Im posting this recipe up on March 20th, Macaron Day 2016. I love a good made up food holiday, especially those involving sweets. These little goodies are the bastard love child of French Macarons and Canadian Nanaimo Bars – Nanaimo Bar Macarons. If you’ve never had a Nanaimo bar, I have to warn you that they are sweet enough to make you cough a little. You know what I mean? It’s not a bad thing, more like a wow-those-are-sweet-as-hell thing.
Nanaimo bars traditionally have a bottom layer similar to a coconut brownie. To give the macarons a coconut flavour, I added a smidge of coconut extract to the macaron batter. I used a light hand, but if you love coconut you could add more than the 1/2 tsp the recipe calls for.
The filling is a buttercream made with a couple of tablespoons of Birds Custard Powder. The custard powder is important, don’t try to skip it or you won’t be getting the full Nanaimo Bar experience.
The top layer of a Nanaimo Bar is chocolate ganache. I thought I’d be a fancy pants and temper some chocolate and dip the shells instead. If you look closely at the photos you can tell I did a crappy job of tempering and they bloomed a bit. Looks like I need to practice my tempering technique.
I’m not going to kid you, this recipe is long. If you haven’t made macarons before you are going to want to read it over a few times before attempting. Macarons take practice and it’s a rite of passage to screw them up a couple of times before you master them. Trust me. I mess them up all the time.
Happy Macaron Day!
- 150 ml of egg whites (approx. 5 eggs)
- 200 grams almond flour
- 200 grams confectioners' sugar
- 30 grams cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp coconut extract
- 200 grams (1 cup) of white sugar
- 60 ml (1/4 cup) water
- 60 grams butter, softened
- 2 tbsp custard powder
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 250 grams icing sugar
- 2 tbsp milk
- 250 grams top quality dark couverture
- Sift the almond flour, confectioners sugar, cocoa powder into a large bowl. You may have to work in batches, using a rubber spatula to push the mixture through. Once you've sifted it all, give it a whisk and make sure it is evenly blended.
- Pour 75ml of the egg whites into the bowl of your stand mixture and set aside.
- Stir your coconut extract into the leftover egg whites and pour it over the almond flour and confectioners' sugar mixture. Mix thoroughly with a rubber spatula until the mixture is completely even. Set this mixture aside.
- In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Bring the temperature of this mixture up to 245F. This can take several minutes but keep a close eye on it because you don't want it to overheat.
- While the sugar is heating up, whip the egg whites on medium-high speed until they form medium-firm peaks then turn the speed down to low.
- Once the sugar has reached 245F, remove it from the heat and pour it into the mixer carefully. It might splatter a bit, but don't worry about it. Do not scrape down the bowl. Once you've poured it all in, turn the speed up to high and beat it for approximately 8-10 minutes. The mixture will be glossy and fluffy.
- Grab the bowl of almond mixture and then dump in the meringue. Give this a thorough stir, scooping and turning the mixture over until it is evenly mixed. When it is ready, the texture should be lava-like and fall off your spatula in thick ribbons.
- Put half of the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a ½ inch tip.
- Squeeze the batter onto the silpat or parchment in 1.5 inch rounds. This may take some practice. The mixture will settle a bit, so don't worry if they are a bit uneven on top.
- Once you've filled the tray, you need to remove any air bubbles. The best way to do this is to pick up the tray and drop it back on the counter. This is loud and obnoxious, but it works. Do it twice for good measure.
- Refill the pastry bag and repeat the process until all the batter is portioned out.
- Set the trays aside to set for 30 minutes or so. A gentle fan blowing over the trays can help the process along. They are ready to bake when you can touch them gently without them sticking to your finger.
- Preheat the oven to 350F with the rack set to the middle. This number is a guideline, it may take some tweaking to get the temperature just right.
- Bake the first tray for 6 minutes then rotate the pan and continue baking for 6-9 minutes.
- They should be slightly dry around the edges, you might need to sacrifice one to check if the bottom is cooked but don't try to pull them all off too early. Instead, slide the silpat or parchment off the pan and let them cool completely before pulling them off.
- Repeat the process with the second tray, making any temperature or time adjustments necessary.
- Once they have cooled completely, match them up into pairs based on size.
- Cream the butter, custard powder and vanilla together in your stand mixer on medium until completely smooth.
- Add half the powdered sugar to the mix and then add one tbsp of milk, combine until smooth.
- Add the rest of the powdered sugar and milk and combine until smooth.
- Cool in the fridge slightly until ready to pipe macarons.
- Temper chocolate (see notes) and dip the top half of each macaron in chocolate. Allow the chocolate to dry before filling.
- Using a piping bag, fill the macarons with a generous swirl of buttercream and sandwich the macarons together.
- Store in the fridge.
- For chocolate tempering method, visit Ecole Chocolate's informative tutorial: http://www.ecolechocolat.com/en/chocolate-tempering.html
What we used today
Jasmine co-founded Chocolate Codex as a way to share her enthusiasm for chocolate. She has a certificate in Chocolate making from Ecole Chocolat and she runs a foodblog called The Blenderist.