CHOCOLATE MACARONS WITH SALTED CARAMEL TAHINI MILK CHOCOLATE GANACHE AND SESAME BRITTLE
Salted Caramel Tahini Milk Chocolate Ganache
- 270g milk chocolate, chopped
- 500g heavy cream
- 250g Tahini
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- ¾ tsp salt
- 35g water
- 240g sugar
- 30g light corn syrup or glucose
- 50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 60g (3 Tbsp) honey
- 15g (1 Tbsp) water
- 65g (½ cup) black sesame seeds
- 65g (½ cup) white sesame seeds
Chocolate Macaron Shells
- 170g ground almonds
- 270g powdered sugar
- 20g cocoa powder
- 180g egg whites, at room temperature
- 160g white sugar
SALTED CARAMEL TAHINI MILK CHOCOLATE GANACHE
- Place the chopped chocolate in a medium heat proof bowl.
- In a small, heavy bottomed saucepan, place the cream, tahini, vanilla bean paste and salt, and place over low heat. You just want to warm it - not let it boil. It will seem as if the mixture is very thick to begin with from the tahini but it will loosen up a little as it warms. Stir frequently and keep warm, but not boiling.
- In a medium heavy bottomed pan, combine the water, sugar, and corn syrup. Place over medium heat. Cook, stirring or swirling the pan occasionally, until the mixture is a deep amber colour. Remove from the heat and add a third of the warmed cream mixture. Be careful as it will steam and sputter. Whisk well to combine. Add the second third, combine, then add the remaining cream, and whisk until well incorporated.
- Pour a third of the caramel cream mixture over the chopped chocolate, then cover the bowl with a lid or plate and leave to stand for 2 minutes. Mix with a stick blender to emulsify the mixture. Add the remaining caramel mixture in two additions, mixing well with the stick blender to ensure even incorporation.
- Cool the mixture to 95°f / 35°c (you can either leave it at room temperature, stirring occasionally, which will take some time, or you can pop it into the fridge, stirring and checking the temperature often), then add in the butter and mix with the stick blender to emulsify. Transfer to an airtight container and leave to set overnight in the fridge.
- Preheat the oven to 325°f / 160°c. Line a sheet pan with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
- Combine the honey and water in a small saucepan, and gently heat until combined. Add the sesame seeds and stir until incorporated, then spread the mixture thinly onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the sesame seeds are golden and fragrant, checking frequently.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool - it will harden as it cools. Break into chunks. Store in an airtight container until needed.
CHOCOLATE MACARON SHELLS
- Preheat oven to 300˚f / 150˚c, and position the oven rack in the centre of the oven. Using a round cookie cutter or the base of a large piping tip (something about 1.5 inches in diameter), draw a "template" for your macarons on a piece of parchment paper, leaving about ¾" between each circle.
- Sift together the ground almonds, cocoa powder, and powdered sugar into a medium bowl. Sift again to ensure there are no large clumps.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add the sugar, increase the mixer speed, and whip on high until the meringue starts to firm up. Continue to whip until the meringue forms stiff peaks (there is a good example here).
- Remove the bowl from the mixer. Add half of the ground almond and powdered sugar mixture, and fold into the meringue. You want to deflate the meringue just a little at this stage, to combine the meringue and ground almond mixture.
- Add the remaining ground almond mixture, and stir lightly to combine. Now comes the important part - mixing the batter to the correct consistency. Again, this video does a good job of explaining it. Fold the mixture in a series of 'turns', deflating the batter by spreading it against the side of the bowl. Turn the bowl slightly and repeat the movement - scooping the batter from the bottom of the bowl, and spreading it against the side. Continuously check the consistency of the batter - you want it to flow like lava when you lift the spatula from the bowl, and you should be able to 'draw' a figure 8 with it, without the batter breaking (again, watch lots of videos to get an idea! They help so much). This step can take some practice until you know what it should feel and look like. If in doubt you are better to under mix them than over mix them - the process of putting the batter into the bag and piping out will help mix a little too.
- Fit a large pastry bag with a medium sized round tip, such as an ateco #805. Place the macaron template on a sheet pan, and place a second piece of parchment over it. Holding the piping bag at a 90˚ angle to the surface, pipe out the batter into blobs the size of the circles drawn on the template. Finish off each piped circle with a little "flick" of your wrist to minimise the batter forming a point (it will still form a small one, but we can get rid of this with banging). Remove the template from under the macarons.
- Hold the baking sheet in two hands, and carefully but firmly, evenly bang it against the bench. Repeat this a few more times - this will get rid of any air bubbles, remove points on the top, and help them to spread out slightly.
- Repeat the piping and banging process until you have used up all of the batter - I usually make three sheet pans worth.
- Allow the macarons to dry at room temperature for approximately 30 minutes, or until they form a skin that you can touch without your finger sticking to them. This time will drastically vary depending on the humidity.
- About fifteen minutes before you are going to bake the macarons, place a spare sheet pan in the oven to preheat - this is going to be used to place under the pan with the macarons on it, to double up, which should help with even baking. Bake the macarons one sheet at a time - place the sheet with the macarons on the preheated sheet, and place in the oven.
- Bake for 18-22 minutes, rotating the pan once during the cooking process, and checking for doneness after 15 minutes. The macarons should develop a foot (the ruffled part on the bottom of the macaron), and bake without browning. To see if they are done - press down lightly on a shell. If the foot gives way, it needs a little longer, if it is stable, then it is close to being done. Test a macaron shell - if you can peel it away cleanly from the paper, they are done. If they are stable but cannot yet peel away cleanly, give them another minute or so. Again, this part takes a little trial and error depending on your oven. If they seem done but do not peel away cleanly, do not worry - there is a little trick for that!
- Remove from the oven, and allow to cool on the sheet pan for 10 minutes before peeling off the parchment paper and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack. Repeat the baking with the remaining trays, using the same spare sheet pan to double up.
- If your macs do not peel away cleanly, place them, on the parchment paper, into the freezer for 5-10 minutes, then peel away from the paper.
- Store cooled macarons in an airtight container until ready to use.
- Place the salted caramel tahini ganache in a piping bag fitted with a round tip. Crumble some of the brittle into a bowl.
- Pair up the macaron shells, and pipe a blob of ganache on one half of each pair. Top with the second shell, pressing down to secure. Sprinkle with the sesame brittle.
- Macarons taste best if you 'mature' them in the fridge overnight to let the flavours meld, but they are perfect eaten immediately too! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.