It’s all about those elusive ‘feet’ again. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, yes, I’m talking about those ”macaron feet”. Although I’m not a very big fan of the macaron, eating wise ( find them too sweet), I just haven’t been able to lure myself away from the technicalities involved with it’s making. These dainty French desserts look really pretty. On first reading, one would not be able to imagine that such a simple recipe can cause so much heartache. If anything goes wrong, you might still get a sort of cookie, but not a ‘macaron’.
And where are those feet? They are those ruffles at the bottom of the macaron shells, and that is what makes a macaron what it is. Yes, it’s all about the “feet”. Those temperamental “feet” have made many weep before they agree to appear! And it’s not just that, once they appear, they will live with you forever! Oh no! They might avoid you the next time.
I made macarons for the first time a couple of months ago, for the Daring Bakers challenge for October. Touch wood, apart from one tiny mishap in my first attempt back in October, those feet have made their appearance again! Then, they were chocolate macarons, and this time they are sesame and cinamon macarons filled with a thick dark chocolate ganache.
When Deeba and Jamie asked if I would be a part of a mac attack, I said yes. Mac tweets is a whole blog dedicated to macarons. What was I thinking? Well, I got my macaron feet the last time around, will I be able to repeat that? That was probably what made me do it again, along with a host of other fellow bloggers.
As for the sesame and cinnamon macarons, the recipe follows.
1/2 C of white sesame seeds
3/4 C of icing sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 egg white( most of the macaron recipes called for aging the egg whites, but I did not do that; just used an egg white at room temperature)
a pinch of salt
2 tblsp of sugar ( I used raw cane sugar)
Topping- a few black sesame seeds
I do need to apologise for not having the exact measurements for the ganache recipe which I had used for the filling. I had eyeballed the ingredients and as I had made them nearly a month ago, I am not going to mislead you by giving vague measurements. But all I did was to mix some hot double cream to some finely chopped dark chocolate, left for a few seconds and whisked together till smooth; it was quite thick. And I do have a picture to show you though, so all is not lost yet!
- Pulse together the sesame seeds along with the icing sugar in a food processor. Do this in very short bursts, so as not to release much oil from the seeds. Sieve them several times till fine. Add the cinnamon and sieve a couple of times more.
- Line a baking tray with parchment and keep aside. If you want, you can draw circles of about 1.5 inches in diameter on the other side for more accurate sizes.
- Beat the egg white till it forms soft peaks. Add the granulated sugar and beat till it forms stiff peaks.
- In two to three batches, add the sugar-sesame-cinnamon mixture to the egg white and fold in. This stage , is tricky as too many or too few folds can ruin your macarons. I do it just till everything is folded in well, and there is no trace of egg whites. Also, place a little of the mixture on a plate – if the peak sinks back and the top flattens out, it’s ready.
- Transfer the mixture to a piping bag ( a plastic packet snipped at one end also works) and pipe out circles of 1.5 inches in diameter. Tap the tray gently to smoothen the top. Sprinkle a few black sesame seeds on top.
- Leave the tray at room temperature for at least an hour. Skins will begin to form on the body of the piped shells- they will not feel wet to the touch.
- Pre heat the oven at 170 deg C.
- Reduce the heat to 150 deg C. Place the tray at the centre of the pre heated oven and bake for about 10 minutes. Turn the tray around and bake for another five minutes.
- To remove the macarons from the parchment, I lifted them along with the parchment, cooled them on the rack for about 8 -10 minutes and peeled them off gently from the parchment.
- When the shells cool completely, place a dollop of filling on the bottom side of one of the macaron shells and gently press another on top.
I had racked my brains so much the first time, I made macarons; but this time, I was more relaxed and I thought of having fun with them.
Although I have said that I do find macarons too sweet, the saving grace here was the dark chocolate ganache- the bitterness of the dark chocolate ( I used one with 80% cocoa) balanced the sweetness of the shells to a great extent.
Last time , as it was my first macaron experience, I had noted some pointers for future reference. I am not repeating them again here as you can check them out in this post. They are towards the end- just a few things that helped me understand the intricacies of macaron making.
If you want to feed your ego a bit, try making macarons- the moment you get those ”feet” you’ll be on a high!!
Want one? Go ahead!
And then, nibble away!