Making like a squirrel...(Macattack 13).

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It’s Mac-attack time again, and this month’s theme is Fall (Autumn). Our lovely hosts Jamie and Deeba tasked us with creating macarons that reminded us of the season.

As much as I bemoan the drop in temperatures, I actually secretly love fall/ autumn. You know, for all the obvious reasons: that slight nip in the air signalling the change of seasons, the colours of the foliage, the hint of woodsmoke in the air. I also love the fact that the water temperature is actually at its warmest. Unlike summer, where swimming can be put off for another time, we don’t waste a chance for a dip on a warm autumn day because we never know if it’s our last for the year. (Yes I know there are people who go swimming in winter but that’s just masochistic).

But best of all, I love being in the kitchen when it’s cooler. Stews and soups reappear on the menu, baking becomes almost a necessity and cups of tea are requisite. Like a squirrel, I start laying down stockpiles of chocolate for the winter. I hardly crave any in the warmer weather, but when it’s cold and gray outside, I pity anyone who’s around me when supplies run low.



So it wasn’t hard to decide what to make for the fall theme. I was quite surprised when I realised I’d never attempted chocolate macaron shells before. How did that happen? I used David Lebovitz’s recipe, found here, and I followed it with a few minor tweaks. I weighed the egg whites, using 70g, and I also baked the macarons at a lower temperature (around 150˚C) than the recipe called for.

The resulting shells looked wonderful and this is the first batch of French macarons that I haven’t struggled with the problem of overbrowning/ sticky bottoms. I think the cocoa powder had something to do with it. However, I found that the shells are slightly drier and crisper than the non-cocoa powder variety. Once they are filled though, it’s not as noticeable, but I highly, highly recommend letting the filled shells sit for at least a day so that the moisture spreads evenly through the whole thing and the flavours get a chance to shine.

For the filing, I used chestnuts. This was also an easy decision, nothing says cooler weather to me than the arrival of chestnuts. Ah, I know what you’re thinking: “But isn’t it almost summer where you are Shaz?” Well, I had done that squirrel thing at the end of the last chestnut season and stashed some away in the freezer.  Sometimes I amaze even myself ;P



I still have issues with my beating. The top shell was fine but the bottom shell had a bit of "doming" (which I think is caused by underbeating??)

I made a sweet chestnut puree by simmering about 2 cups of peeled chestnuts in 1 1/2 cups of sugar syrup. (My syrup = 3/4 cup sugar dissolved in 1 1/2 cup hot water). When the chestnuts were soft, I blitzed them in  food processor.The I whipped 1/2 cup pure cream until stiff peaks formed, and mixed half a cup of the cooled  chestnut puree through the cream. I stored the filled macarons in an airtight container in the fridge.

The bitterness of the cocoa powder and the mild filling make these chocolate chestnut macarons just right for those with a not-so-sweet tooth. The family loved them, as did I.  



“Fall into love with macarons all over again,” said the brief. I’ve never fallen out of love!

Thanks for the fun theme Jamie and Deeba! Don’t forget to check out what the rest of the Mactweet gang has come up with.

27 comments:

Lora said...

Chestnut chocolate - oh wow. Great flavors. Beautiful macs.

3 hungry tummies said...

They look amazing and love the chestnut filling. I won't attempt this with my doggy oven though :(

Heavenly Housewife said...

I've tried this recipe, and of all the one's i've used for making macs, this David Lebovitz one worked best for me. Your macs look absolutely fabulous daaaaahling.
*kisses* HH

♥LOVE2COOK♥ said...

Ahhhh macaroons! :DDDD

Jamie said...

I love chocolate and chestnut and it does mean fall and winter to me. I love these macs - domed or not - and I'll bet they were fabulously delicious! Can't believe you made your own chestnut cream! Yay you! Thrilled you baked for this month's Mac Attack!

Torviewtoronto said...

chocolate and chestnut lovely combination looks yummy

chocolatesuze said...

yum beautiful macs dude!

Juliana said...

Shaz, your macs look awesome...I still have to try to make them...love the idea of chestnut...and not too sweet :-)

Jennifurla said...

great job, they are gorgeous. Great shape. I have yet to bake macaroons...I also crave chocolate in the colder evening here

Lauren said...

You're brilliant! I just fell in love with chestnuts a few nights ago (first time I'd ever had them).. perhaps I'll buy up a few pounds to keep in the freezer!

Perhaps I'll make these macs, too.. I've never made them before or even had one. I'm obsessed with the idea though..

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

What a stunning flavour combination! And you know what? Until recently I had never made chocolate macarons too :P I wish I had made a chestnut filling though! ;)

PlumLeaf 李葉 said...

Awwwwwwwww...............! They look too gorgeous and you are too far away for me to sample! I tried mac's once (choc) and failed. Haven't been brave enough to re-attempt yet!
Choc-Chestnut is very festive & Christmassy!

Hungry Dog said...

These look amazing. You are the macaron queen! :)

mashi said...

chocolate and chestnut macaroons sound so good. Glad to hear it worked out for you.

Deeba PAB said...

Brilliant...so GLAD you managed to squeeze in some time {sorry I pressurized you by adding your name to the theme post, he he!}. The Lebovitz recipe is magical most of the time, and I love the filling you chose! YUM YUM YUM!! Thrilled that #13 was lucky for all of us!
xo

Lori said...

Your crazy girl- they are perfect!

Sanjeeta kk said...

Lovely Macron. First time to this beautiful place, hope to come here more often for these lovely treats. Best wishes.

grace said...

i don't know that i've ever tasted chestnuts, but the simple fact that they're mentioned in a christmas carol make them seasonally-appropriate to me. gorgeous macarons, as usual. :)

michelangelo in the kitchen said...

Hi Shaz, Quite glad to visit your blog. Now I am inspired to make these awesome macarons. I like your chocolate-chestnut best! Exquisite combination. A sure favorite! Thanks for sharing! Cheers!

Beth said...

You are truly amazing! Yes, I was wondering about the summer/winter thing, so thanks for setting things straight. Your macarons look wonderful!

Indie.Tea said...

Hmm, that sound delicious. I was thinking of combining chocolate and chestnuts myself (I was thinking a pudding, but these are GORGEOUS).

shaz said...

Shucks, you are all too kind. Thank you! I'm in the midst of the big (kids) concert so do forgive the lax commenting.

Karen said...

Oh wow, these look incredible! Like they came straight out of a Parisian pastry shop. Chocolate and chestnuts are such a beautiful combination. Most delicious!

Barbara said...

Chocolate and chestnut macarons? Perfect for the holidays. This is brilliant, Shaz!

pierre said...

if you like to be in your kitchen when it is coool come now in Paris it is just minus 5 with snow !!Pierre

Kitchen Butterfly said...

Great flavours, lovely looking macarons. I'm so tempted to put myself through the harrowing experience of making these again, knowing they may well fail!!!!!!!!! Well done

shaz said...

Thanks everyone, been so busy I hope I managed to visit all of you in turn, but if I didn't, rest assured I'm thinking of you :)