Halloween is here! While tricks are always fun, we’re going to focus on the treats. We haven’t made macaron in a little while, and I had a cool idea for a Halloween-themed variety. Let’s do it.
If you’ve never made macaron before, or are feeling less than confident in tackling them, check out my original post on them, where I go into a lot of detail about all the tricks and troubleshooting.
Similarly, if you’re unsure of tempering chocolate at all, I have a post for that, too.
The best way to measure temperature when cooking a candy syrup is a digital thermometer. I would avoid candy thermometers like this that clip to the side of the pot for two reasons. First, if you’re using an open flame burner, then the handle of the thermometer will almost certainly burn or melt at some point or at the very least be a burn risk. Secondly, reading the temperature of the mixture from the side of the pot alone isn’t an accurate representation of the overall temperature of the syrup. A digital thermometer can be easily stirred around in the syrup to get an accurate reading. Oh, I thought of a third reason; digital thermometers have about a million uses and candy thermometers definitely don’t.
250g almond flour
250g powdered sugar
93g egg whites A
93g egg whites B
5g purple gel color
Before getting started, bring your egg whites to room temperature.
Combine the powdered sugar and almond flour and pulse in a food processor until the two are well incorporated.
Add the first scaling of egg whites to a stand mixer mixing bowl fitted with a whip attachment. Place the second scaling of egg whites in a medium mixing bowl.
Add the almond flour mixture and purple gel color to the egg whites in the mixing bowl in two additions, mixing thoroughly until a paste is formed. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap to touch to prevent it from drying out.
Combine the sugar and water in a sauce pot over high heat. As the syrup first starts to heat up give it a good whisk to fully dissolve the sugar. Once the sugar starts to boil, stop whisking or you’ll risk crystalizing the syrup. Bring the syrup to a boil, and cook it to 250F/121C.
While the sugar syrup is heating up, begin to mix your first scaling of egg whites in the stand mixer on medium speed.*
*An Italian meringue relies on timing your egg whites to whip up into a loose meringue at the same time that the sugar syrup hits its finishing boiling temp. With larger recipes, it is common to start whisking your whites when the syrup reaches 230F/110C, but a small recipe size requires you to start both processes at the same time.
Once the syrup reaches 250F/121C, turn the egg whites in the stand mixer on high. There should be no clear albumen left in the whipping egg whites at this point.
Carefully pour the syrup over the whipping egg whites in a steady stream. I usually count to three to add the first addition of syrup. Allow the egg whites to whip for 5-10 seconds. This let’s them temper a little and prevents the egg whites from cooking into a stringy mess.
After the first addition of syrup, add the remaining syrup in one steady stream. Let the mixture whip on high for 20 seconds to further temper and cool the mixture and then turn the speed down to medium-high.
Continue to whip the meringue on medium speed until it is still warm and at a soft peak stage. Add the meringue to your almond flour mixture in two additions.
When all of the meringue is incorporated, mix the batter until it softens to the right consistency – the batter should almost completely settle and smooth out on its own within around 10-20 seconds after coming off the spatula.
Finish the batter about 90% of the way, because transferring the batter to a piping bag and then pressing it through the tip will further break it down to the finished consistency.
Using a piping bag and a 11mm round piping tip, pipe the macaron batter onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a non-stick baking mat. Pipe one row of macaron and allow them to settle for 30sec.-1min. in order to determine how much they will spread.
After you’ve pipe a full sheet of shells, give the sheet pan a tap from underneath to knock out any hidden air bubbles and flatten and smooth them.
Let the piped macaron sit, uncovered, until they develop a skin, about 5-15min. (depending on the humidity in your kitchen). To test them, gently press a shell with your finger. If the batter is dry to the touch and doesn’t stick to your fingertip, they’re ready to bake.
Bake the shells at 315F/157C for 12-14min.*
*Time and temperature can vary widely depending on your oven! For five years in my kitchen at work I baked my macaron at 315F for 14min. like clockwork. At home, with a very poor oven, I baked my macaron for this recipe at 325F/163C for 20min. Test a small batch of the macaron shells in your oven for best results!
Let the shells cool and match them by size before filling.
35g heavy cream
10g glucose optional
100g blackberry puree
225g chocolate Guittard 65% Ecuador Nacional
15g butter unsalted
I make my blackberry puree by simply blending blackberries. Go figure. I like to use frozen berries and then thaw them before pureeing. The thawing process will soften the cell structure of the berries making them blend easier and smoother. I also recommend straining the puree to remove seeds before making your ganache. Otherwise, you can strain the ganache to remove the seeds, but that’s a big pain.
Combine the heavy cream, glucose, and blackberry puree in a sauce pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
Pour the mixture over the chocolate, giving the container a gentle shake to help the chocolate melt.
Let the mixture site for 2-3min., then add the butter and whisk or hand blend until the ganache is glossy – a sign of good emulsification.
chocolate bat wings
Gather all of the materials you need to make your decoration:
1 offset spatula for tempering chocolate
1 chocolate scraper for tempering chocolate
1 thermometer for tempering chocolate laser or digital
1 small bowl
1 sheet of 12×18″/30x45cm acetate substitute with parchment paper
1 sheet of 12x18x¼”/30x45x.6cm plexiglass substitute with a flat plastic cutting board
2-3 paper cones
black cocoa butter
chocolate, 61% Guittard Lever du Soleil
bat wing template (click to download)
Before tempering your chocolate, prepare your plexiglass sheet. Using a damp paper towel or your hand, spread a thin coat of water over the surface of the plexiglass.
Lay one sheet of acetate over the wet plexiglass.
Using the bowl scraper like a squeegee, gently draw excess water from between the plexiglass and acetate. Use gentle pressure to start, and always work from the center of the acetate to the edges.
Dry the surface of the acetate and any exposed plexiglass thoroughly with a paper towel (a kitchen towel isn’t as absorbent and may leave moisture on the surface).
Temper your chocolate and fill one of the paper cones. Hold the remaining chocolate in the small bowl.
Using the template under the plexiglass as a guide, pipe the chocolate to create the bat wings.
After each wing is pipe, gently tap the plexiglass from underneath to settle the chocolate.
Once the wings have set, warm the cocoa butter to 86F/30C and paint the wings.
Pipe the blackberry ganache on one shell of each matched pair.
Gently press the chocolate wings into the ganache. Add a small amount of ganache over the wing to help it stick to the second shell.
Gently add the second macaron shell.
Add bat faces (whatever those are) to the top shell using black cocoa butter, black gel color, or a black edible ink pen. Add teeth using white food color, using a toothpick to carefully shape the teeth.