We were the reason that He suffered and died
To a world that was lost He gave all He could give
To show us the reason to live"
I get this earworm sometimes around Christmas :p. Christmas bakes seem incomplete for me if there's no element of what Christmas really means. Much as snowmen, reindeers and Christmas bears are cute, they are not the reason why we celebrate Christmas.
Christmas is all about God's love and salvation plan for us through the birth of Jesus :). Last year, I made baby Jesus, star and snowflake gingerbread cookies, followed by the nativity scene. Now that I have more practice making macarons, I decided to replicate the same designs but with macarons!
"Away in a manger no crib for a bed.
The little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head.
The stars in sky looked down where He lay.
The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay"
That's the scene I was trying to depict :). Making the whole nativity cast into macarons would be too ambitious and time consuming for me :p.
The basic macaron shell recipe can be found here. You may refer to the video tutorials I made earlier on how to fold the batter, test the consistency and pipe complex shapes.
Just some points to note,
- Divide the mass into ratio of 4:2:1:1 for white: yellow:grey:beige.
- Use the ratio of 0.55 for weight of Italian meringue:weight of mass.
- Use a pinch of charcoal powder to colour the batter grey, use a tiny toothpick dip of orange gel food colouring to colour the batter beige.
-Remember to bang the tray on the table after each step of piping.
-Bake at 135°C for 10 minutes with oven rack at lowest position, rotate the tray and bake at 130°C for 7 minutes. Check if the macarons are done by looking at the feet. If they appear a little wet, bake for another 5 minutes at 120°C and check again.
- Remove shells from baking sheet only when completely cooled. Well baked shells should not be stuck to the baking sheet when you gently peel the sheet away from the shells.
Here are some photos of the process...
Piping star! Wait for 15 minutes or until a sticky membrane forms before piping on pop up features.
Piping baby Jesus! Use a Wilton #5 tip (~3mm) to pipe the pop-up swaddle features and Wilton #3 tip (~2mm) to pipe eye lids and nose of baby Jesus.
Piping sheep! Pipe the cloud shaped body and let it dry for 15 minutes. Pipe the head and one leg. Wait for 10 minutes before piping the other leg and tuft of wool on the sheep's head.
Baked and decorated with edible marker and royal icing!
The shells were filled with cookies n cream swiss meringue buttercream or dark chocolate ganache.
Refrigerate for at least 24h before serving. Let the macarons warm up a little at room temperature for a few minutes before serving.
Thank God these were very well received at the party!