Monday 12 April 2021

100% Naturally Coloured Sumikko Gurashi Mango Coconut Macarons

I was super excited when I stepped into Scoop, an Australian wholefoods store, opened near where I live. They have an amazing range of organic dried foods, premade sauces, various non-sugared plant based milk etc. It was the first time I saw green rice too! When I chanced upon some natural food powders that I don't find in Redman (largest baking supplies chain in Singapore), I bought them! Because of these purchases, I had an unplanned bake and made these Sumikko Gurashi mango coconut macarons! They are 100% naturally coloured! 

Tokage, Tokage (real) and Penguin? (Yes those are their names, including the punctuation marks) 

These are the powders I bought, along with organic coconut cream powder (not in the picture ). I supplemented the bake with a little turmeric powder from home to get yellow and create warmer shades of geeen. 

Pandan, spirulina and blue pea flower powders

I was prepared for the bake to turn out "meh" or fail because I haven't had very good experiences with natural sources of food colouring if I want to achieve vibrant colours, especially blue pea flower based ones as it is sensitive to heat and the pH of the mixture it is in. Nonetheless I had to test this out to see if I can use it for my bakes. 

I used the swiss meringue method to create these macarons, adding in the powdered colouring to the almond paste, before the meringue is folded in for each colour. I know this will likely result in visible specks of the powders but since this is only a trial and I didnt need perfect results, I decided to take the short cut. To eliminate or reduce the specks, you should add the powder to some egg whites, leave it to soak for about 10 min, strain it with a very fine sieve and then add the coloured egg whites with sifted dry ingredients to form the almond paste (make sure the correct weight of egg whites are used) . I find this unnecessary for red yeast powder, turmeric powder, cocoa powder and charcoal powder. But for spirulina, pandan and blue pea flower (possibly beetroot as well), it is necessary to take this extra step if you don't want the specks to be seen too obviously. 

You may refer to this post for the detailed steps and recipe for the swiss meringue method. This was what I used for this bake:

Almond paste
65g almond flour (preferably superfine) 
65g icing sugar (with cornflour already added by manufacturer) 
24g egg whites
3g (1.25 tsp) organic coconut cream powder (optional if you aren't making mildly coconut flavoured shells) 

Swiss meringue 
36g egg whites
47g caster sugar
13g icing sugar (you may replace with caster sugar) 
1/8 tsp cream of tartar (optional) 

Here's a picture of the piped batter. 

For those of you who asked about quantity of powders added, I can only share my reference here for this trial bake and you have to work out how much you want to use, especially if you are using French method instead of Swiss method that I used here as French method doesn't have an almond paste in the equation. 

The almond paste (or mass) for each colour (except yellow and white) is 47g in this bake, with 24g of swiss meringue added after the coloured powders are added. 

Light green: 3/4 tsp pandan powder + 3/32 tsp turmeric powder
Dark green : 1/2 tsp Spirulina powder + 1/32 tsp turmeric powder
Blue: 1/2 tsp blue pea flower powder

I didn't measure the amount of turmeric used for yellow but it is around a pinch or so for the teeny quantity of batter. White is just plain uncoloured batter. 

You can afford to add less blue pea flower powder as I didn't know the colour will be so dark. Tokage is a lighter shade of blue. Do note that out of the 3 powders, blue pea flower powder fades significantly when exposed to prolonged dry heat so the outcome is more of a greyish blue. 

Freshly baked shells! 

Awesome full cross-section! 

I have some thick homemade mango compote on hand so I decided to choose mango coconut as the flavour of filling. The coconut part is a white chocolate buttercream base with coconut cream added.  Feel free to upsize the recipe as necessary. 

Coconut white chocolate buttercream
40g white chocolate chips (may use couverture or compound, or finely chop from a bar) 
40g unsalted butter
1/8 tsp salt
25g organic coconut cream powder

1. Place butter and white chocolate in microwave safe bowl. Heat for 10 sec at medium low power and mix well. Repeat heating and mixing until fully melted. Be careful not to overheat. Don't worry if mixture looks a little separated. Alternatively, you may use the double-boiling method to melt the chocolate and butter. 

2. Add salt and coconut cream and mix well. 

3. Cling wrap and chill the mixture in fridge until firm. Overnight if you wish but it's not necessary. Let it soften again slightly at room temperature until scoopable consistency. 

4. Use an electric mixer (if you upsized by many times) or spatula (if quantity is tiny) to whip up until smooth, light and creamy. 

5. Transfer into piping bag and fill the macaron shells. 

Mango compote can be made by cooking mango puree with about 10-15% by weight of sugar, a dash of lemon juice and a pinch of salt. I usually reduce the mango until it is about half the original weight of puree. This takes patience as you need to be stirring constantly using low heat. 

I had some extra round macarons which I filled too! I purposely left the fibers of the mango in there. Pipe a ring of coconut white chocolate buttercream and fill the centers with mango compote. 

At the time of writing this blog post, I did use the powders again to make naturally coloured macarons with significantly less noticeable specks when I didn't take the shortcut. I hope you find this review and recipe of coconut white chocolate buttercream helpful! 

With love,

Phay Shing

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