If you've missed last week's challenge (a very large tiered pie was involved, it could have fed a village) click here and check it out before reading this post!
Ok soooooo I've cheated a little bit this week... European cakes saw the bakers making the most bizarre collection of treats I have ever seen, and if I'm honest, none of them appealed massively! The Princess Cake looks beautiful but I can't stand marzipan, I didn't have a tin for the yeast cake and the show stopper was... far too much effort by the looks of it! Instead, I've opted for coffee macaroons, as I've wanted to give them a go for a long time now and I've heard they're pretty tricky! I've made them into 'giant macaroons' not for any reason other than a strong belief in 'the bigger the better' when it comes to baking. Also, they're French, so I've ticked the 'European' box. Just don't tell Paul or Mary.
On to the recipe!
Giant Coffee and Dark Chocolate Macaroons
(Makes around 16 large macaroons)
For the shells:
4 room temperature egg whites
200g icing sugar
120g ground almonds
120g castor sugar
2tsp powdered food colouring or ground coffee (powdered ideal)
For the coffee chocolate ganache:
75g dark chocolate
100ml double cream
2tsp ground coffee (powdered ideal)
1tsp vanilla essence
50g icing sugar
1. Put ground almonds, icing sugar, ground coffee and food colouring into a blender and whizz together. They should be blended finely.
2. Sift the mixture into a bowl and put to one side.
3. With a food mixer or electric whisk beat the egg whites slowly at first and then increase the speed until a frothy mixture is formed (it should have lots of fine bubbles).
4. Add half of the castor sugar and whisk at maximum speed for around two minutes. Add the other half and continue to whisk until stiff peaks form.
(This is where I went a tad wrong, as I whisked for too long due to desperately trying to make my mixture more coffee coloured. This didn't make a huge difference in the long run, although it made the piping part a little trickier.)
5. Fold the dry ingredients into the egg white mixture. Apparently this process is called 'Macaronage' (trust the French to call it something fancy). Use a rubber spatula, and when your mixture is shiny and falls back slowly into the bowl it means you're good to pipe. Don't overfold or you'll have puddles instead of piped disks.
(My mixture wasn't shiny as such, due to my not using powdered coffee. Nescafe Americano would have been ideal. Mine was a little too grainy!)
6. Line your tray with baking parchment and preheat the oven to 150 degrees.
7. Fill your plastic piping bag up with the mixture and snip off the end when you're ready. You can use a metal novel if you're being very precise. (I didn't). Pipe a circle into the desired size (mine were digestive biscuit sized) and make sure they're all consistent.
8. Let the macaroons sit for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, touch the top and it shouldn't stick to your hands. I sprinkled some ground coffee on top for decorative purposes.
9. Put them in the oven and stick the timer on for 7 minutes. After 7 minutes, rotate the tray so that they bake evenly. Put the timer on for another 7 minutes and then take out and check. If the feet (the bottom) come away from the baking paper easily they're done. If not, put in for 1 minute more and continue checking until done. Leave on paper to cool completely.
For the coffee chocolate ganache:
1. Chop up the chocolate very finely.
2. In a small saucepan, heat up the cream until it bubbles very slightly.
3. Remove saucepan from the heat and stir in chopped chocolate, ground coffee and vanilla essence. (I also added icing sugar at this stage to stiffen the ganache a little so it wouldn't leak out of the shells).
4. Spoon onto a cooled macaroon shell and sandwich with another. Don't overfill as it may seep out of the sides. Allow to cool.
Voila! (as the French would say). Giant coffee and dark chocolate macaroons!
I've never made macaroons before and would say they're pretty fiddly! You have to keep your eye on timings and be sure to peel off the shells really carefully, as I lost the inside of a couple in the process!
I think they'd make a really nice present, especially if you made them in your friend's favourite flavours.
Next week is pastry week! I'm thinking all the eclairs. All. Of. Them.
See all of my 'Great British Bake Off Blogger Challenge' posts here.