The MacTweets Mac Attack challenge for the month of May was to find inspiration in a favourite childhood book.
It’s no easy task to choose a single book when one has been fortunate to have a childhood filled with so many tales of adventure and magic.
One thing is certain: first and foremost on the list of memorable childhood books are those that taught us how to read.
Their simple methodology, delightful phrases and colourful illustrations made learning a pleasure for generations of children.
Ginger being a recurring flavour in children’s stories and books, be it gingerbread houses, gingerbread men, ginger snaps or ginger beer, Chocoparis decided to go with a ginger-inspired recipe for this month’s challenge.
The ginger macarons below are filled with dark chocolate and candied ginger ganache with a hint of orange.
Those aren’t tiny pieces of ginger on the tops, but raw cane sugar crystals, which seemed like a suitable ginger-like decoration.
The recipe is the same basic recipe as for chocolate macarons, with only a few variations.
The modified recipe appears below.
Macarons with dark chocolate and candied ginger filling
Preparation time: 15 minutes + 20-30 minutes to “set”
Baking time: 12-14 minutes per tray
Yield: approx. 20-30 assembled macarons, depending on size
- 90 grams (3 ounces) of egg whites (equal to whites of 3 large eggs), at room temperature
- 125 grams (4 ½ ounces) of ground almonds or almond flour
- 125 grams (4 ½ ounces) of icing sugar
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/8 teaspoon Wilton’s Rose Petal food colouring
- 125 grams (4 ½ ounces) of caster sugar (superfine sugar) divided into two equal portions
- 325 grams (12 ounces) bittersweet chocolate
- 2 tablespoons candied ginger, finely chopped
- 5 drops of orange extract
- 300 grams (10.5 fluid ounces) of heavy cream
- 75 grams (2 ½ ounces) of unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons of raw cane sugar crystals
- Pulse the almond powder, icing sugar, and cocoa powder in a food processor just until a fine powder is obtained. Then sift the mixture into a large bowl. If using almond flour, you may simply sift the almond flour and icing sugar together.
- Place the egg whites in a bowl and add half of the caster sugar. Begin beating the whites and sugar at low-medium speed. After 2 minutes, when the mixture starts to rise and holds its shape, increase the mixer speed. Continue beating at medium speed until firm peaks are obtained. Add the rest of the caster sugar and the food colouring and beat until all the sugar is dissolved and the colour is even.
- Transfer the beaten egg whites to a larger bowl (if necesssary) and add all of the almond powder mixture. Using a spatula, gently fold the mixture until the dry ingredients are completely incorporated, taking care not to overmix. The batter should be smooth and glossy and have a lava-like consistency. It should form a ribbon when dripped from the spatula.
- Line two baking trays with parchment paper. Fill a large pastry bag half full with batter and, using a 2-cm (1/2 inch) tip, vertically pipe the mixture into balls each about the size of walnuts. Tap the trays against a hard surface a couple of times to flatten the shells.
- Sprinkle a few cane sugar crystals on top of each macaron.
- Allow to the macarons to sit for 20 to 30 minutes until a “skin” forms and they are no longer wet when lightly touched.
- Bake at 160 degrees C (325 degrees F) for 12 to 14 minutes. Shells should be smooth and shiny, with the characteristic “foot” or ridge underneath.
- Remove macarons from the oven. Allow to cool a few moments then use a lifter to carefully transfer the macarons to a cooling rack. If they don’t slide off easily, lift the parchment paper slightly while spraying a small amount of water onto the hot tray and let the paper fall back. The steam produced by the water will allow the macarons to come off easily once they have cooled.
For the filling
- Place chocolate pieces in a heat-resistant bowl.
- Bring the cream to a boil in a saucepan. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate. Stir until melted and smooth. Add the butter, orange extract and candied ginger and stir well. Allow to cool until thickened.
- Using your thumb, carefully make a small opening on the flat side of one macaron shell. Place about a teaspoon of filling over the opening. Cover with another shell and twist until filling is evenly spread.
- Refrigerate macarons overnight before serving. Allow them to sit at room temperature for an hour or two before serving. They can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
The ginger flavour in the ganache wasn’t as strong as expected. I used Australian Gold, which is milder than other types. You can experiment by increasing the amount of candied ginger to suit your own preference.
Also, in the recipe above, the “ginger” colour was obtained through the addition of 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder to the dry ingredients and 1/8 teaspoon of pink food colouring to the beaten egg whites. Both are of course optional; the colours/combinations are up to you.