My friend requested for these as farewell gifts that mark the end of a school year. I thought it would be pretty all right to make just the heads of the characters. But it was when I started making them that I realised how super tedious the whole process is! As a general rule, the more the shape of a subject deviates from the circle shape, the more tedious it would be to pipe.
I used the Italian method to make these macarons.You may use your favourite macaron recipe or any recipe in our blog. You may refer to my macaron books Creative Baking: Macarons and Creative Baking: Macaron Basics for a more systematic review of the basics and piping techniques, as well as the macaron shell recipe I used here.
Just to share some pictures of the process...
Piping Optimus Prime
Freshly baked shells
Adding on the details post-baking was even more tedious than piping the batter. I needed two days to work on decorating 30 macarons. Either that or I am getting old and need to take more eye breaks 😆.
Other than techniques of baking macaron shells, I get queries about how I manage to draw by freehand all the minute details on the macaron shells. I would say having learnt the Chinese language from young is an advantage. We learn how to write by learning the brush strokes (笔画) of each word. Usually by the 5th or 6th piece, I have the "brush strokes" of each character figured out. I can proceed at a quicker pace as I memorised the "brush strokes" to draw. It becomes a calligraphy exercise after a while!
I decorate these Transformer pieces first by using a fairly fine black edible marker to draw the outline or "brush strokes" of the character. Next, I fill in the highlights or coloured portions by painting using a very fine soft brush with edible paint. I make the paint by dissolving gel food colouring in a little vodka.
You can see the process of decorating from this tray of Optimus Prime
All done! It always helps to have your reference picture next to the macaron shell you are working on
Tray of Bumblebee shells
As the shells had to spend some time out in the open for decoration, I oven dried each tray worth of decorated shells at 80℃ for 20 min, and ensure that there is at least three days of maturation allowed post-assembly with filling as the shells will become drier with this additional drying step.
My friend requested for macarons filled with dark chocolate ganache and salted caramel some time back. She really loved the taste so she requested for it again this time round.
Filling the shells with an outer ring of dark chocolate ganache and generous dollop of salted caramel in the middle.
I packed each pair into little gift bags.
Thank God that these were really well received in terms of looks and taste!