I have to confess that this came at a time when I was really busy with bakes for the Creative Baking: Macarons book so I had to make do with whatever designs I am already making for the book and play around with whatever leftover batter I had. The macaron shells were actually made over a couple of session due to this reason. Thank God they freeze well! Remember to place the shells in airtight container with baking paper between each layer of shells when freezing. Completely thaw before opening the container.
The train macarons are going to appear in the macaron book but with a slightly different design. Keep a lookout for it :).
The basic macaron and strawberry white chocolate recipe can be found here. I found that the orange white chocolate recipe can do with some improvements so I will type out the updated recipe here. I opted for non-refrigerated filling for ease of transport and handling as I have to bring it to school by public transport.
The key to improving the flavour of filling is the addition of orange zest and a good brand of orange extract/ essence, while toning down on the emulco as I find that it gives off a slightly artificial taste. The strawberry white chocolate on the other hand is really yummy even with the use of emulco as I add rose water to it to enhance the strawberry flavour.
The orange essence I use
Use the ratio of 0.55 for weight of Italian meringue/ weight of mass when portioning out for the various colours.
Just to share some photos of the process...
Piping out the train!
See how small the animal shells are!
Decorating the little animal shells with edible marker and royal icing
Filling with orange white chocolate and strawberry white chocolate.
Orange white chocolate filling
Ingredients (fills about 10 macarons):
60g white chocolate, finely chopped
10g vegetable shortening
3/4 tsp orange extract/essence
1/4 tsp orange zest
1/8 tsp orange emulco
1/8 tsp salt
1 drop orange gel food colouring (optional)
1. In a small saucepan, combine shortening, orange extract, zest, emulco and salt. Heat over low heat until shortening is melted and some moisture has evaporated from the mixture to prevent the white chocolate from seizing. Take about 3 minutes to do this. Set aside to cool a little.
2. Melt chopped white chocolate in microwave oven in 10 second bursts at medium power, stirring well after each round of heating. Alternatively, you may melt the white chocolate using the double boiling method. Melted chocolate should be smooth and flowy. If it is hard and rough, you have overheated it.
3. Gradually add the orange mixture into melted chocolate, stirring well with each addition.
4. Add a tiny drop of orange gel food colouring if you wish. Mix well. Leave the white chocolate to stand at room temperature for 5 minutes and check the consistency. If it has a toothpaste-like consistency, it is ready for piping onto the macaron shells. If it is still too runny, let it sit a while longer.
A closer look at the awesome feet on the shells!
Blessed birthday Mun Zhong! May you grow up to love God more and more each day!
With lots of love,