I made some slight modifications to the recipe for the shells and filling from my first attempt. I increased the amount of charcoal and cocoa to make use of more natural colouring and flavour. The addition of vanilla bean paste is to enhance the flavour too! Many thanks to Susanne for this gift otherwise I will not have vanilla bean paste in my possession. I have to confess that I had to junk my batch of French buttercream (buttercream that uses egg yolks like in my previous Mickey macs attempt. I tried a different French buttercream recipe.) Much as it is nice to be able to use up all that excess egg yolks from making macaron shells, French buttercream is just a little too tricky for me. The cream separated and I couldn't salvage it so it's back to good old foolproof swiss meringue buttercream!
Beside a change in recipe, I used a mix of oven drying and aircon drying of the shells to get the optimal drying time for fit my routine as aircon drying takes way too long and oven drying tends to result in shells that are too dry. Since I have 5 trays to dry, I can't dry them in the oven all at once. By the time the last tray of shells are dry, the first tray would have been sitting out for quite a while. My panda and Peppa Pig macarons have feet that are not as beautiful due to this reason. Check out the feet from this batch of macs!
Please refer to my previous macaron shell recipe for the detailed steps. I will highlight the changes here.
200g almond powder/meal (preferably superfine)
200g icing sugar
2 tsp cocoa powder
15g charcoal powder
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste (optional)
Black gel food colouring
200g caster sugar
160g egg whites, divide into two equal portions (preferably aged)
Prepare the mass and Italian meringue. As usual, be careful not to overfold the batter during macaronage.
Macaron batter just before transfer into piping bag
Pipe batter onto baking sheet with template under.
I dried each tray of shells in the oven at 60°C fan mode for 10-15 minutes before aircon drying until it is time to bake. Total drying time for each tray is about an hour. If you can fit all your trays in the oven, by all means oven dry them in one round and just ramp up the oven temperature when they are dry.
126g icing sugar
9g meringue powder
Gel food colouring
Pardon me for not using more natural colouring this time :p. I am really busy and needed to speed things up by making the icing in one batch. I have found the optimal whisking time for royal icing, which is around 5-6 minutes of continuous hand whisking. You may use the electric mixer if you don't like the hand exercise. Do adjust the consistency by adding more water or icing sugar. Any peaks in the icing should disappear in 10 seconds.
Cookies and cream smbc
70g crushed Oreo cookies (cream removed)
(I actually used 268g of smbc and 80g of crushed oreos because that was a convenient proportion for me)
Please refer to this recipe for the basic smbc. Just omit the Horlicks and water in the recipe. Beat in crushed oreos until well combined. Transfer to piping/ziplock bag and pipe the filling onto the bottom shells. Place the top shell on and refrigerate until it is time to serve. Keep the macs in airtight container. They can keep for a week plus in the fridge.
I have some extra batter (didn't use all up for these mice) which I made full use of to create two other designs of cute macarons. Check out my cute bumblebee and Badtz Maru macarons!
For the first time, we are joining 16 fabulous cooking bloggers to bring you the chance to start the Year of the Ram in the best way - by winning an ang pow! Leave a comment in the Combined CNY Giveaway Post for a chance to win!