This is not my first graduation hat bake. I made graduation hat pinata shortbread cookies end of last year for a class of preschool kids. If you would like an easier bake than macarons, do check out that post!
I chose a flavour of macarons that is great even when you eat the macaron shell on its own because the top shell is larger than the bottom shell. The macaron shells contain cocoa powder and freeze-dried raspberry powder to help with the flavour. That's the great thing about black shells. You can add all sorts of flavoured powders without worrying about the final colour!
This design can also be found in my upcoming Creative Baking: Macaron Basics book but it will just be chocolate flavoured and French method is used. So I can share the Italian method recipe that I used here freely :)
I made about 100 of these but will provide recipe that makes about 40 macarons.
Recipe for raspberry dark chocolate black macaron shells
160g superfine almond flour
144g icing sugar
14g rice flour*
3/4 tsp cornflour*
64g egg whites
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1.5 tsp freeze-dried raspberry powder
10g Dutch Processed cocoa powder
7g charcoal powder
A few drops of black gel food colouring
64g egg whites
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
160g castor sugar
* You may replace with icing sugar if you don't want to reduce sugar.
1. Prepare baking trays with templates and line with parchment paper.
2. Prepare the mass. Sift together all the dry ingredients in the mass. Add egg whites and mix well until a thick paste forms. Add a few drops of black gel food colouring to deepen the shade.
3. Prepare italian meringue. Heat sugar and water in a small saucepan until temperature reaches 115-118℃ on a candy thermometer. In the mean time, beat egg whites at medium low speed until soft peaks form. Reduce mixer speed if necessary. Don't over beat. Once temperature is reached on thermometer, remove from heat. Increase mixer speed to medium high and carefully pour syrup into egg whites in a thin stream, avoiding the beaters. Continue beating for another 10 minutes or until cooled to body temperature. Meringue should be able to hold firm or stiff peaks, appear smooth and glossy.
4. Mix about a third of the meringue into the mass until mixture appears homogeneous. Fold in the rest of the meringue until batter has consistency of slow moving lava.
5. Transfer into piping bag and pipe away! Bang the tray on the table to release trapped air bubbles.
6. Dry in air-con room or under a fan until dry to touch before baking in preheated oven at 140℃ for about 15-20 minutes or until feet does not appear wet. You may use the lowest or second lowest rack to bake. Cool completely before carefully peeling parchment paper away from macaron shells.
Freshly baked shells!
Decorating that many macaron shells was a hassle 😅. But so glad I made it! I can't release the details of this part as it's in the upcoming book.
Adding on the tassels
I made a fairly firm ganache as Singapore is rather warm and I didn't want to risk having super soft filling even if there's air-conditioning where the macarons are displayed. Feel free to increase the amount if cream if you prefer a softer ganache.
Recipe for raspberry dark chocolate ganache
250g dark chocolate couverture
50g unsalted butter
1/3 tsp salt
50g heavy cream
2.5 tbs freeze-dried raspberry powder
1/2 tbs vanilla bean paste
1. Place all ingredients except raspberry powder into a large heatproof bowl and set it over a pot of simmering water. Don't let the water touch the base of the bowl. Stir the mixture until everything is melted and well combined.
2. Add raspberry powder gradually and mix well after each addition.
3. You may let the ganache stand at room temperature until it firms up to piping consistency, or chill in freezer for 2 minutes and then mix well. Repeat freezing and mixing until you are able to whip the mixture to make whipped ganache.
4. Transfer into piping bag and fill the shells.
Store in the fridge for at least 24h before serving. Leave the macarons for about 15 minutes at room temperature after you take them out of the fridge.
Checkout my next post where these macaron graduation hats will appear with another genre of bake for the same event 😉.
Thank God everyone said it was yummy!