Macarons are by far my favourite dessert to bake and eat. When done well they are light and this the right filling they are so full of flavour. They may be small but they are so decadent it is hard not to fall in love with these little French delights. Now these have gone up a level in our house and become marbled macarons.
A Few Questions
Firstly I would like to clear a few things up… Is it ‘macaron’ or ‘macaroon’? Well, in my humble* opinion it is macaron. A macaroon is a small coconut biscuit that is delicious and crumbly in texture. The little dessert I am referring to is an almond meringue sandwiched together with a flavoured filling including buttercream and ganache. It is a French invention and the word originates from the Italian ‘macarone’ which means meringue. In recent years people have adopted the French spelling to reduce confusion between the two items. So quite simply it is ‘macaron’ when discussing the almond meringue French dessert.
*My opinion is anything but humble, but usually well researched at least 😉
Secondly, should it be made using the French or Italian method? For the first time in my life** I am sitting on the fence, I am undecided. I believe it should be made using the French method because it is a French dessert. However this method is by far the hardest to master and the most likely to go wrong. I spent a long time practicing getting the perfect macaron using this method and I have succeeded. Despite this I still prefer the Italian method. I am sure there are French pâtissiers rolling in their graves at the mere thought of that phrase. The fact is the mixture is easier to work with and gives more consistent results. You are more likely to get a smooth shell and the ‘feet’ that give a macaron its distinctive appearance.
French Method Macarons
The French method making macarons is very simple. You make a french meringue by whisking egg whites and slowly adding sugar until stiff peaks form. To this you add a sifted almond and icing sugar mix with any colouring or flavouring required. This mixture is combined until it is smooth and falls from the spatula like a ribbon and not in clumps. As simple as this sounds it can go very wrong very quickly because it takes less mixing to thin to a ribbon consistency than the Italian counterpart. Over mixed and under mixed batter will make poor macarons. The tops can crack, feet become fluffy and lumpy rather than aerated and tall. All it takes to get this one wrong is one to many stirs of your final mix or two minutes too long when resting.
Italian Method Macarons
Like the French method it refers to the technique used to make the meringue. I have included a recipe for this one below so I won’t go into huge detail just yet. This method is much easier to mix and takes more mixing to form a ribbon consistency so it is harder to over mix. Not impossible though so you still need to be paying attention. In short they can go wrong and they still take skill but they are much more likely to go right using the Italian method than using the French method.
Now I won’t tell a lie. I can always be found pinning away on Pinterest just before bed. The inspiration for these marbled macarons came from a few pins I saw one night whilst browsing. I am a strong believer in giving credit where it is due however despite quite a lot of digging I can not for the life of me find the original post on how to make them. Whoever you are I felt extremely inspired so my sincere apologies that I can’t give you full credit .
I made chocolate raspberry marbled macarons in celebration of Valentines Day. Despite the fact I don’t like Valentines Day I do enjoy any excuse to pair chocolate with raspberry.
Marbled Macarons – Chocolate and Raspberry Marbled Macarons
1 hour, 30 minutes
1 hour, 30 minutes
Although this takes a bit of time all together it is possible to make all the elements individually and in advance. The jelly can be made the week before. Ganache keeps for a week in the fridge and can be remelted to a piping consistency. Royal icing will keep for 1 month in an airtight container at room temperature, but personally I wouldn't add the water if I wasn't using it immediately. Macaron shells can be frozen for up to a month and keep in the fridge for a week perfectly well.
Plus, lets be honest, the final result is so worth the effort.
Italian Method Macarons:
180g Caster Sugar
180g Icing Sugar
180g Ground Almonds
120g Egg Whites (about 3-5 eggs size dependant. I use large eggs)
Gel Food Colour
For the Raspberry Jelly:
100g Raspberries (frozen are fine)
50g Caster Sugar
1 1/2 Leaves of Gelatin
For the Ganache:
100g Dark Chocolate Drops
50g Double Cream
For the Royal Icing
2 Egg Whites (or 5g of meringue powder with 25mls of water)
170g Icing Sugar
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius.
In a blender mix the icing sugar and ground almonds to grind down further.
Sieve this mix into a bowl at least once removing any larger grains that don't sieve.
Put the 180g caster sugar in a saucepan and cover with the water. Do not mix or stir just leave the sugar to soak into the water.
Place a thermometer in the sugar and heat until it reaches 115 degrees Celsius.
Put 60g of egg whites in a mixer or bowl with a handheld whisk and start whisking on a medium speed to make it light and frothy when the syrup reaches 100 degrees C. This will ensure the eggs are ready when the syrup is up to temperature.
Once the syrup is hot enough turn the whisk down to a slow speed and very slowly pour in the syrup to the egg whites. Be careful not to let it splash and there is also a risk the sugar will cool and solidify on the side of the bowl.
Once all the sugar syrup is combined turn the speed of the whisk back up to a high speed. Whisk until a meringue forms. The white peaks should be stiff and glossy and when you turn the bowl upside down the mixture won't fall out.
Whilst the meringue is being whisked make a paste using the sugar and almond mix and the remaining egg whites.
Add a spoonful of meringue to the paste and mix in. Then add the rest and the gel colour you are using and combine. You won't need too much colour as the gels are strong but bare in mind the colour will lighten as they cook so go a couple of shades darker than you actually want.
The mixing technique is key, you want to combine all the ingredients whilst removing any air pockets so try not to 'fold' it together.
Keep mixing until the mixture thins to a ribbon consistency. This means that when you lift up the spatula it should fall off in a continuous 'ribbon' and not in dollops.
Put the mixture into a piping bag, cut of the bottom of the bag and pipe into circles on a tray with greaseproof paper or a silicon mat.
Lift the trays into the air and bang them on the side. Don't be shy you want to bring any air bubbles to the top.
With a scribing tool or tooth pick remove any air bubbles that come to the surface. If you miss any these will expand whilst baking and crack the top of the shell. It isn't the end of the world but they won't look as pretty.
Leave the macarons to rest and air dry for 30-60 minutes this will depend on warm or humid it is when you make them. When touched lightly they should no longer be sticky.
Bake for 10-15 minutes. To check they are done place a finger on the centre of one, when they no longer wobble under gentle pressure they're good to go.
Remove from the oven and leave too cool. If using greaseproof they will come off very quickly. If using a silicon mat they often require a little more cooling before they can be easily removed.
For the Jelly:
Soak the gelatine in some water until soft and flexible. Usually 10 minutes.
Heat the sugar and raspberries in a saucepan until the raspberries have completely broken down.
Strain the raspberries to remove and seeds and skim off any froth.
Squeeze out any excess water from the gelatine leaves and add to the strained raspberries.
Mix until completely dissolved.
Pour onto a tray lined with clingfilm so once cooled it will be a sheet of jelly.
For the Ganache:
Place the chocolate drops into a heat proof bowl.
Heat the cream in a pan until bubbling all over, not just the edges but the centre as well.
Pour the cream onto the chocolate and stir until it is all melted and combined.
Leave this to cool slightly.
As it cools it will thicken and stiffen ready for piping. It is best to make this once the jelly is fully set and the macarons have completely cooled so everything is ready to be put together. If marbling then also wait for this to have set.
For the Royal Icing:
Whisk the egg whites or meringue powder until frothy.
Slowly add the icing sugar then turn up to a high speed and whisk for 10 minutes until a smooth, thick icing is formed.
Add the water a small amount at a time to thin it out to a 20 second consistency. This is identified by running a knife through the icing mixture and the trail it leaves should be completely vanished at 20 seconds.
Dip a toothpick in the gel food colour and run it through the icing without mixing it in.
Putting Everything Together:
Pair up the macaron halves with ones of a matching size.
Dip one half in the royal icing and let any excess drip off. Wipe the sides with a finger or a brush if the icing drips down.
Leave these to dry for a couple of hours. Once these have dried make the ganache.
Place the jelly on a board and cut it into cubes about 1cm/1cm.
Put the jelly cubes in the middle of one half of the macarons (it doesn't matter if you use the marbled half or the plain half).
Once the ganache is thick enough to pipe put it in a piping bag and cut a small hole in the bottom.
Pipe the ganache around the jelly.
Put the other macaron half on top and push together.
It is hard to deny that these are the most stunning macarons I have ever made. This is an easy technique to transfer to biscuits and other bakes. The options of colour coordinations are endless so this effect would never get boring.
Flower lover, home baker, creative photos & mindfully reducing our waste. Blogging about it all the way with some book reviews and entertainment posts along the way because I'm a Netflix addict and I can't resist.