This month’s MacTweets Mac Attack challenge was to create a French macaron inspired by a wild animal or bird of Africa.
And so this post takes us on a little side trip, far away from the cafés and pastry shops of Paris.
ChocoParis macarons this month are inspired by the cheetah, the fastest land animal!
This amazing feline, which lives mainly in Africa and southwest Asia, can run between 112 and 120 km/h (70 and 75 mph). It lives in a variety of habitats, from mountainous terrain and areas of dense vegetation to semi-desert regions.
Like the cheetah, these chocolate-filled macarons were very quick to make (and easy to decorate too).
I used my basic recipe for chocolate macarons, tweaking it only slightly for colour, and a classic dark chocolate ganache.
For the soft yellow colour, I omitted the cocoa powder from the above-mentioned recipe and instead used a small amount of turmeric powder (you may prefer to use a drop of yellow food colouring).
Turmeric is widely used as a natural colouring agent. For sweets, be sure to use old or stale turmeric, since it is almost flavour neutral.
Almost, but not quite, since half a teaspoon of turmeric added both subtle colour and just the slightest hint of exotic flavour to these macarons. In fact, it paired with the chocolate surprisingly well.
For the spots, just a few brush strokes of melted chocolate applied to the baked macaron shells did the trick.
A note about painting with chocolate – it wasn’t as easy as I expected, as melted chocolate begins to thicken fairly quickly once it’s on a brush and starts to cool. You might want to keep the bowl of melted chocolate sitting in a pan of hot water while you work.
I would have liked the spots to turn out just a little bit darker, to more closely match those of the mighty cheetah, but the key words to remember about this challenge are “inspired by” and “fun”!
Adapted from this basic recipe for chocolate macarons.