Easter Egg Macarons


I saw Easter egg-shaped macarons at a local bakery, and really wanted to make some of my own. However, I haven’t had the greatest track record with macarons.


Stella over at the Brave Tart recently wrote a post about Macaron Myths. She demistified a lot of steps to the macaron process: aging the egg whites, bringing them to room temperature, drying the almond flour, adding cornstarch to the powdered sugar, baking on a humid day….Basically, the two most important steps to successful macarons were: beating the egg whites to the correct stiffness, and folding the mixture with the almond flour and powdered sugar to the correct consistency.


When all I had to worry about were these two steps, the recipe became much easier. I didn’t have to think too far ahead when it came time to making macarons. My success rate improved a little – up to about 65% compared to 35% – but the steps were way easier.


Whenever I make macarons, I always make a half-batch. Since I never know if the shells will co-operate, there’s less waste if there’s less batter to begin with. Since I use egg whites from a carton, they are easy to measure out. I also use a kitchen scale set to grams to measure out all the ingredients, to ensure the correct amounts.


The flavors I made were: pistachio, lavender, lemon, and tangerine. The yellow and orange ones were sacrifices to the Flat Macaron gods, which is why there are hardly any of them in the pictures. I had never baked with lavender before, and loved the delicate, floral flavor it gave the purple macarons. Decorating the shells was fun, although challenging with a toddler clinging to my legs.


adapted from Brave Tart

Easter Egg Macarons

Easter Egg Macarons

Ingredients

57 g almond flour
115 g powdered sugar*
72 g egg whites
12 g sugar
Large pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300° and have ready a large (18”) pastry bag, fitted with a plain tip, along with two sheet pans lined with parchment paper. Trace shapes onto parchment if desired.
  2. Process the almond flour and powdered sugar in a food processor for about a minute. Take out the mixture and sift it, reserving whatever bits don’t pass through the sieve. Add these bits back to the food processor and run the machine for another minute. Add this into the dry mix.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the egg whites, sugar, and salt and turn the mixer to medium (4 on a Kitchen Aid). Whip for 3 minutes. Increase the speed to medium-high (6 on a Kitchen Aid) and whip another 3 minutes, then crank the speed to 8 for go another 3 minutes.
  4. At that point, turn the mixer off and add in any extracts/flavor/color and whip for a final minute on the highest speed.
  5. At the end of this minute, you should have a very stiff, dry meringue. When you remove the whisk attachment, there will be a big clump of meringue in the center, just knock the whisk against the bowl to free it. Dump in the dry ingredients all at once and fold them in. Use both a folding motion (to incorporate the dry ingredients) and a pressing motion, to deflate the meringue against the side of the bowl. After about 25 folds the mixture will still have a quite lumpy and stiff texture. Another 15 strokes will see you to “just about right.” Keep in mind that macaronage is about deflating the whites, so don’t feel like you have to treat them oh-so-carefully.
  6. The macaron batter needs enough thickness that it will mound up on itself, but enough fluidity that after 20 seconds, it will melt back down. Transfer the batter to a piping bag. Pipe the batter into the pre-traced circles on the baking sheet. Stop piping just shy of the borders of the circle, as the batter will continue to spread just a bit.
  7. Bake for about 18 minutes, cool thoroughly, then peel the cooled macarons from the parchment, using a metal spatula if needed.
  8. For lavender macarons: add ¼ tsp dried, crushed lavender to the egg whites.
  9. For lemon or tangerine macarons: add 1 tsp desired zest to the egg whites.
  10. For pistachio macarons: use finely ground pistachios (skins removed) in place of the almond flour.
http://kokocooks.com/2011/04/easter-egg-macarons/

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Chocolate “Eggs” with Vanilla Bean Mousse and Mango Puree

I have a confession. I don’t like Cadbury Creme Eggs. I loved them as a kid, mostly because I loved the old commercials where the white bunny “bawked” like a chicken and magically “laid” a creme egg. As an adult, my sweet tooth has mellowed. I find the insides of creme eggs too sweet for my taste. Which is why I love this updated version – creamy but not too sweet.
 

The chocolate bowls were a ton of fun to make. I saw the idea on la prochaine fois by Cathy. She also gave some good hints on working with the balloons.


The directions are pretty easy: melt chocolate, cool to room temperature, dip balloons, set on parchment, let cool until set. To remove balloons, prick with a pin so the air slowly escapes, and peel the balloon from the chocolate.


I found the recipe for the mousse on Tartelette. This site is one of my favorite food blogs. I can’t decide which is more beautiful – her culinary creations or the photographs of them. Her recipe was a cardamom-infused mousse, which I skipped. It was delicious just the same. A simple puree of fresh mango added the “yolk” to the eggs.


Adapted from Vanilla Bean Cardamom Mousse
By Tartelette

Chocolate “Eggs” with Vanilla Bean Mousse and Mango Puree

Chocolate “Eggs” with Vanilla Bean Mousse and Mango Puree

Ingredients

3 egg yolks
Pinch of salt
1 ½ tsp powdered gelatin
¼ c cold water, divided
½ c sugar
½ vanilla bean, split open and seeded
1 c heavy cream

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the egg yolks and the salt. In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 2 Tbs of water, and let sit.
  2. Meanwhiler, combine the sugar and remaing 2 Tbs of water in a heavy saucepan. Cover and bring to a rapid boil over medium high heat. Once boiling, uncover and cook until the mixture reaches 238 degrees F.
  3. Strain the pods and seeds in a container with a spout; it will be easier to add to the yolks. Pour the syrup slowly and in a steady stream into the egg yolks with the machine running on medium high. Melt the gelatin in the microwave for 10 seconds or until dissolved. Add it to the yolk mixture along with the seeds from the vanilla bean. Continue to whisk on medium high until it triples in volume and cools to room temperature.
  4. In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream to soft peaks. Add it to the mousse base and fold the two gently together. Let chill for at least 1 hour.
  5. To assemble the eggs: Puree the flesh of 1 ripe mango in a food processor until smooth. Spoon the mousse into a piping bag. Fill the chocolate cups, and spoon a dollop of mango into the center.
http://kokocooks.com/2010/04/chocolate-eggs-with-vanilla-bean-mousse-and-mango-puree/

 

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