Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Rosewater Macarons with Cardamom Infused White Chocolate Ganache

In my first macaron post, I did mention macarons are addictive, making them and having them, both alike. And now, I warm myself  from doing anything that says ‘addictive’ because I do get addicted. I was bitten by this contagious mac-bug and since ever since I tried my first set of macarons and saw the successful forming of feet, I was on the roll. Not one, not two, but my oven saw many batches and flavours of successful batches ever since. Whenever I got a chance, I made sure I baked macarons. I made them for my hubby’s colleagues, for my son, for party, for potluck etc. Initial batches dint really impress me; feet was there, tasted good but dint look that appealing as I saw them around the net. So I baked them one after the other getting prettier batches of these morsels. Most of them turned out great with that fine texture and perfect balance of flavours. All the batches had feet (the ruffles at the base of the cookies, which is characteristics of macarons), but the last two batches which were intended to be taken for a birthday party dint turn up great. The top was cracked and not looking good. I was really put off with that. It dint happen to me even in the first batch. It doesn’t mean that I would quit making them, but probably, I would give it a pause for the time being.

I should tell you, after spending lot of time in the kitchen grinding the ingredients, sieving, piping the batter, resting time, lot of mess and vessels to clean up, seeing an unsuccessful can put you at grudge! It did to me. I know where I went wrong. I was overconfident and was a bit careless due to that. Mistake was too silly but non- reversible.. Even though I take the proverb that says failures are stepping stones to success, I should re-think that phrase when it comes to making macaron. I hate macaron failures as the trouble to making them is not less! And failures do happen with them and that too very easily. And of course you learn a new lesson from the mistake, but I still don’t like it when a macaron flops. 

It is Valentine’s day today and I thought of drafting out something that would suit the occasion. I am not the kind of person who would celebrate Valentine's Day with so much excitement and as such, but may bake something just for the heck of it, and just another reason to bake! If anybody is celebrating Valentine’s Day, this is for you!

Here I am sharing with you one of my favourite macaron flavours - Rose water and cardamom. I love the delightful flavour that rosewater imparts in any dish and cardamom is my favourite. The pair makes magical combination of flavours. Not so French flavours for this ever popular French cookie, but macaron takes it well. Recipe is Inspired from Meeta of www.whatsforlunchhoney.net.

Rosewater Macarons with Cardamom Infused White Chocolate Ganache
Makes 15 medium sandwiched cookies

For shells:  

65g Almond (slivers, blanched or powder)
100g Icing sugar
30g caster sugar
52g Egg whites
¼ tsp freshly ground cardamom
¾ tsp rosewater
few drops of red food colour

White chocolate Ganache:

100g white chocolate
100mls double cream
1/8 tsp cardamom powder
1 tsp rosewater

Preparation (shells):
Note: Please check my first post here for all the tips, links and macaron template. 

1. Place egg whites in a clean bowl. Cover it with a cling cover and poke few holes in the film. Keep it in your kitchen counter for 24-48 hours or in fridge for up to 5 days. This is called ageing of egg-whites. This helps to reduce the moisture content in the egg whites and helps to make firmer shells. Fresh egg whites make fragile cookies which may break off as you try to lift them off the baking paper.

2. Powder almonds and icing sugar in a food processor or a grinder into very flour-like fine powder. Transfer them to a large bowl and sieve 1-2 times to break up the lumps. Discard the large grains of almonds if any. Transfer them to a large mixing bowl and keep aside while you work with meringue.

3. For making meringue, using an electric blender, whisk egg whites in a squeaky clean bowl on high until it starts to form soft peaks. Add in caster sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. It should be like a smooth, glossy shaving cream like form. If adding any colour, add once stiff peaks are formed and then beat again to bring back to peaks. Make sure it is not over beaten and dry, which would result in dry shells. All I do is, I whip the meringue until it reach a stage that when you invert the bowl of whipped meringue, its stays in place without sliding down all the way out. I keep checking in between whipping to see if the meringue is sliding down the bowl and keep on beating it until it stops sliding down.

4. Add meringue to the dry mixture in 2-3 portions and start folding it until everything is just combined and no more of dry mixture could be seen. Use a flexible spatula for this and mix until you get a smooth, shiny batter that ruggedly drips down the spoon once you lift it. DO NOT over mix once you have reached that thick batter stage. For testing, place a teaspoon of batter in a plate and you see it spreading flat, then the batter should be ready. If it has a peak on top, give couple more folds and check again.

5. Line your baking sheet with baking paper or silpat. Fit your piping bag with a round tip nozzle and place it in a tall glass or a jar to ease you while scooping the batter in. Once the batter is all scooped in, twist the ends of piping bag tight to seal the batter in. Pipe out small rounds of about 2 cm diameter on your baking paper leaving about 2 inches in between. The macaron batter will spread and then join hands with the next one if they are piped too close, so make sure leave atleast 2 inches between them. Rap the baking sheet few times on a table to remove any bubbles trapped in the batter. (To help you with the round shape, you can use this template).

6. Let the macarons sit to dry for as long as it forms a thin skin on top or is dry and leaves no indentation once touched or the batter doesn’t stick to hands once touched. It depends from place to place depending on the weather and humidity, it takes upto 3 hours.

7. Preheat the oven to 140 degress Celcius. Bake the macaron for 11-13 minutes. Do not open the oven until they are completely done. Take them out and let them cool down for half an hour or so. Peel them out gently and sort them out with same size shells. Fill them with Ganache and leave it in fridge to mature for a day or two to get maximum flavour out of it. It is very important to mature the cookies as that filling will steep into the shells and the flavours blend well. Unfilled shells can be frozen.

For the filling:
Bring double cream to simmering point in a heavy base pan or in microwave. Once you start seeing small bubbles appearing along the sides, turn the heat off and add chopped chocolates into it. Leave it for couple of minutes, add rose water and cardamom powder and then stir well until combined. Leave aside until it firms enough to pipe. You can also pop it into fridge once warm and then take it out once firm enough to pipe.

And Last, but not least this post also goes to MacAttack challenge 27 at Mactweets Blog.They are celebrating Macaron day on 20th, So Iam marking my presence there.

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