Y: Snowman made out of ice-cream!
Ma: But it would melt by the time I finish assembling and decorating it... How about snowman shaped macarons filled with ice-cream?
Y: Sounds great!
Ma: What flavour would you like?
Y: Earl grey salted caramel :)
Actually my elder kid's birthday is still a couple of weeks away but I wanted to write up a blog post that has Christmas related theme before Christmas is over. The kids welcome this cool treat anyway since it's been really warm these few days! Presenting my first attempt at ice-cream macarons!
The design is taken from the brown sugar cookies I made last year over here.
There's the major concern that I can't pull this off in hot hot Singapore. Thankfully I managed to assemble, take photos quickly before the kids chomp down on the macarons. Ice-cream macarons have to be eaten once they are assembled, unlike regular macarons which need at least 24h to mature with the fillings. You can't freeze the whole assembled ice-cream macarons as the shells will be hard when you take them out of the freezer. I added a little gelatin to stabilize the ice-cream so that it doesn't melt as fast.
I used the reduced sugar recipe for the macaron shells here. Both regular and reduced sugar recipes can be found here. You may refer to my Creative Baking: Macarons book for a systematic presentation of the basics and complex shaped macarons. You may refer to my video tutorials for macaron basics and piping of complex shapes on the blog too.
As the snowmen are about twice the size of regular round macarons, baking time has to be extended and at lower temperature too to prevent the white shells from browning. Begin with 140°C for the first 10 minutes at the lowest rack in the oven (use top and bottom heat only, without fan). Reduce temperature to 120°C for the next 15 minutes and bake at 110°C for the rest of the baking time until the feet appear dry. I tried including all the details using macaron batter as well so piping the shells was quite tedious :p.
Just some notes on piping details using batter, reserve small amount of uncoloured batter that is just combined (but under-folded) for the details. Colour the tiny portions (some as little as 1/4 tsp) in a small bowl. It's ok to overfold the small portions of batter. You may use a piping bag with a small hole cut in it to pipe on the details. Use a toothpick to pull the batter whenever necessary.
Just to share some photos of the piping process...
Pipe the base of snowman head and body and dry partially.
Pipe on hat, scarf, arms and buttons. This was fairly tedious.
Small details like facial features was especially challenging for me! Thankfully making only a few of these :p.
Freshly baked shells!
I adapted the ice-cream filling recipe from here. I was intrigued by how Dulce De Leche was made, how condensed milk could caramelize in the can and turn into a wonderfully brown colour with richer flavour. This is essentially a no-churn, two-ingredient ice-cream that makes use of condensed milk and heavy cream to make the ice-cream base.
Recipe for ice-cream filling
Ingredients (fills a 10x12" tray):
Earl grey salted Dulce De Leche
One 396ml can of condensed milk
1/2 tsp flaky sea salt
1 tbs Earl Grey tea powder*
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
1 tsp caramel flavouring (optional)
1 teabag worth of Earl Grey tea leaves
Earl grey salted caramel ice-cream
200g Earl Grey Salted Dulce de Leche
350g whipping cream (you may increase to 400g)
30g salted caramel
1 tsp gelatin**
1 tbs water**
* If you are unable to find Earl grey tea powder, omit this but instead infuse the whipping cream with 3 Earl grey tea bags. Heat the cream until just start to bubble and steep the tea bags for 5 minutes. Squeeze out the cream from the bags. Make sure that you use more than 350g worth of cream when infusing as some of it will be lost. Chill the infused cream in the fridge for at least a few hours before whipping.
** You may omit the addition of gelatin but the ice-cream may melt faster.
1. Place the can of condensed milk (unopened) in a large pot filled with water until the can is fully submerged. Bring to a boil and simmer for two hours. I used the slow cooker for this. Remove from pot and let it cool until you are able to handle the can.
2. Pour out the contents from the can into a large mixing bowl. Add salt, Earl Grey tea powder, vanilla, caramel flavouring and tea leaves. Mix well with a spatula. Set aside. We only need 200g of this. The remaining may be stored in the fridge for two weeks in airtight container. Alternatively, you may scale up the ice-cream recipe so you don't end up with extra Dulce De Leche. I was out of whipping cream so had to work with this quantity :p.
3. Place water in a small microwave safe bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over the water and let it stand for a few minutes for the gelatin to absorb the water. Microwave for 10 seconds on high and mix well. Repeat if necessary until gelatin is fully dissolved. You may use the double-boiling method too.
4. Whip the heavy cream with electric mixer at low speed until soft peaks start to form. Gradually add gelatin mixture and use a whisk to gently fold in the gelatin until well combined. Be careful not to over whip the cream or it will separate.
5. Add about a quarter of the cream to the Dulce De Leche. Mix until well combined. Fold in the rest of the cream in three batches, drizzling salted caramel in between. Melt the salted caramel in the microwave for several seconds if it is too firm.
6. Pour the mixture into a 10x12" tray lined with baking sheet. Press a cling wrap on top of the surface of the mixture. Freeze overnight.
To assemble, use round cookie cutter to cut out two circles for each snowman. One of the circles need to have a bit cut off as shown below. Quickly transfer the ice-cream blocks onto the bottom shell of the macaron and sandwich with top shell. Serve immediately.
Kids really love this treat!
Blessed birthday to Y!
With lots of love,