I have not made macarons in YEARS!! So much so that the almond flour that I bought in bulk a year ago when it was on sale at bulk barn has gone stale and started smelling weird 🙁
I have been inspired to make macarons again this past weekend given I had spare time since I had no access to a car and was essentially house bound. I knew one of the items I’ve been struggling to succeed with is making macarons. They just never turn out right! They either look super flat because they spread too much, or they brown on top, or they stick to the tray and falls apart when I try to take them off. I made 3 batches this past weekend and only the last one was mildly successful. I decided to make matcha macarons since I had lots of matcha powder lying around and saves me from using food coloring
The results were meh. During my last batch, my shells did not spread so they kept their shape (thank goodness) but upon baking, I had a few burst on me and some were even lopsided.
Based on the several trials that I did, here’s what I learned based on the mistakes I made:
- It’s better to slightly undermix than overmix because once the batter is overmixed, it gets really runny and you can’t control it from flowing out of your piping bag and spreading everywhere.
- Stop folding the meringue into the mixture once you can start forming short ribbons with the batter that slowly sinks back in over time. It should look like thick goop and not have the consistency of runny cake batter.
- Pipe macarons perpendicular to the cookie sheet (90 degrees). In other words, the piping bag should be straight and not at an angle. This will ensure a more even shape when it rises.
- It’s better to bake the macarons at a lower temperature than at a higher temperature. Unless you really know your oven, try it on a slightly lower temperature setting. The recipe asks for 300F but realistically I should’ve done 275F because some of my macarons ended up bursting.
To this point, I have yet to master the macaron recipe but I feel like I’m getting closer. Mind you ingredients for macaron is not cheap – I bought a bunch of almond flour that’s probably only good for 2-3 batches and it ran me $15!! Luckily, although I did not achieve the perfect “Macaron shape”, at least the texture and taste was still good. It was slightly chewy and the shells weren’t hollow, yay!
So until next time… I have a bunch of macarons to give away now haha. See the recipe I used below – this is the Italian meringue method opposed to the French. Supposedly the Italian method tends to yield more consistent results so I may continue this route going forward.
Matcha Macaron with White Chocolate Ganache
Almond flour paste
180 grams almond flour, finely ground
180 grams powdered sugar
60 grams egg whites (about 2 large eggs), room temperature
1 teaspoon matcha powder
180 grams white granulated sugar
45 grams water
60 grams egg whites (about 2 large eggs), room temperature
White Chocolate Ganache
1 cup white chocolate wafers/chips
5 tbsp whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 300F. Make the almond flour paste by sifting together almond flour, icing sugar, and matcha powder. This ensures a smooth paste so the shells won't appear lumpy. Then, mix in the egg white until it is thoroughly combined. It will form a thick paste - kind of like dough like consistency. Cover with plastic wrap so it doesn't get dry.
Then, add water and sugar into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Do not stir! Allow it to come up to a boil and with a digital or candy thermometer, wait until it comes to 220F.
In the meantime, put the remaining egg whites in a clean, stainless steel bowl and prep it in the stand mixer. Once the sugar syrup reaches 220F, start whisking the egg whites until it is very foamy. When the syrup reaches 240F, turn the stand mixer to a slower speed and immediately take the sugar syrup off the heat and pour it into your egg whites. Once the syrup starts to hit the egg whites, you can crank the stand mixer to high speed and continue whisking until the sides of the bowl cools and the meringue reaches stiff peak. It should be smooth and glossy, kind of like shaving cream.
Take 1/3 of the meringue mixture and whisk it into the almond paste. Then, add in the remaining meringue mixture and fold to combine. Continue folding until there are no more dry lumps. When you life the spatula and you can form small ribbons with the batter and you see it sink right back in, it's ready. Do not overmix! Batter should not be runny but more like thick goop.
Put batter into a large piping bag with large round piping tip and pipe onto a parchment paper at 90 degrees from the baking sheet. In other words, pipe straight down and when you achieve the desired size, doing a quick flick to minimize the pointy tip of the cookie.
Once fully piped, allow to dry until a "skin" is formed. When the shells look matte, gently touch the shells and if they don't stick to your finger, it's ready to go in the oven.
Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the shells look hardened and firm to the touch. Allow to cool.
In the meantime, prepare the white chocolate ganache. Bring whipping cream and vanilla extra to a simmer and pour over the white chocolate wafers/chips. Stir continuously until all chocolate has been melted. Allow to cool so that it thickens to a piping consistency. You may put this in the fridge to speed up the process but don't forget about it or it will harden all the way!
Once ganache is ready, put it into a piping bag and pipe onto the macaron cookies. Squish and repeat until done. Store in an airtight container in the fridge to maximize freshness 🙂
Copyright Cooking with Team J
I remember the first time I saw melon pan on cookingwithdog (a japanese cooking channel on youtube), I thought this bread was melon flavoured. Surprisingly, it did not contain any melon at all. I believe it got its name based on the way it looks, similar to how chinese pineapple buns got its name.
I’ve always been curious to try them but was too lazy to make it. I got to try it when I went J-town (Japan town) but instead, I had the matcha version of it in the form of a turtle bread. I thought it looked so adorable that I wanted to try making it myself. A few years later, after a few online tutorials, I finally got around to making this turtle bread.
I actually had to make this recipe twice because I messed up the first time round. I also realized things I could’ve done better.
The first time I made this, I followed the instructions from cookingwithdog to a T. The problem was they used instant yeast in that recipe whereas I had active yeast. I soon learned that you have to activate the active yeast in water first before I could use it whereas with instant yeast, you could just mix it in with your dry ingredients right away. I also failed to dissolve the dry milk powder in warm liquid leaving my dough with a strange grainy texture.
When I made this the second time round, I activated the yeast in warm water. I also dissolved the dry milk powder in there as well to get rid of that grainy texture. The dough was much better the second time round.
After the dough has completed its first proof, I put on the turtle backs. I simply added some matcha powder to the cookie dough recipe to help give its signature green color. Though the original recipe said that I should keep it in the fridge so that it’s easier to handle, I found it easier for them to be a bit warm so that it’s more malleable.
I wrapped the cookie dough around the proofed dough and dipped the turtle shell in sugar.
After coating it with sugar, I scored the turtle shell with its signature diamond pattern using a pastry cutter.
I wasn’t always a fan of cream puffs. However, over the last couple of months, we’ve been frequently some of our favourite local cafe and bakery in our neighborhood and one of the pastries that has always seem to attract my attention were the ones made with a Pâte à Choux base. Whether it be cream puffs or eclairs, these desserts have inspired me to attempt to make them myself so that we can stop spending all our disposable income on these desserts XD
Thanks to my trusty Ladurée cook book that I bought last year, I had a point of reference to make my pastry cream. Being unsatisfied with their Pâte à Choux recipe, I decided to try another which turned out a lot better (the choux just had more flavour overall).
This dessert is actually not very hard to make though it can be time consuming as you have to dry the Pâte à Choux out in the oven, and then wait for your pastry cream to cool before you can actually use it. But once you have this base recipe down, you can actually adjust the pastry cream flavour to your liking. I went ahead and made a matcha variation of it that turned out quite well!
To view the full recipe, see below.