Matcha Green Tea Macarons

I love green tea, and I love macarons. It was a no-brainer putting the two together.

green tea macarons

Generally, I prefer flavors that help cut the inherent sweetness in macarons. I like dark chocolate because of its slight bitterness and lemon because of its acidity. Green tea, like dark chocolate or coffee, provides that slight bitterness that cuts through the sweetness. I used a white chocolate ganache base, with an adzuki bean (otherwise just known as red beans) center filling. If you head over to some asian bakeries or grocery stores, you’ll often find that green tea and red beans are often paired with each other. That’s because they’re a match made in heaven. I tested this out with the macarons, and the concept absolutely holds true.

green tea macarons

The ratios for the filling for this macaron is quite flexible and up to you. If you prefer a light green tea flavor, add less matcha powder into the ganache. If you dislike red beans, feel free to omit them. The amount also depends on you. If you make just one batch, you won’t really need a lot and if you make your own red beans, you’ll most likely have a bit left over. There are plenty of other delicious ways to eat them. But if you want to save time and don’t want to deal with the leftovers, you can find them in stores.

green tea macarons with red bean

Matcha Green Tea Macarons

50 g sifted almond meal

50 g sifted powdered sugar

40 g egg whites (around 1 egg), room temperature

40 g granulated sugar

5 g matcha green tea powder, sifted (+ a little extra to sprinkle on top)

preheat oven to 325 F

1/ Sift the almond meal, powdered sugar, and green tea powder together into a medium sized bowl

2/ With a Kitchenaid mixer or a handheld mixer, start beating the egg whites with the whisk attachment. Once large bubbles start to form, slowly pour in the granulated sugar

3/ Beat the egg white until their glossy with medium peaks

4/ Using a spatula, fold 1/3 of the meringue into the almond mixture. Continue 1/3 at a time until it’s all mixed in.

5/ Gently folding the macaronage, continue until the mixture forms ribbons and takes around 20 seconds for the ribbons to sink back into the mixture. Click here for a detailed description on how to make macaron shells. 

6/ Pipe the macarons onto a parchment/silpat lined baking sheet. (My temperature here varies from my original recipe, due to the fact that I moved and now my new oven is hotter than my old one. You can make adjustments according to your own oven.)

7/  Let the macarons rest until a skin forms on top. If you want, sprinkle some extra matcha powder on top. Slip an empty pan into the oven a rack below the macarons for a double pan, and bake the macarons for 4-5 minutes (or until the feet just begin to form). Turn the pan around, turn the temperature down to 300 F, and bake for another 8-10 minutes. The macarons will be done once the macarons no longer move when gently nudged. It’s safer to be on the well done side, as once you add the filling, the texture will correct itself.

green tea macarons with red bean

Filling

50 g white chocolate (preferably valrhona)

50 g heavy cream

1 tablespoon matcha green tea powder (this amount is up to you)

1/4 cup adzuki beans/red beans

water

sugar to taste

1/ Pour the beans into a small pot, and add enough water so that it just covers the beans. If the water gets cooked off later, you can add more. Bring the water to a boil, and then keep on cooking it at medium heat. Cook until the beans are tender. They should be a little mashed up but still somewhat hold their shape. Add however much sugar you see fit (I’ve never measured how much I added). Let the water cook off (if the mixture is too wet, it’ll soak the macaron shell) and let it cool.

2/ Melt the white chocolate over a double broiler.

3/ Heat the heavy cream until it’s almost boiling. Pour a little into the green tea, and mix until it forms a paste. Stir in the rest of the heavy cream

4/ Add the heavy cream to the white chocolate and stir. Let it cool until the ganache thickens up to a pipable thickness

5/ Pipe the white chocolate in a circle on one macaron shell leaving the center empty (if you’re using the red beans). Add the other shell, and you’re done!

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Pierre Herme’s Ispahan Macarons

I’ve always read about how amazing Pierre Herme’s ispahan macarons are, but unfortunately, I never got to try any when I visited one of his boutiques in Paris. The ispahan macaron is a mix of rose cream, lychee, and fresh raspberries sandwiched between two macaron shells. I can’t comment on how close these macarons taste compared to the real deal, but I thought the tartness from the raspberries balanced very nicely with the sweetness of the cream and macaron shells.

Besides what they taste like, the macarons look fabulous. Even though the macarons look impressive, they are actually quite easy to make, which is a win-win situation for everybody!

It took me a while to figure out the recipe I wanted to use. I’ve seen multiple versions all over the place, and the differences are mostly in the rose cream. I found this one published by Le Figaro, and there was a video accompanying the recipe showing someone from Pierre Herme making it. That one consisted of a Italian meringue buttercream mixed with creme d’anglais. Another version consisted of a whipped white chocolate ganache. I made a batch of both, and found that I preferred the latter since it tasted lighter and I prefer the taste of whipped cream over butter. The first option would probably last longer, but I only made a small batch, so that wasn’t a concern for me. The whipped cream was also much easier to make, and used up a lot less time.

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Ispahan Macarons

makes 7 macarons

100 g almond powder

100 g powdered sugar

80 g room temperature egg whites (~2 egg whites)

80 g white sugar

3 drops red food coloring

Follow the instructions here for how to make the macaron shells. The ingredients listed above are the double the amount in the instructions, since these macaron shells are much larger (7 cm in diameter to be exact). Add the food coloring when beating the egg whites. Also, disregard the template given as you want to pipe 7 cm diameter circles instead. I also found that I had to bake the shells for a few minutes longer (I baked them for 18 minutes). The batter may not fit into one baking pan, depending on how strategic you are with your piping.

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Rose Cream

3-4 canned lychees, sliced, drained and patted dry

~12 ounces fresh raspberries

50 g white chocolate, preferably Valrhona

100 g heavy cream (separated into 50g/50g)

1 teaspoon rose syrup

1. Chop the white chocolate into fine pieces and place into a medium bowl.

2. In a saucepan, heat up 50 g of the heavy cream until it’s almost boiling.

3. Pour the heavy cream over the chocolate. Lit it sit for 30 seconds, before stirring from the inside out. Continue until a smooth ganache is formed. Add the rose syrup, mix well, and let it cool to room temperature.

consistency of the rose chocolate ganache

consistency of the rose chocolate ganache

4. In a separate bowl, start beating the other 50 g of heavy cream. Once the heavy cream reaches the same consistency as the ganache, slowly start pouring in the ganache while beating the heavy cream. Once all the ganache has been added, continue beating until the cream starts to thicken. Be careful not to over beat. The mixture should not hold a shape yet, but don’t worry, because the white chocolate will help it solidify in the refrigerator.

5. Cover the cream, and let it refrigerate for 1-2 hours (or if you can stick it in the freezer for 15-20 hours for a faster option).

6. If you’ve washed your raspberries first, make sure the raspberries are completely dry, as even a little bit of moisture can make your macaron shells too soggy.

7. Pipe some of the cream onto the middle of a macaron. Place a ring of raspberries around it. Add some lychee pieces on the cream, and pipe some more cream on top so that it reaches the same height as the raspberries. Place second shell on top, and if you would like, serve with a raspberry and/or rose petal on top.

8. Refrigerate at least overnight before serving.

La Maison du Chocolat’s Chocolate Truffles

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I think there’s something about the month of December that makes chocolate even better than it normally is, which is indeed a very difficult feat. Maybe it’s the chocolate advent calendars? I have yet to get one but I need one so badly it’s not even funny. In the meantime, I guess I’ll just have to eat a truffle a day to make do… I’m definitely not complaining.

It’s easier to make this in larger amounts, but that often isn’t practical. Using high quality chocolate and cocoa powder is also incredibly important. There aren’t many ingredients so use the best if possible. I used both Valrhona chocolate and cocoa powder and I think it turned out great. Obviously, it didn’t compare to the real deal, but it was definitely much better than your average truffle.

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Also, using surgical gloves makes this messy process a lot easier. It’s easier to shape and dip the truffles without covering yourself in chocolate. Chocolate is for eating – not for covering yourself with.

Plain Truffles (Adapted from La Maison du Chocolat by Robert Linxe)

1 pound bittersweet chocolate (I used 61% Valrhona)

1 cup heavy cream

1 vanilla bean (optional)

For the coating

12 ounces bittersweet chocolate

1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Valrhona 100%)

1. Place the chocolate on a chopping block and chop finely with a knife. Put in a heatproof mixing bowl. Set aside.

2. Pour heavy cream into a saucepan and set aside. With a small knife, split the vanilla bean lengthwise down the middle and scrape out the little black seeds. Place the vanilla seeds and bean in the cream, then bring to a boil. As soon as the cream boils, remove from heat, wait 20 seconds, stir, then pour through a strainer into the chopped chocolate. Remove vanilla bean.

3. Let stand for a few seconds. Whisk to combine in a circular motion, starting from the middle and working out. Whisk gently and stop as soon as the mixture is blended.

4. Set aside to cool (do not refrigerate). As soon as the truffle mixture is firm, use an ice cream scoop to scoop out walnut sized balls. Using the gloves, roll them out to a round ball. Refrigerate the truffles again.

5. Meanwhile, prepare the coating. Break the chocolate into pieces and melt over a double boiler. Even though the book did not state to temper the chocolate, I did so and thought the results were great. I followed the instructions here.

6. Remove the chocolate balls from the fridge. Using a fork, drop a ball into the melted chocolate. Coat it (try to keep this as thin as possible) then drop it into a bowl of cocoa. Instead of using another fork to roll the truffle around, try spinning the truffle around in the bowl by shaking the bowl itself. For me, the surface turned out much better when I did it this way.

7. Set aside to harden and repeat. Shake off the excess cocoa powder.

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La Maison du Chocolat’s Glace au Chocolat (Chocolate Ice Cream)

When I first visited one of the La Maison du Chocolat locations in Paris, I naturally went straight for their chocolate, as the name suggests. I almost skipped past their ice cream selection at the front of the store, but thank goodness I didn’t because that would have been devastating. Served in a terrific waffle cone, the chocolate ice cream was as good as, if not better than, the chocolate. Maybe I thought so because it was burning hot that day and I was dying for something cold, but I almost went back and got another just so I could have one in both hands at the same time. Yes, it was that good.

As I flipped through the La Maison du Chocolat cookbook, I saw a  recipe for chocolate ice cream, so obviously that was where I started. Obviously. Sadly, I don’t have an ice cream maker at home and was a little hesitant to butcher the recipe, knowing how horribly homemade ice creams made without a machine can turn out – rock hard and icy. However, this was not the case whatsoever. It’s consistency straight out of the freezer resembled that of Haagen-Dazs and the chocolate flavor was phenomenal. One bite  took me straight back to Paris. It was awesome.

Glace au Chocolat (Chocolate Ice Cream) by Robert Linxe/La Maison du Chocolat

Makes 2 quarts

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I used Valrhona 61%)

4 cups whole milk

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3/4 cup granulated sugar

7 egg yolks

1 whole egg

3/4 cup heavy cream

1. Finely chop the chocolate and set aside.

2. In a saucepan, combine the milk, cocoa powder, and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Stir to blend, then warm over low heat.

3. Meanwhile, combine the egg yolks, whole egg, and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a mixing bowl. Beat until frothy and lemon-colored.

4. Pour a little bit of hot chocolate milk onto the egg mixture and stir well. Transfer the milk-egg mixture back to the saucepan of milk and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until thick enough to coat the back of the spoon; do not boil.

5. Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped chocolate until completely melted. Stir in the heavy cream.

6. Set aside to cool, stirring occasionally. Freeze in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions. If, like me, you do not own an ice cream machine, place bowl into the freezer, and vigorously stir every 30 minutes. Repeat this 4-5 times. You want to break up the frozen parts near the edges of the bowl each time to prevent ice from forming. Don’t hesitate to put some muscle behind it, because you’re going to want to. After you’ve mixed it evenly the fifth time, the ice cream should have reached the consistency of soft serve. At this point, just leave it in the freezer.

To serve at just the right consistency, move the ice cream to the refrigerator 1/2 hour before serving.

Giving Macarons as Gifts

Whoever said senior year was awesome completely lied. I’ve been unfortunately forced to neglect updating, thanks to the plethora of work. However, since it’s Thanksgiving and I owe my teachers some gifts for writing my letters of recommendation, I decided to make macarons with my newly found time. Macarons look and taste great, are expensive to buy, and stand out from the sea of brownies and chocolate chip cookies. Since I have a slightly unhealthy obsession with macarons, these were just excuses to dedicating an entire long weekend to making batches upon batches of macarons.

I decided to make four different flavors: dark chocolate, rose, lemon, and pumpkin. I tried to choose a variety of flavors that would satisfy most people, and from the reactions they received, I think I succeeded. Generally, chocolate and lemon are safe flavors to go with, while rose and pumpkin are slightly more risky. With it being Thanksgiving, I thought it appropriate to go with pumpkin; and I went with rose just for fun.

Packaging the macarons was tricky. I went to Michael’s thinking they would have a huge selection of gift boxes, but I ended up finding tons of the patterned take-out containers and not much else. No, giving macarons in a faux take-out box would not do. However, I did end up finding a section with numerous white food containers of various sizes. I had no idea whether the boxes would be the perfect size, because if the macarons were too loose, they would just roll around in the box, effectively ruining the presentation, and if they were squeezed too tightly together, the macarons would just crack and break – not good either. Luckily, the macarons fit perfectly in 4 rows of six. I finished packaging these at around midnight, and did not get an actual picture of the final product (below is a re-creation from miscellaneous macarons I had left over). After placing the macarons into the box (with a side of chocolate truffles), I tied it up with 2 differently colored ribbons with a bow on top. In the card, I glued a gift label on the blank side describing the flavors and fillings of the macarons. Placing all this in a white gift bag, I glued another gift label to the front, indicating to whom the the gift is for. The stuffing, ribbon, and gift label gives color to the otherwise plain white box and bag.

 

Here is the basic recipe for how to make macarons. The different flavor/filling variations are posted below.

Dark Chocolate Macarons

– 95 g of almond/powdered sugar mixture

– 5 g cocoa powder

– 40 g room-temperature egg whites (from 1 large egg)

– 40 g sugar

Follow instructions from previous link, adding the cocoa powder to the almond/powdered sugar mixture.

Dark Chocolate Ganache

1/4 pound bittersweet chocolate (I used Valrhona 61%)

1/4 cup heavy cream

1. Chop chocolate and place into a bowl. (Every time I used a certain stainless steel mixing bowl, the chocolate would seize, but would never do so in a glass bowl.)

2. In a saucepan, heat the heavy cream until it’s almost boiling (80 C). Pour the heavy cream into the chocolate and let it sit for 30 seconds.

3. Using a whisk, stir (not beat) until the chocolate mixture is smooth and shiny.

4. Place plastic wrap directly onto the surface so that no skin forms, and let chocolate cool at room temperature (or in the fridge) until the consistency is thick enough to pipe.

When piping the ganache onto the macarons, pipe the outer edge first before filling in the middle. That way, the filling looks round and smooth. Chill macarons over night before eating.

Lemon Macarons

For the macaron shells, follow the basic macaron recipe, except add three drops of yellow food coloring into the meringue. I add it after all the sugar has been added and the meringue is at the soft peak stage.

Lemon Cream Filling (Adapted from Pierre Herme’s Macarons)

50 g lemon juice

60 g sugar

1 egg yolk

30 g room temperature butter, cut into chunks

2 g gelatin

1. Cream the egg yolk and sugar together until pale and thick.

2. Mix lemon juice and mixture in a saucepan, and on low heat, stir until it bubbles and thickens. Remove from heat.

2. Dissolve the gelatin in a little bit of water. Add it to the lemon mixture.

3. Once mixture falls to around 45 C, stir in the butter, until it disappears.

4. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface, and cool 2-3 hours in a fridge.

5. Once it’s consistency is thick enough, pipe onto the macaron shells in the same manner as the chocolate ganache (edge then center).

6. Refrigerate this immediately (otherwise, the macaron shells will absorb all the moisture and soften them). Eat the day after.

Pumpkin Macarons

Follow the basic macaron recipe, but add 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice powder into the almond/sugar mixture. Add orange coloring to the meringue.

Pumpkin Buttercream

4 tablespoons very soft butter

1/4 cup powdered sugar (more if you prefer your buttercream to be sweeter)

2 tablespoons pumpkin puree

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon heavy cream

1. In a mixer using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until smooth.

2. Mix the pumpkin puree, spice, and heavy cream together.

3. Slowly beat in the pumpkin puree mixture into the butter. Once incorporated, beat on high until smooth.

This can be used immediately. Fill macaron shells and refrigerate overnight before eating.

Rose Macarons

Follow basic macaron recipe, adding pink coloring to the meringue.

Rose Buttercream (Adapted from Pierre Herme’s Macarons)

6 tablespoons very soft butter

1 egg

1 egg yolk

50 g caster sugar (around 4 tablespoons)

15 g water (around 1 tablespoon)

1 tablespoon rose syrup

1. In a mixer, beat the egg and egg yolk together until pale and frothy.

2. In a saucepan, heat the sugar and water until 118C.

3. With the mixer on low, slowly pour in the sugar by the side of the bowl. Bring the speed up for a little to completely mix.

4. Cream the butter in another bowl (or remove the egg mixture first then, then cream butter in the same bowl). Beat in the egg mixture little by little.

5. Once the egg is fully incorporated into the butter, mix in the rose syrup at the end. Pipe immediately. Yep, you know the drill – refrigerate  overnight before eating!

Feel free to double any of these amounts.