After missing the last few rounds of Mac Attack challenges, I am finally back! Thanks to Jamie of Lifesafeast, who reminded me this month's challenge was due this week when I met her at last weekend's Food Bloggers Connect (more on that soon I promise!), I am back with a vengeance!
This month's theme is "Take A Walk on The Wild Side", macarons inspired by Africa and the safari. The first thing that sprung to my mind when I thought about the theme was zebras. Don't ask me why but somehow that's the first animal that popped up in my head :) And since this month the World Cup kicks off in South Africa, I thought I'd make black & white macarons, inspired by both zebras and footballs! Other than the colours, I picked sesame as a flavour as it comes both in black and white variations and I love black sesame anything.
I made the shells using the tried and trusted recipe adapted from Cannelle et Vanille's basic recipe,
colouring half the shells with black colouring (though it didn't really come out very black) and left the other half au naturel. While they were drying, I sprinkled some black sesame seeds on the white shells and white sesame seeds on the dark shells. As for the filling, I whipped up a creme chantilly and flavoured it with black sesame paste (see recipe below).
Macaron Shells (makes about 50-54 shells)
recipe adapted from Cannelle & Vanille
100g egg whites, aged
3g egg white powder
130g almond flour (blitz in food processor to get a finer texture)
160g icing sugar
55g castor sugar
black gel food colouring (according to how dark you want it, I put about 1/4 tsp)
1 tsp black sesame seeds
1 tsp white sesame seeds
Sift icing sugar and processed almond flour together in a bowl. Set aside.
Mix egg whites with egg white powder and whisk in electric mixer until soft peaks on medium high speed.
Lower speed on electric mixer and add in castor sugar slowly while still whisking until fully incorporated. Continue whisking on medium high speed until your egg white meringue mixture reaches stiff peak stage.
Fold in 1/3 of dry ingredients (icing sugar + almond flour) into meringue with a spatula gently. Add in 1/3 more and fold again before mixing in the last 1/3 of the dry ingredients. Make sure all dry ingredients are incorporated into the meringue and start folding mixture more vigorously to form a shiny batter with the consistency of flowing magma or drips down like ribbons when you lift the batter up and let it drip down, and it should slowly disappear into itself without leaving a peak. Be careful not to over mix. If you are adding colour, add it just after all dry ingredients have been incorporated and before working the mixture into a shiny mass.
Line 2 baking trays with non-stick parchment paper (or silpat). You can stick it down with bits of batter in the four corners.
Fill a piping bag fitted with a 1cm round tip with the batter, and pipe even rounds of batter, about 3cm across, onto the tray. If you've mixed the batter properly, it should not spread flatly out too much (overmixed) or leave a peak (undermixed). Sprinkle sesame seeds on top of shells.
Let the batter dry for about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 170 deg C (convection oven or 180 dec C if conventional oven).
When batter is dry to touch (it forms a slight crust), turn the oven down to 140 deg C (or 150 deg C for conventional oven) and bake shells for 14-15 min, turning the trays halfway through baking.
After baking, lift parchment onto wire rack to let shells cool and gently unmould when cool.
Black Sesame Cream Filling
200ml whipping cream
20g icing sugar
20g black sesame paste (available from japanese grocery stores)
Whisk whipping cream in electric mixer on medium high speed until almost stiff, taking care not to overwhip.
Sift icing sugar over whipped cream and continue whisking to incorporate, until cream is stiff.
Fold in black sesame paste with a spatula until evenly incorporated.
Fill cream into piping bag fitted with 1cm round tip.
Match pairs of shells of even size.
Pipe a small mound of cream filling onto one half of each pair of shells.
Top with the other shell.
So there you go, my entry for Mac Attack 8!
Also wanted to share some other pictures I took the other day when the girls came over for a girly sleepover. I was very inspired by the flowers I saw on my way home, and spent wayyyy too much than my usual flower budget on many different types of flowers. Arranged them into several different designs and decorated the house with them. We also went to Borough Market and bought saucisson, cheese and fruits for a pre-dinner snack, accompanied by some lovely Gewurztraminer. I do miss doing flowers, really need to practice more often, though it's not a cheap hobby!