Looks can be deceiving.
Nowadays, blog events and meetups all start over a conversation on twitter. This is how our macaron session was conjured up. A few of us were tweeting our fear of THE Macaron. I had made them before but they have never come up perfect. This is when we decided that we will form a Macaron Support Group and have a mac tweetup session where we will, together make the perfect macaron. The Mac support group consisted of myself, Thanh, Liz, I-Hua, Penny, Agnes and Kat
Hopes were high, that day. We all turned up with positive attitudes, determined to make the elusive perfect macron and to be able to bring home some edible ones to our partners and families.
Before getting into it tho, we fed our tummies. We all brought a dish each and we were all full after lunch.
I brought along pasta in a grilled tomato sauce
Kat brought Sping rolls
Thanh made lamb chops
Liz made chicken wings
I-Hua also made chicken wings
Agnes brought along lamb Biryani
Penny made beef empandas
For dessert, Agnes made custard tarts
and Liz brought along pineapple tarts.
I also brought along my daughter. She loves to bake and she even made new friends. **cough. Agnes. cough**
Below are a few photos of us getting busy in the kitchen.
As you can see from the above photo, we didn’t get the results we were hoping for. After many speculations, we had a few reasons on why they didn’t turn out. We didn’t mix the egg whites to the right consistency or we added too much of the liquid flavourings which made the mixture too wet or we didn’t know the oven well enough that we couldn’t control the temperature. So, all or none of these could be the reason and we were disappointed but truth be told, in the end, we enjoyed ourselves and there was probably more laughter and joking around than cooking and baking.
Having this failure hang over my head, I didn’t wan’t to be defeated. The next day I decided to make more macarons but at home and with an oven I was familiar with.
I made coconut macaron shells. One filled with pandan (top pic – filled with pandan buttercream) and the other, I called monte carlo. (bottom pic – filled with vanilla butter cream and triple berry jam). They turned out better than the day before but as with my previous attempts, they are still not perfect. So, I forecast more attempts in my future.
Coconut Macaron shell:
4 large egg whites
120g ground almonds
220g icing sugar
40g fine caster sugar
1/4 cup dessicated coconut
2 tsp coconut essence
To make the shells
1. Preheat oven to 150degC. Finely grind the dessicated coconut, almonds and icing sugar in a blender or food processor. Sieve the mixture over a baking tin lined with baking papar and cook for 5-7 minutes. Let cool.
2. In a mixing bowl, beat the egg whites till soft peaks using an electric mixer. When it starts to stiffen, gradually add the caster sugar, beating constantly. Add the coconut essence. Mix to combine. Sieve the almond-sugar mixture over the egg white and fold carefully.
3. Fill a piping bag using a round piping nozzle. Pipe out 4.5cm circles onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Let it stand for about 30minutes or until a crust forms on the surface. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Let the shells cool, then remove using a small palette knife.
For the butter cream, I used 1 cup of unsalted butter and 1/2 cup of icing sugar. Mix to combine. For the pandan one, add a few drops of the pandan essence and for the vanilla one, add the seeds from a vanilla bean (or 1/2 tsp of vanilla paste)
When the shells cool, spread the filling over half of the shells, then top them with the remaining shells. Chill for 1 hour before serving.