Sunday 12 January 2014

White Chocolate and Rose Water Macarons - Gluten free

Macaroons – The French type, are notoriously tricky little blighters and cause too much stress for baking. But they don't have to be this hard. I have made this recipe many times with out fail. The ones i have made below are vanilla macarons with a white chocolate and rose water butter cream. I don't know how you explain what a macaron is really, they are a sweet treat that my friends and family love and often make for birthdays, dinner party's and just because really. And yes they are gluten free as always! Enjoy the recipe...

110g egg whites (whites from approx 3 large eggs) 
75g caster sugar 
125g ground almonds 
175g icing sugar
1 tsp Vanilla essence 

Measure out the ground almonds and icing sugar and put them into the food processor. Measure out the egg whites. 
Egg whites are measured in grams seems a bit silly to me as surely you measure them in ml’s as a liquid but hey, 110g egg whites = 110ml egg whites. 
Place them into a large bowl and whisk like you would a meringue. As the mixture comes to soft peaks begin adding the caster sugar a third at a time until it’s all worked in and smooth and glossy.
You don’t need to whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks but they should be thick and glossy. One of the wonderful things about macaroons are their fab colours – whatever takes your fancy. Using gel paste colours is the best way to colour the mixture without changing the consistency. Add a small amount of colouring to the meringue and mix in well.
Now you can turn off the Food Processor. Sift into the meringue mixture half of the almond/icing sugar from the food processor.old into the mixture using a spatula or metal spoon until it’s fully mixed in. Sift in the final half. The residue left in the sieve can be very grainy and hard so don’t force it through the sieve just discard it.Fold in as before.
Now comes the tricky part, you need to keep folding the mixture until it goes smooth and glossy. By my reckoning this takes 1-2 minutes folding in a figure of 8. This loosens the mixture until it is the right consistency. You really don’t want to knock ten tons of air out of it but achieving the right point is important. 
Hold your spatula above the bowl. The mixture should run from it in a smooth ribbon. If it’s jerky and breaking then it isn’t right yet. Just watch out though you want to stop right at this point and go no further, otherwise you’ll have hugely spreading macaroons.
Now we’re ready to go. 
Add the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a plain wide round nozzle. 
Prepare two baking sheets lined with baking paper. Pipe the macaroons onto the tray in small circles. To begin with they will have a small peak on the top. If you have the correct consistency that will soon flatten and you will have a tray full of perfectly smooth macaroons.Now you need to set the trays aside for 30 minutes. After this time they should have formed a slight ‘skin’ and you should be able to touch them with your fingertip. Preheat the oven to 120c  Place the trays in the oven for 20-30 minutes. (i check after every 10mins and made need more time. you will know when they are done when they are not spongy when pressed down and have a slight gloden colour on the shell.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool, still on the tray. Good macaroons should be smooth and glossy with a good foot and not flat. I have added some trouble shooting tips at the end of the post. Sandwich together with a buttercream or ganache of your choice (recipe below).

Whipped White Chocolate and Rose Water Buttercream:
1 cup butter, softened
2 ½ cup icing sugar (or more, depending on desired consistency)
Pinch of salt
170g good quality white chocolate, chopped (NOT white chocolate chips or candy melts!)
¼ cup cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Rose water essence (I used around 1tsp but add to your desired flavour)
1.    Put the chopped white chocolate into a small bowl. Heat the chocolate in 30 second increments in the microwave set to 60% power. Stir after each increment, and continue to heat 30 seconds at a time, until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Set aside and allow to completely cool.
2.    Once white chocolate has cooled, sift the salt and powdered sugar over the butter, in a large bowl. Cream the butter and sugar mixture together until light and fluffy, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
3.    Measure the whipping cream into a cup, and stir in the vanilla extract and rose water essence.
4.    With the mixer running on low speed, gradually pour the cream mixture the bowl.
5.    Once the cream mixture has been incorporated into the frosting, fold on the melted (but cooled) white chocolate until incorporated.
6.    Increase the mixer speed to medium-high, and beat frosting for an additional 3 minutes.
7.    Makes about 2 ½ cups of frosting.

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