Caramel Koala Macarons


Caramel Koala Macarons
For the macarons: 

  • 100g aged egg whites (you can use fresh eggs too, just make sure they are room temperature. I always use fresh these days, and zap it in the microwave on defrost for 10 seconds)
  • 110g almond meal, at room temperature and well sifted
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 50g caster sugar
  • Optional: 1 tsp powdered egg whites (available from The Essential Ingredient), helps to stabilise egg whites but is not necessary
  • To decorate: black food colouring (I used Wilton's black gel icing colour), white heart-shaped sprinkles

For the chocolate ganache:

  1. 150g (5.3 ounces) good quality milk chocolate, finely chopped
  2. 100ml (just under 1/2 cup) pure/pouring cream (or heavy whipping cream in the US, min 35% fat unthickened)

For the caramel:

  1. I used a half batch of this caramel recipe, an easier and less messy alternative is to make dulce de leche (instructions here), or skip the caramel entirely and use Caramello Koalas when making the ganache 
  2. Prepare the macarons first; line two baking sheets with baking paper. Place icing sugar in food processor and pulse for a minute to remove any lumps. Stir in almond meal and pulse for about 30 seconds to combine. Place in a large mixing bowl and set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites and egg white powder in a medium mixing bowl until the egg white powder dissolves and it reaches soft peaks. With the mixer on high speed, gradually add sugar and beat until it reaches stiff peaks.
  3. Add meringue and a small amoutn of black food colouring (to tint the mixture light grey) to your dry mixture and mix, quickly at first to break down the bubbles in the egg white (you really want to beat all the large bubbles out of the mixture, be rough!), then mix carefully as the dry mixture becomes incorporated and it starts to become shiny again. Take care not to overmix, the mixture should flow like lava and a streak of mixture spread over the surface of the rest of the mixture should disappear after about 30 seconds. Place most of the mixture in a piping back with a 1cm round tip, leave about 3-4 tbsp of the mixture in the bowl (will be used for piping the noses).
  4. Pipe 3cm circles of mixture plus two small 0.5 cm circles connected to each of these to form the face and the ears of the koala. Add more black food colouring to the remaining mixture in the bowl and place in a separate piping bag with a narrow tip (I used a 3mm round tip). Carefully pipe small black ovals in the centre of each koala face, for the nose. Tap baking sheets carefully and firmly on the benchtop a couple times to remove any large bubbles. Very carefully place white heart sprinkles in the centre of each ear (this step is optional, or you could keep some of the macaron mixture white and pipe this in the middle of each ear instead).
  5. Leave to dry for at least half an hour, so that when you press the surface of one gently it does not break. This will help prevent any cracking and help the feet to form on the macs. Preheat your oven to 140-150°C (285-300°F), depending on your oven. Place on top of an overturned roasting tray or another baking sheet if your sheets are not professional grade, for better heat distribution. Bake for 20-25 minutes, depending on the size of your shells. Carefully test if the base of the shell is ready by gently lifting one and if it's still soft and sticking to the baking paper, then it needs to bake for a few minutes longer. Remove from the oven and cool on the tray for a few minutes, then gently remove from the sheet and place on a wire rack to cool completely. I used a skewer dipped in black food colouring to draw on the eyes and mouth, you could also use a black edible ink pen or royal icing.
  6. Prepare the caramel as per the recipe linked above and set aside to cool then place in a piping bag. Prepare the ganache; place chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and gently heat cream in a small saucepan until it just comes to the boil, then pour hot cream over the chocolate and set aside for a few minutes to allow the chocolate to melt. Using a whisk, gently combine mixture until it is smooth (if there are still lumps, place the bowl over a pot of simmering water and stir until they are gone). Set aside to cool (or chill if you want to speed it up), until has returned to room temperature and is thickened but still pipable. Place in a piping bag with a narrow round tip, pipe a ring of ganache just inside the end of one side of a macaron, and fill the centre with caramel. Sandwich macaron with another shell, repeat with remaining shells. Chill in the fridge in an airtight container overnight, serve at room temperature.


http://www.raspberricupcakes.com/2012/08/caramel-koala-macarons.html

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