What else can I turn into a macaron? I wondered out loud one day at the supermarket.
It’s been eight months, and I am still making macarons. I can’t see this quest finishing any time soon and I don’t think this is a phase either.
Having read and watched Adriano Zumbo make his macarons, I can see how far and wide you could reach to create a new flavour. No longer am I satisfied with just colouring my shells and filling them with ingredients that matches that particular colour of the shell – I want people to eat my macarons and actually think they are eating popcorn instead, for example.
So I wander in the supermarket aisles, looking out for any contestants that has the potential to survive a macaron makeover.
Ah hah – I spot a large packet of Oreos, cookies and cream biscuits made by Kraft. They look like macarons already! Mwaaahaahaa I rub my hands together with glee, as the little oreos scream ‘don’t blitz us please’….
Another wonderful Masterchef ‘invention test’ macaron flavour I think.
Macarons shell ingredients
150 g icing sugar
130 g almond meal
20 g ground oreo shells
8g valrhona cocoa powder
110 g egg whites, split into 2 bowls of 55g each
150 g caster sugar
38 ml water
1 g meringue powder
Making macarons shells
Open the oreo shells and scrape off the cream filling. Reserve.
Grind oreo shells in a powerful food processor or magic bullet and gave it 15 seconds of blitzing and there you’ll have finely grounded, cookie crumbs.
Sift the almond meal, icing sugar, cocoa powder and cookie crumbs, set aside in a large wide bowl.
Put the first lot of egg whites into your stand mixer.
Clip the sugar thermometer according to manufacturer’s instructions to a milk saucepan, put the water and caster sugar in and dissolve the sugar over a low heat. Leave it to heat up and don’t stir it.
Cook the sugar syrup until it reaches 70°C. You should monitor your sugar thermometer, and as it reaches this temperature, add the meringue powder to the egg whites and whisk in medium speed until it becomes frothy.
Once the sugar syrup has reached 118°C (soft ball stage), take the saucepan off the heat, keep the mixer speed on medium and slowly trickle the sugar syrup in, down the side of the bowl. (Be warned not to get the syrup onto the whisk as you will then have spun sugar.) Increase speed to high and whisk until the bowl is warm to touch, about 8 minutes.
Add the second lot of egg whites to the almond meal mix, then add the meringue and use a large spatula to thoroughly combine it. Continue mixing the mixture to soften the meringue. Don’t be afraid to slap the mixture down.To achieve “macaronnage”, I mixed the batter about 25 times. Don’t over do this.
Scoop half into a piping bag fitted with a #12 Wilton tip, and pipe. To get even rounds, I hold the piping bag above the baking sheet, with the tip at a 45 degree angle. I squeeze the mixture in the centre of my rounds and as it is close to filling my circle, I stop squeezing and flick the tip from three o’clock to 6 o’clock. This ensures a smooth top.
Sprinkle some of the ground Oreo cookies onto half of the shells.
Allow 30 minutes for a skin to be formed.
Fan-bake them at 125°C, for 20 minutes. After a few minutes in the oven, I could see them rising nicely.
Once out of the oven, the macarons were left for 2 minutes on its trays before I checked them. They peeled off the baking paper quite easily. I then slid the whole sheet off the baking sheet onto my cool marble counter top. This causes a thermal shock and will make it even easier to peel off.
I paired these with a cookies and cream filling
5 Oreos (blitzed) + remaining cream centres from previous shells
120g icing sugar
Cream butter and sugar together.
Blitz the cookies and mix in with the creamed sugar.
Fill half of your shells and top them with the remaining half of your shells.
The filled macarons need to be kept in the fridge for 24 hours for the filling to flavour the shells, so don’t eat it yet! These freeze well (up to 3 months).