Week 10 of Bake Off saw the final three bakers being tested on multiple baking disciplines: the bakers had to tackle puff pastry in the signature custard slice, tackle biscuits in the walnut whirl technical challenge and tackle cakes, pastry, biscuits in the final showstopping dessert tower challenge. The theme of the dessert tower challenge was to reflect on their Bake Off journey and for my final bake of this year’s Bake Along, I thought I would do the same with my Bounty Coconut Macarons.
Macarons have been one of the bakes that I’ve never managed to get my head around. Seeing other bakers perfect them had always made me slightly envious as it was a bake I could not do. Despite this, I was never deterred and knew that one day, I wanted and WOULD master these deceptively difficult little treats. During lockdown this year, I decided to revisit this bake and came across these videos for a macaron recipe that required no resting. I’ve attached one of them below:
I was taken aback by this recipe since I had always been taught that macarons needed resting which were important to get the feet, the ruffled edge, an important aesthetic point for macarons. But after watching the video, I realised that the important step here was the consistency of the batter. The video refers to it as “cake batter that flows” which I find a hard consistency to judge. During my tests, I always the video playing while I was mixing so I could see when the batter was fold back on itself in the bowl and begin to sink back into the batter. There is a noticeable gloss to the batter at this stage so this is what you need to keep an eye out for.
Using this recipe, I have had the most success in all of my macaron baking. Here are some of my other macarons using the same base recipe:
I was inspired by the Bounty combination after having some desiccated coconut which I needed to use up in the cupboard as well as some leftover chocolate buttercream from a separate cake that I had made. Half of the macaron shells get sprinkled with coconut before baking which toasts in the oven and adds some great texture and a toasted coconut aroma. The macarons are filled with chocolate buttercream and then rolled in coconut which makes them look like ice cream oyster shells, which are dipped in chocolate and coconut!
To get perfectly round shells, I use a 4cm metal round cutter dipped into some of the batter that is left on the spatula or in the bowl to mark rounds on the baking tray for me to pipe the macaron batter. This ensures that all the macarons are approximately the same size and easier to pair up macaron shells.
For the macaron shells:
- 80g ground almonds
- 75g icing sugar
- 60g egg white (about 2 large egg whites)
- 80g granulated sugar
- Desiccated coconut, to sprinkle on top
For the chocolate buttercream:
- 100g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- 200g icing sugar, sifted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 50g dark chocolate, melted
- 2 tbsp milk
- Desiccated coconut, to sprinkle on the sides
Preheat the oven to 140˚C. Line a large baking tray with a sheet of baking parchment. Place the ground almonds and the icing sugar into a bowl and use a fork to mix them together until the almonds are coated.
Into a clean metal bowl, whisk the egg whites with an electric whisk until they begin to look foamy. Add in the granulated sugar a quarter at a time, adding in more sugar once the previous sugar has been incorporated. Continue to whisk the meringue until the meringue holds stiff peaks; this means that you can pull out the whisk and the meringue will remain stiff.
Add in the ground almonds and icing sugar all at once and use a spatula to fold in the almonds and icing sugar. Continue to fold and work the batter scraping the sides of the bowl and squishing the batter until the macaron batter becomes glossy, flows freely off of the spatula and sinks back into the macaron batter easily. Stop mixing and immediately transfer the batter to a piping bag, twisting the top to seal.
Dip a 4cm round cutter into some of the leftover batter and use it to mark rings to pipe the batter into on your baking tray. Cut off a 0.5mm hole from the piping bag and holding the piping bag vertically, apply pressure to pipe just enough batter so the edges of the macaron touch the edge of the ring. Repeat until all rings on the baking tray are filled. Give the tray a firm tap on the work surface to expel any large air bubbles. (You know if your macarons will turn out well if the batter smooths out naturally and looks glossy. Sprinkle half of the macarons with some desiccated coconut for the top shells.
Bake the macarons for 14 – 15 minutes until the macarons have risen, turned a pale golden brown and they can be lifted completely off of the baking tray. Leave the macarons to cool completely on the baking tray.
Meanwhile prepare the chocolate buttercream by whisking the butter until it is light and fluffy. Add in the icing sugar in two portions, beating well between each addition. Add in the vanilla extract and beat until the buttercream is lighter in colour and the sugar has dissolved. Pour in the cooled melted chocolate and beat until the chocolate is all incorporated. If the buttercream feels too thick, beat in the milk to loosen. Let the buttercream firm up slightly in the fridge for 15 minutes or at room temperature if cool enough. Then transfer to a piping bag.
Pair up the macaron shells whose bases match up nicely, making sure the bottom shell is a plain shell and the top shell is topped with coconut. Pipe some of the chocolate buttercream onto the base of the plain shell and sandwich with the top shell, pushing down so the chocolate buttercream just comes to the edges. Sprinkle the exposed edge with coconut so it sticks to the buttercream. Repeat with the rest of the useable macarons and the buttercream.
This recipe post marks the end of my 3rd year of baking along with the Bake Off! Make sure to check out my other recipes for the Bake Off Bake Along:
- Cake Week: Chocolate Hazelnut Battenberg Cake
- Biscuit Week: Florentine Biscuit Bars
- Bread Week: Carrot Cake Soda Bread
- Chocolate Week: Nutella Chocolate Brownies
- Pastry Week: Leftover Chicken and Stuffing Pasties
- Japanese Week: Totoro Matcha Chiffon Cake
- 80s Week: Brown Sugar Custard Doughnuts
- Dessert Week: Mini Apple Crumble Baked Cheesecakes
- Patisserie Week: Neapolitan Mousse Cube Cakes
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