Instead of zebras, I made monkeys! Natural food colouring was used as far as possible. Carrot powder for orange, purple sweet potato powder for purple, Queen's natural sourced yellow powder for yellow and Dutch processed cocoa powder for brown.
Some of you requested for templates. Unfortunately I haven't had the time to do proper ones except for the hippo. The tiger is essentially piped using a bear template which you can find easily on the internet. Please acknowledge the source if you do use the template as I have taken time to prepare them.
Checkout my Creative Baking: Macarons book for a more systematic and detailed step by step writeup of macaron basics and pointers!
200g almond powder/ground almond, preferably superfine
200g icing sugar
200g caster sugar
160g egg whites, divide into two equal portions
75 ml water
carrot powder (optional)*
Queen's natural sourced yellow food colouring powder (optional)*
Dutch processed cocoa powder*
Yellow, purple and orange gel food colouring
* add a few grams of natural powders per 100g of almond. For light brown, start off with a pinch first. Gradually add until a shade you like is obtained. Remember that the shade will lighten up significantly when meringue is added. Add a little yellow and orange gel food colouring to brown to make the shade warmer.
Here's a photo of the carrot powder my hubby bought from Akari at Anchorpoint!
1. Make the mass. Sift together icing sugar and almond powder. Add 80g of egg white and mix well to form a thick paste.
2. Divide the mass into the ratio of 2:2:2:1:1 for orange:purple:yellow:light brown:dark brown. You may have excess of some colours but it's easier to divide this way.
3. Add sifted natural powder colouring to the respective masses and mix well. Add additional gel food colouring to get the desired shade. It is optional to use natural food colouring if you don't have but it helps to reduce the amount of artificial colouring needed. Here's how the orange mass looks like when coloured with just carrot powder...
4. Make the Italian meringue. Heat caster sugar and water in a small sauce pan without stirring until the syrup temperature reaches 115°C. In the mean time, beat 80g of egg whites in a clean metal bowl with electric mixer at medium-low speed until foamy and opaque. Do not beat past the soft peak stage. Turn the mixer speed down if necessary to keep egg whites moving. Once syrup reaches 115°C, remove from heat, turn mixer speed up to medium-high and slowly pour the syrup into the egg whites. Keep beating for 10 minutes until meringue is stiff, glossy and cool.
5. Divide the meringue into the ratio for the various colours, or follow this formula that I use for meringue: mass ratio by weight, I.e. weight of meringue/weight of mass=0.55. By following this formula, you will end up with a little meringue leftover, which can be used to stick the baking paper onto the tray. Fold the meringue into the masses in two additions, with the first addition using about a third of the portion. Do watch my video demo for the macaronage process and how to test if the batter is ready. Fold until batter moves in a slow-moving lava-like manner.
6. Transfer batter into piping bags fitted with a Wilton #10 tip for most of the piping, except for fine parts where you may want to transfer about 1-2 tbs of batter into piping bags fitted with a Wilton #5 tip. You may refer to the video tutorials here for piping simple shapes and here for piping complex shapes. Remember to bang the tray a few times on the table after piping.
I piped the hippo a little differently this time. I waited for a fairly stable but soft membrane to form before using toothpick to create the nostrils gently
Giraffe is the same as my previous safari bake. To pipe the monkey, start with the dark brown outline, then fill in the light brown part of the face.
Tiger is the same as my previous safari bake.
7. Dry the piped shells under a fan or in an aircon room for 1-2 hours or until the shell is dry to touch.
8. Bake in preheated oven at 135°C for 17-20 minuted with oven rack set at lowest position. Bake for a few minutes more at 120°C if the shells are still stuck to the baking sheet or the feet appear wet. Let the shells cool before removing from baking sheet. They should be able to come off the sheets easily if properly baked.
Use royal icing and edible marker to decorate the shells as desired.
I filled the macarons with spiced apple swiss meringue buttercream and salted caramel or dark chocolate ganache.
Enjoy these cute treats! I heard they were gone from the dessert table at the party really fast!