They call me Mac – a –Looney

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

“I’m running out of time, I really need to make some macarons tonight!” - I clump around the kitchen pulling out mixing bowls and beaters.  Mr. Kitchen Hand just looks at me quizzically. “Didn’t you just make some a few days ago?” No, that batch was a couple of weeks ago. “What about the time before that” he asks. That was in October, for the Daring Bakers! Giving up in confusion, he shuffles off to bed, and I hear him mutter under his breath, “Goodnight, you macalooney”.

At least I know that there are others out there who share my brand of lunacy. There’s even a clubhouse with secret password and everything. (The Mactweets clubhouse is here, and the password? Just tweet Deeba or Jamie that you want to join in. They’re lovely and won’t make you go through any initiation rites).

I’m not sure if I’m posting on time, but having jumped the gun earlier, this time I wanted to wait until the very last minute. Hope it still counts!

With the holidays just round the corner, I went for a Christmas pudding flavoured macaron, filled with rum butter (no brandy in our house).  Please accept my apologies for taking this elegant tidbit and giving it such a garish colour scheme. It was definitely accidental - didn’t realise how much colour was sticking to the inside of the piping bag until it was too late! (Always wanted to try this brush striping colour technique).

The actual mac making experience was quite interesting, to say the least. Best explained in picture form:

No guts, no glory mac-making. Decided to add two dried figs into the macaron shell mixture (recipe below). Also added breadcrumbs and chirstmassy spices like nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves. To try and break down the figs, I whizzed them  in the food processor, with the breadcrumbs and almond meal. Took forever and the almond meal was in danger of turning into almond butter. So I tipped the mixture out and tried to grind it in the mortar and pestle. Then seive and repeat ad nauseaum! Finally got so bored of it, tipped the final bits back into food processor with the icing sugar. End result? Stopping to poke bits of dried fig out of piping tip every two minutes!

The brush striping technique as mentioned. I don't always use disposable piping bags but I don't have a large enough piping tip and these ones were just right. To ease my conscience, I wash and reuse the bags - so far I've gone 5 rounds on the same bag with no ill effects (but this changed as you will see) :)

 The blogeritis has hit hard. I know I'm in trouble when the piping bag bursts and I reach for the camera instead of the cleaning cloth! The bag burst because I was so fed up of fishing out fig bits I kind of squeezed a bit harder than usual.

All's well in the end. The first lot baked perfectly, and I believe tht drying time (very long) really helped.I had the brown top/sticky bottom dilemma on all the subsequent batches though. At first I though it was drying time, but wondering if my hands are too hot and the macaron mixture was affected inside the piping bag?

Apart from the garish colours, they taste really good!

Christmas Pudding Macaron Shells:

Dried breadcrumbs 30g
Almond meal 50g
Icing sugar 135 g
Caster sugar 20g
Egg whites 60g
Pinch of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg
2 dried figs (I used mission figs).

For method, visit the Mactweets site for a tutorial.


Hungry Dog said...

Shaz! I am always totally impressed by your dedication. Who else whips up a batch of holiday macaroons as everyone else is going to bed? I love it! And for the record, sometimes I LIKE garish colors!!

Hungry Dog said...

Me again. Just sent some blog love your way over at the hungry dog... :)

Barbara Bakes said...

LOL - I loved this post - I even read it to my kitchen hand! So funny - macalooney! I've definitely felt like that. But in the end your macs look great. What perfectly lovely feet!

Elizabeth - Cake or Death said...

Haha, I feel like I have definitely been there, squeezing things out of the piping bag every 2 seconds. I love your creative flavors and holiday colors!

shaz said...

Thanks so much for the award Hungry Dog! And I kind of have to bake when the others are in bed otherwise I get a lot of "help" (as in, can I help you lick the bowl, can I touch it? can I help you sieve ? oh please, please, please?)

Thanks Barbara :) My kitchen Hand is constantly bemused but at least he likes to eat so he puts up with it!

shaz said...

Thanks Liz:) Piping bags are quite frustrating sometimes!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Aww they're brilliant! I had similar macarons on my "to bake" list but they're slightly different (although yours sound nicer haha!)

Barbara said...

I can't do a blessed thing after dinner! It would have to be an emergency to get me in the kitchen after hours. So I am impressed with your determination that time of night.
I loved your story about the color of your macarons, Shaz! Who else would accidentally turn out a perfect holiday macaron? They look like darling little ornaments!

shaz said...

Thanks Lorraine - I'm sure yours will be lots more elegant and pretty :)

Thanks Barbara - i didn't think of that but yes, I can see how they look a bit like baubles :)

Megan@Feasting on Art said...

So clever! Love it!

Ellie said...

I couldn't stop giggling after reading the title of your post. Mac-A-Looney!! I would have the response reaching out to the camera :) Love the red and green... so christmassy :)

Jamie said...

Oh lord, too funny! And the colors are amazing! How'd you do that? Wonderful addition to our holiday Mac Attack!

Grace said...

these are BEAUTIFUL! truly, shaz, they're the most unique and eye-catching macarons i've ever seen, and buddy, i've seen a lot. so festive, so fun--bravo!

Veggie Belly said...

I love the marbled look and that rum butter sounds insanely good!

Lori said...

Christmas and garish kind of go hand in hand. I think they are adorable.

pierre said...

Hi shaz these macarons are different and we don't see them any where else and thats great ! so good job !! cheers from Paris Pierre

shaz said...

Thanks Megan

ha ha Ellie, you have pretty bad blogeritis too :)

Cheers Jamie

Thanks a bunch Grace

Yes Veggie Belly they tasted awesom, in fact this was probably the only batch I didn't share with anyone :P

Yes Lori, I do have to agree.

ha ha Pierre, i think a real french chef would run a mile if faced with one of these !

Cristie said...

I love your Christmas Mac's! I have so much to learn about how to make them- you have feet, so impressed!!

lisamichele said...

shaz, I cannot believe I missed these! The red and green striped piping macs are amazing..but the sweet potato and pecan pie ones are driving me crazy! Must have, must have! My flavors pale in comparison! Have a wonderful holiday!!

Gabriella said...

Dear Testwithskewer, the christmas pudding macaroon shells look awesome~I really like how you showed photos of what can go wrong, and how the end result is totally worth it. I especially like how you used figs, which are generally hard to find fresh, and maybe they made the recipe harder, but it is a great addition. Also, very cute how your hubby called you a macalooney! This site was such a pleasure to visit. Well presented, clean, clear and beautiful photos. I shall be returning for another delicious bite. Thank you for sharing.
Cheers, Gaby
You can visit me at

shaz said...

Thanks Gabriella :)