron again, you will feel the shell and nothing will stick to your finger.

Preheat the oven to 150˚C/fan oven 130˚C/300˚F/Gas mark 2.

Bake the macarons for approximately 25 minutes or until they have a firm-ish shell but aren’t brown. I gave them 15 minutes, then turned the trays and gave a further 10 minutes – they must be cooked otherwise they won’t lift cleanly off the baking sheet.

Leave to cool, on their trays, on a wire rack.

When cool, they can be stored in an airtight container. Only fill and sandwich them on the day of serving.

To make the Ganache filling: bring the cream to the boil over a low heat.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the chocolate.

Stir until melted and smooth.

Stir in the liqueur.

Pour into a bowl and refrigerate for approximately 20 minutes, or, until the Ganache is smooth enough to spread. I found that 10 minutes in the freezer got the ganache to a perfect spreadable consistency.

Sandwich the macarons using the Ganache.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have made.



Kezia said...

Wow, they look great. I have tried macarons but failed badly:(

Suelle said...

Beautiful! And a delicious combination of flavours too. Macarons are still on my 'to do' list, but I think of them as something one should only approach with a calm mind and plenty of time. I'm rarely in a state of having both!

Jo said...

Wow well done they look amazing, beautifully risen and uniform looking! Not that I ever doubted you! I didn't know that you could get macaron mats, clever invention. I think it'll still be some time before I take on macarons, I'm not brave enough! Although I've heard the Pink Whisk has a good step by step recipe.

Irishbaker said...

These look brilliant,especially if it's only your first time making them.They look very like the ones out of Laduree!

Hazel said...

Hahaha. What a great way of thinking and well done for going ahead with the challenge and doing well! I have never tried to make maracons before but you have definitely made me more interested in trying :)

Nom! The Indulgent Baking Blog said...

I only tried to make these once and were a total fail! I love the idea of the mat and these look gorgeous! X


The Cupcake Architect said...

Ooh they look yummy, and I am exceptionally jealous of your macaron mat!

Ayu said...

yummy yummy! I have to try your recipe... i tried to bake macaroons two times but i failed! :(

Helen @ Fuss Free Flavours said...

They look lovely! And I think I need one of those mats from Squires!

Anonymous said...

wow they look amazing! I have never tried them as they do seem fiendishly tricky.

Sumaiyyah said...

Wonderful! My baking superhero is an all-rounder! She can even make macarons :)

C said...

They look fabulous! What a way to break into macaron making! I'm still too nervous, and have the added disincentive (if that's a word) that I can't eat them anyway!

Macca Ron said...

Don't take this the wrong way, but is everyone who's commenting on how amazing these macarons look on crack?!?! For a first effort, fair enough... but they do look rubbish.

I can sympathize because I've just spent a month trying to master them myself and only recently feel I can produce consistent results.

Please, take absolutely no notice of the plaudits because these people know not of what they speak. When you get the hang of these little cookies you'll look back and laugh.

Great blog. Keep up the good work.

The Glamorous Gourmet said...

Bravo! These look beautiful and a magnificent first effort. I too am scared to death of making them but you have inspired me. My favorite flavor are the bergamot macarons from Laduree - they are the most beautiful greenish color! I love coconut too and look forward to trying your recipe - thanks for sharing your experience!

The Caked Crusader said...

Hi Macca Ron

Congratulations on cracking the macarons technique - do you have a blog so we can see your results and learn from you?

Happy baking

Anonymous said...

Might just be me, but does anyone else think Macca Ron has never baked anything in their life? Too dark and damp under the bridge...that's where trolls live, right?

Ignore the haters!


Rachael said...

If this is your first attempt, I am seriously impressed! I think you had me at ganache to be honest...

Macca Ron said...

Go ahead and listen to all these know-nothings about how wonderful your macarons look and I guarantee you'll never make a decent one. They're not actually all that difficult once you know how, but it took me about thirty attempts and five hundred shells before I felt I'd nailed it.

I'd happily put my macarons next to anyone here who's about to jump in with spite and indignation but I suspect they've never made a macaron in their lives. Don't you tire of endless blog commenters whose contribution only ever amounts to banal platitudes like "ooh, they look lovely"?

I'm unclear if you took umbrage at my comments and if, therefore, your request for further insight was sarcastic. If you did, and if it was, then that's unfortunate and somewhat unnecessary.

There's loads of macaron guidance out there, perhaps too much. However, I found a lot of useful information at:

Not So Humble Pie (in 4 parts)

Kitchen Musings (in 7 parts)

Syrup & Tang (in 4 parts)

I look forward to further posts about your macaron adventures. Good luck, and don't get carried away listening to the brainless idiots who bounce around the blogosphere blowing smoke up people's asses.

Kath said...

They are fantastic. I have the macaron fear, and don't think it will be so easily overcome. You have made me giggle with this post.

Kath said...

PS I just scrolled down the comments section and read them all and can I just say again how fantastic your macarons look.

trash said...

May I just say a) having made macarooons once never again. They were an abject failure. Or I was. I cannot decide and b) you are truly a baking superhero.

Choclette said...

Not bad? They look fantastic and I wold so love to get my teeth into one - you're obviously a baking genious ;-) That mat looks very posh, sounds like a good idea though.

Marmeladecat said...

They do look great, but for me looks are less important than taste, so often I have bought some perfect looking macarons only to be disappointed because not only were they were dry, crumbly and too sweet, but also tasted nothing like they were supposed to. I've made Nigella's pistachio version in HTBADG and they turned out fine. Some of mine were a little browner and flatter than they should have been (entirely my own fault)and a little hollow in the middle like yours but they tasted divine - the all too fleeting pleasure of devouring them fully outweighed the fiddly preparation and sticky icing-bag-filling business (one of my pet hates, going back to when I used to make eclairs with my mum in the 70s) because they were freshly made and that's what makes anything home-baked more superior to the shop-bought. I love your blog and look forward to catching up on it every week.

Anonymous said...

I'm not on crack(!) and I think your macarons look great. Maybe Macca Ron's do look better but I bet people are put off by the bitter after taste! LOL


Cooking Fanatastic said...

CC, You didn't need to make these to prove that you are a baking genius - we all knew that anyway! Not even going to attempt them but may make the blackberry curd cupcakes for the thrid time in a week!! I have told everyone I know about them including people I bump into in the street lol!

Maggie said...

I've never attempted macarons but can see how helpful the mat from Squires is for beginners about to enter into the world of trying to get the perfect macaron.
I'm pleased you put them on the blog CC - I've seen macarons in popular cookery books that don't look as magnificent as yours!

Baking Addict said...

These look amazing! I have yet to try macarons although 2011 is the year I am supposed to face this fear. I still have a few months left so there's hope yet. I love the macaron mat - perhaps buying that will help me overcome my fear!

BettyJ said...

Great first attempt at macarons! I haven't tried to make these yet. I've just bought myself a book on macarons.

Do you think you will do it again? Also, did the mats help at all?

The Caked Crusader said...

Hi Betty J

I will definitely be making these again - the taste and texture was heavenly and I was very proud of them.

The mats weren't as non-stick as I'd have liked although, initially, I think I may have undercooked the macarons. Where they were a godsend was for sizing and spacing.

I will use them again perhaps with the slightest smear of cake release to help the non stick!

Happy baking

Nicola said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nicola said...

They look great and I love the idea of coconut macarons. I didn't realise you could buy macaron mats! I haven't attempted them myself yet but one day I will :-)

Sarah-Jane - said...

your macarons look fab and I love your mat !

Gloria said...

WOW THese macarons look absolutely amazing! gloria

Miz Ratti said...

Forget Laduree, I'll put in my order with you, they just look amazing, bet they didn't last very long.

Cakelaw said...

All the hype is overrated - if they tasted good, who cares about all the other stuff. I'd definitely eat them!