Sunday, November 30, 2014

Spiced Apple Cider Macarons

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I am so thankful for all of the support that this blog has had over the past year and a half. It's so exciting to see my growth throughout the time. I hope to continue to let my creativity flow through this blog!

Speaking of continuity, I actually used the apple butter that I made for last week's post to make these macarons! My cousin, Suzi was begging for some, so I figured I should oblige and made some delicious, seasonal spiced apple cider macarons! These macarons have a great apple flavor, with the homey cinnamon aroma. The little bit of spiced rum adds a depth to the ganache and cuts some of the sweetness.


Spiced Apple Cider Macarons (Makes about 20 Macarons)
Shells
100 g Almond Flour
120 g Confectioner's Sugar
50 g Granulated Sugar
70 g Egg Whites (2 large whites)
1/2 tsp Cinnamon

1. Pulse almond flour 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 powdered sugar, cinnamon, and almond flour 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.

Spiced Rum Ganache
8 oz White Chocolate
5 oz Heavy Cream
1 oz Spiced Rum
1 tbsp Butter

1. In a small pot, scald cream.
2. Place white chocolate in a bowl, and pour the hot cream over the chocolate.
3. Allow it to sit slightly, and then mix to incorporate completely.
4. Add butter to the white chocolate mixture when it is smooth, but not yet cool. Then, add the rum.
5. Allow the ganache to cool and set.
6. Once the ganache is thick, use a mixer to whip to medium peaks. Pipe immediately.

Apple Butter
3 Apples
1 tbsp Honey
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 cup Water

1. Peel and core the apples.
2. Cut the apples into a medium dice and place into a medium saucepan.
3. Add the remaining ingredients and stir.
4. Cook over low heat for about 1.5 hours, stirring every 5 minutes.
5. Cook until the apples are very tender, and the water has evaporated out. However, do not let the apples dry out completely, as they will burn.
6. Use an immersion blender to break up the apples to a smooth consistency. It should look like a very thick applesauce.
7. If the apple butter is not thickened, return to the heat and reduce slightly.
8. Cool in a thin layer on a pan or a plate.

Assembly
1. Pair the shells by size. You should have about 20 pairs of shells.
2. On the surface of the bottom of the shell, place a small pinch of apple butter in the center. It should be enough for a small surprise. 
3. Put the ganache into a piping bag with the same tip that you used to pipe the macarons.
4. Pipe the ganache so that it is covering about 1/2 of the surface of the bottom of the shell.
5. Put the pairs together to create a "sandwich". 
6. Place in the fridge overnight to allow the flavors to develop.
7. Let the macarons come to room temperature before you serve them.

These macarons were a great way to cross-utilize the apple butter (although it is delicious on toast), and create a fun, seasonal flavor for the holidays! They taste reminiscent of warm apple cider on a cold day! Try these unique macarons- you won't regret it!

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