Sunday, January 19, 2014

Eggnog Macarons


Holiday season is almost over, but winter flavors have not yet left! Here's a creative way to use eggnog before they're taken off the shelves! It's been a long time since I've put up a macaron post, so I wanted to share a recipe that I made over the holidays. These macarons are complex with the spiciness of the cinnamon and nutmeg, the creaminess of the eggnog, and the sharp, subtle whiskey flavor.

Eggnog Macaron
Shells
100g Almond Flour
120 g Confectioner's Sugar
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
50 g Granulated Sugar
70 g Egg Whites (2 large whites)

1. Pulse almond flour, spices, and powdered sugar in a food processor until very finely ground. Be careful not to grind too long, because it will release all of the oils, ruining your final product.
2. Sift the powder with a medium-mesh sieve.
3. Place the particles that are too large to fit through the sieve back into the food processor, pulse, and sift again. Throw out the excess pieces.
4. In a grease-free bowl, place your egg whites and sugar. Allow to sit for a few minutes to begin to dissolve.
5. Use grease-free beaters on high speed to whip the egg whites to stiff peaks.
6. Use a rubber spatula to fold the dry ingredients into the meringue until the batter moves slowly, like lava. If you run your spatula through it, it should fall together after 5-7 seconds.
7. Put the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large round tip (3/8 inch). 
8. Pipe rounds that are about an inch apart onto a nonstick baking mat (silpat) that is placed onto a cookie sheet. 
9. Do this by holding the bag straight up about half an inch above the silpat, applying pressure to the bag until about 1 inch in diameter, stopping pressure, and then removing by moving hand in a very small circular motion to release the tip from the macaron shell. Make sure there is enough space to spread.
10. Rap your cookie sheet/sheet pan on the table a few times to make sure there are no bumps on the macaron shells.
11. Let rest until dry to the touch (about 30-45 minutes, longer on rainy days).
12. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. If you have a convection oven, use convection.
13. Bake macaron shells on the second shelf of the oven for 14-17 minutes, until they do not wiggle when nudged.
14. Remove from oven and allow shells to cool completely before removing from the silpat.
   

Eggnog Spiced Ganache
4 oz White Chocolate
2 oz Eggnog
1 tbsp Whiskey
pinch Cinnamon
pinch Nutmeg

1. Place chocolate into a bowl.
2. Heat the eggnog until it boils.
3. Pour the hot eggnog over the chocolate. Gently stir until combined.

4. Add the whiskey to the ganache and mix to incorporate. Sprinkle the spices lightly on the top.
5. Cover the ganache with a piece of plastic wrap. Allow the wrap to touch the surface of the ganache so a film does not develop on the surface of the ganache.
6. Allow to cool to room temperature before using. If it is soft, allow to harden further in the fridge.
Assembly
1. Pair the shells by size. You should have about 20 pairs of shells.
2. Put the ganache into a piping bag with the same tip that you used to pipe the macarons.
3. Pipe the ganache so that it is covering about 3/4 of the surface of the bottom of the shell.
4. Put the pairs together to create a "sandwich". 
5. Place in the fridge overnight to allow the flavors to develop.
6. Let the macarons come to room temperature before you serve them. 

Though macarons are not easy to make, they are well worth the time and effort. They are delicate and sensitive, but the end product reveals the hard work and love put into it.

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