Sunday, April 8, 2012

Matcha Macarons 抹茶馬卡龍

It's been such a long time since I've made macarons that I almost forgot how to make them! I admit that I have a love/hate relationship with macarons. I love them because they are so attractive and delicious with all the different colors and yummy fillings. But at the same time they are such a pain to make. If the oven temperature is a bit high or they aren't dry enough, they may crack on top. If you bake them a minute less, you can't even remove them in a whole piece. If you didn't mix it right, the little "feet" may not come out. No wonder they fetch a premium price among bakery items and not too many bakeries have them on the menu. But at the same time, it is so rewarding and satisfying if they come out well!

This time I tried another way to make the shell. Instead of the French method, I used the Italian meringue way to whip the egg white which involves pouring 230F syrup while whipping the white. It helps to stablize the meringue.

Ingredients for about 28 shells/14 cookies:
50g egg whites
40g sugar
40ml water

60g almond flour, finely grounded
80g powdered sugar

1)  Sift almond flour and powdered sugar together and set aside.
2)  In a small pot, boil water and sugar until it reaches 230F. This may take a few minutes.
3)  While the syrup is boiling, whip the whites using a handheld mixer until soft peaks form.
4)  When the syrup reaches 230F, pour it slowly to the side of the mixer bowl while the mixer is on low.
5)  Keep the mixer on high until the meringue holds stiff peaks and is glossy.
6)  Fold the meringue into the almond sugar mixture until it falls into the bowl in a ribbon, or like lava.
7)  Fill the batter into a piping bag and pipe circles about 4 cm in diameter.
8)  Gently tap the bottom of the sheet pan to release bubbles. Use a toothpick to pop them if necessary.
9)  Leave them at room temperature until a skin is formed. It may take 30 minutes to an hour.
10)  Stack the sheet pan on top of another pan and bake at a preheated 300F oven for about 8 minutes.
11)  Remove the bottom pan and continue to bake for 10-15 minutes.
12)  Let them cool completely on a rack before removing from the pan.

Matcha Buttercream:
1 egg white
50g sugar
80g unsalted butter, softened
5g matcha powder, dissolved in a tablespoon of hot water and cooled

1)  Bring a pot of water to a boil and turn down the heat until it simmers.
2)  Slightly whisk the egg white with sugar in a bowl. Put the bowl on top of the simmering water, without it touching.
3)  Keep whisking the egg white until it reaches 100F. Remove the bowl from the pan and beat on high until it forms stiff peaks and not warm.
4)  With the mixer beating on high, add the softened butter a tablespoon at a time.
5)  Add the matcha and blend until it is smooth.

1)  Matcha powder can also be added to the almond sugar mixture to make the shells green as well.

2)  Macarons are supposed to be enjoyed after 24 hours so that they can mature or age. You can keep them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
3)  If you choose to grind your own almonds, do it with powdered sugar. The cornstarch in powdered sugar can prevent it from turning to a paste.

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