The Mint Slice macaron experiment
I love my chocolate biccies (Aussie slang for biscuits). I’ve been known to have a stash of around 4-5 packets of chocolate biccies at home, and when I was working, they would be in my work drawer (locked of course) for my lunch dessert. The stash would usually consist of Tim Tams, in a multitude of flavours, and Mint Slice. So, when I had some leftover egg whites from making the petite croquembouche for Bastille Day, I thought it would be a good opportunity to do some experimenting with macarons and I used the Mint Slice as my inspiration. A word of warning: The last part of the method can get really messy, so if you’re not so inclined to licking melted chocolate off your fingers, you may want to use latex gloves. This recipe makes about 13-15 complete macarons.
Chocolate macaron shell recipe (adapted from Confessions of a Glutton)
105g icing sugar
55g almond meal
10g cocoa powder (I use Plaistowe’s dutch processed cocoa)
60g egg white, aged (approximately 2 large eggs)
40g caster sugar
White chocolate mint ganache
75g white chocolate
2 tbs thickened cream
1¼ tsp peppermint essence
200g dark chocolate
Combine the icing sugar, almond meal and cocoa powder, and sift the mixture twice. Discard any bits too big to pass through your sifter. This will ensure that your shells look smooth and shiny.
Transfer the egg whites into a larger bowl. Using an electric hand mixer, start beating the egg whites on medium speed until foamy, then switch to high speed and gradually add sugar. Keep beating the egg whites until stiff peaks form. To check whether or not your meringue has formed stiff peaks, turn the hand mixer off, pull the mixer straight upwards and turn the mixer on the side. If the meringue does not fold over itself, then your meringue is perfect.
Gently fold half of the icing sugar/almond meal/cocoa powder mixture into the meringue until combined. Add the other half of the icing sugar/almond meal/cocoa powder mixture and gently fold until the mixture has an oozy, magma-like consistency. This will take about 50-60 folds.
Line two large cookie sheets with non-stick baking paper. Transfer the macaron mixture to a piping bag that has a piping nozzle with a 1cm round tip fitted. Hold the piping bag at a 90 degree angle to the cookie sheet (that is, directly upwards). Squeeze out the mixture to form a 3-3.5 cm circle, then stop squeezing and move the bag in a half circle from a ‘six o’clock’ to ‘12 o’clock’ position. Make sure you leave a few centimetres between the macarons as you’re piping, to allow for spreading. Once you have piped your mixture, tap the cookie sheets (hard) against a flat surface. This will get rid of any air pockets in your shells. Leave the macarons to rest and form a ‘skin’ for 30 minutes; 15 minutes into resting time, preheat oven to 140°C/120°C (fan forced). The surface of your macarons should be dry and not sticky when lightly touched. Shove the cookie sheets into the oven for 12-15 minutes. The ‘feet’ should start appearing after 5 minutes.
To make the white chocolate mint ganache, pop the white chocolate and cream into a heatproof bowl and place it over a saucepan of simmering water (make sure the heat is turned down as low as possible). Make sure that the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Take the ganache off the heat and stir in the peppermint essence, then chuck it in the fridge to chill so it thickens up slightly; it should be of piping consistency.
Leave the macaron shells to cool slightly on the tray then give the shells a gentle wiggle to lift them off the baking paper. Once they have completely cooled, match up the shells, pipe or place a dollop of the white chocolate peppermint ganache on one of the shells and sandwich the filling with the other shell.
Before coating the macarons in chocolate, whack the completed macarons in the fridge overnight in an airtight container, or on a plate wrapped with cling wrap so the ganache can harden and the macaron can ‘mature’. When you are ready to coat the macarons, pop the dark chocolate into a heatproof bowl and melt over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring continuously and ensuring that the bottom doesn’t touch the water. Once the chocolate has melted, turn the heat off. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Place a macaron into the chocolate and use a spoon to spoon the chocolate over the top. Then use a fork to carefully lift the macaron out of the chocolate. Gently shake the fork so that the excess chocolate comes off into the bowl. Don’t shake too hard, otherwise your macaron will fall back into the chocolate, and you may break the shell. Run the bottom of the fork over a flat surface to remove any chocolate on the bottom of the fork, e.g. edge of the bowl or flat edge of a butter knife. Carefully place the coated macaron onto the lined baking tray. Once all of the macarons are coated, chuck the baking tray into the fridge to set the chocolate.
I gotta say, I was very happy with the result. The macaron did actually taste like a Mint Slice! And when you took a little bite of it, the middle looked like a Mint Slice too. A successful (and extremely tasty) experiment, I say!
- I’ve decided to move the ‘good to know’ information about making macarons to a separate page on my blog to reduce the length of my posts. If you would like to see this information, click here.
- I swear by the Confessions of a Glutton’s basic macaron shell recipe, and Cath (the author) has some amazing macaron flavours featured on her blog. To check out Cath’s macaron recipes, click here.
- I used this recipe for the white chocolate mint ganache. I adjusted the amounts to suit the number of macarons in this recipe.
- For coating the macarons in chocolate, I relied on the method outlined in Adriano Zumbo’s book Zumbarons. Adriano has some amazing and quirky macaron flavours in this particular book, for example, salted butter popcorn, hot x bun and toasted marshmallow, just to name a few. If you’re interested in checking out the book, click here.