15 September 2011

Vanilla Bean & Chocolate Macarons

I promised there'd be more macs...

This time, I decided to go back to basics.
No green tea, no chocolate, no oreos.
Plain macaron shells.  (OK, I couldn't resist adding some vanilla beans.)

My oven is a modest space-saving multi-function piece of kitchen equipment - a microwave cum convection oven cum grill.
The largest pan it will fit is a 12"x12" pan. And that's leaving the bare minimum 1" allowance from the oven walls.
I need a bigger oven...
And a dishwasher...
And a larger freezer and fridge...
A larger home with a larger kitchen :)

Why did I start talking about my oven?
Oh, right... I wanted to say... I think it's my oven that's causing these less than ideal mac results.

You see, my oven's heat source (and fan) is from the top. So my macs tend to brown pretty fast, while the bottoms are not quite done yet. See the brown edges on my macs?
Alan from travellingfoodies once commented that it's a miracle that my chiffons rise in my oven. LOL.

I'm still not happy with the macs I've got, despite some very encouraging "they look perfectly fine" words.
OK, so it's great that I finally got feet. But they seem kinda small. Like it should be a size 8 rather than the size 5 it is now.

Anyway, the one thing that I am rather pleased about is the smooth smooth texture of the shells. No rough bumpy surfaces, no nipples that won't settle. That much I'm pleased with.

BUT... WHY are they still so dome-shaped like a hamburger???!!!!

If any of you have had the same experience, and have solved the mystery, please please please share with me.

Makes about 15.

40g almond meal
60g icing sugar
30g egg whites, aged for almost 48 hours
1/4 tsp egg white powder (optional)
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
10g caster sugar

Blitz almond meal and icing sugar in a food processor till as fine as possible. 
Sift, and discard any remaining chinks in the sieve. 

In a separate mixing bowl, combine egg whites, egg white powder and cream of tartar.
Whisk till peaks are soft. 
Gradually add caster sugar, whisking till peaks are just stiff. 

Fold the almond/sugar mixture in 3-4 batches into the meringue. 
Stop folding when the mixture is glossy and flows like magma, and any peaks settle in 10 seconds. 

Pour mixture into a piping bag and pipe 3cm circles on a silicone mat or parchment paper. 
Rap the pan a few times so that the mixture settles into smooth circles.
Ignore the piped circles for 45-60 min, till the circles are matte and the skins are no longer tacky when touched. 

Bake at 140*C for 12-15 min till the feet no longer look wet.
Let the macs cool in the pan (to continue cooking and setting the base).
When cool, lift the macs off and you should almost not have to clean the mat/paper. 

Fill the macs with nutella or your favourite chocolate, melted with some butter or cream to get a spreadable consistency. 


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