Saturday 25 April 2015

Hello Kitty Macarons with Chocolate Ganache (& mild rose flavoured shells)

I have been making cute macarons for about half a year and this is the first time I have a request for Hello Kitty macarons. Hello Kitty with hands on face! Not just a Hello Kitty head. Here they are!

Mild rose flavoured shells with chocolate ganache

Other than pandas, Hello Kitty is probably one of the most popular fancy macarons around so what I made is not unique.

I was wondering how to inject the wonderful aroma of rosebuds into the shells without adding moisture into the macaron batter. I did an experiment of storing icing sugar with some rosebuds for a week. Storing it longer would be better for a stronger aroma. I am going to use it again for more macarons some time in May!

Alternating layers of rose buds and icing sugar in glass jar

As usual, I prepared templates. It is not necessary to make a mirror imaged template for the bottom shell.

Recipe for Hello Kitty rose macaron shells (makes about 45-50 macarons, 90-100 shells)
200g rose icing sugar
200g superfine almond meal/ground almond
200g caster sugar
75 ml water
80g x2 egg whites, preferably aged (I aged mine for 4 days)
Few drops of white gel food colouring (optional)

1.  Line baking trays with baking sheet and a template under it. Sift together icing sugar and almond meal. Add 80g of egg white to it to form a thick paste (mass). (First picture below)

2. Make the italian meringue. Place the caster sugar and water in a small saucepan and heat it over medium heat. Do not stir once all sugar has dissolved. At the same time, beat the rest of the egg whites in a clean metal bowl at medium low speed until foamy. Do not beat beyond the soft peak stage. Reduce beater speed if necessary. When temperature of syrup reaches 115°C, remove from heat. Increase mixer speed to high and carefully pour the syrup into the egg whites in a steady stream, avoiding the beaters. It is seriously more helpful to have a stand mixer to make Italian meringues. I felt like I had to grow an extra arm whenever I made this using a handheld mixer. But it is not absolutely necessary. Many bakers have successfully made beautiful macs without a stand mixer. The video I watch for macaronage is one such example. Continue beating at high speed until meringue cools. About 10-12 minutes. It should look glossy and stiff (second picture below).

3. Fold the meringue into the mass in 2 batches. The first batch is about one-third to lighten up the batter. Use a fold and press motion to fold in the meringue. When the second batch of meringue is added in, fold until the batter is able to fall off the spatula in an almost continuous fashion. You have to underfold the batter a little for non-circular shaped macarons. Do watch a video of the macaronage process several times to get a feel of the correct consistency. I left about 1/4 cup of meringue unused. Third picture below shows the macaron batter.

4. Transfer about 2 heaped tbs of batter into a piping bag fitted with a round tip of about 3mm and the rest of the batter in a bag fitted with a round tip of about 5-6mm. Pipe the oval head of Hello Kitty, followed by the ears (using the small tip). If you have a small leaf tip, that would be great for piping the ears but I didn't have one. I just piped a small dollop of batter and used toothpick to pull the batter to form the ears. Tap the tray on the table a few times to release trapped air bubbles. When the head has dried for about 15 minutes, you may add on the hands by piping using the small tip. Remember not to fill the batter to the edge of the template as the batter will spread a little after piping.

Almost ready to be baked!

5. Let the shells dry in air con room for 2 hours or use a combination of oven drying at 60°C for 8-10 minutes and then air dry or air con dry for the rest of the time. Make sure that the shells are not tacky to touch before sending them into the oven. Bake in preheated oven at 120-130°C for 20-22 minutes with the tray at bottom rack. Rotate the tray halfway through baking. You should be able to lift the shells off easily without it being stuck to the baking sheet. Bake a little while longer if necessary but watch out for browning. Let the shells cool for 5 minutes on the tray before removing them.

Freshly baked shells!

Pair similar sized macarons together. Store the shells in air tight container until ready to assemble.

6. Prepare some red coloured royal icing and pipe the bow on baking sheet. Simply use the same tray, baking sheet and template for making the macaron shells. Let the bows dry completely, preferably overnight, before attempting to remove them from the baking sheet. Wait for each segment to dry on the surface before icing another part in order to create 3D features in the bow.

7. Use edible black marker to draw on the eyes and whiskers, and add on yellow nose using royal icing. You may use black coloured royal icing if you don't have a marker. It will be more tedious but it works too. Some people use templates to draw consistent features. But since there is no way to pipe perfectly same sized macarons, it may not be helpful to use a template. I drew on the features by freehand. I was seeing stars by the end of drawing all 45 of them!! You may ask how did I do that? I used estimated distances for x- and y-coordinates of each feature, starting with the nose, then the eyes and finally the whiskers.

8. Stick the bow on using a bit of royal icing. Wait for icing to dry before filling the shells.

9. Pipe some chocolate ganache onto the bottom shell and place the top shell on.

Refrigerate in airtight container for at least 24 hours before serving. Let the macarons rest at room temperature for 5 minutes before consuming.

Being packed for party! I love the Hello Kitty packaging that the requester sent me!

I inserted a ring of rigid but flexible transparent plastic sheet to prevent the macarons from being crushed when stacked in the box for transport.

Place this whole assembly in the self-seal bag

All packed and ready to party!

I made these along with a small batch of Keroppi macarons which were promptly snapped up by someone else!

Checkout my full-body version of Hello Kitty macarons here!

With love,
Phay Shing