Whoa! Sorry about the delay! I've been crazy busy with Foodbeast work along with my office day job and baking endeavors...I know, excuses, excuses. But I'm back with a delicious new recipe!
Back in September Adagio Teas so graciously sent me some of their incredible fandom teas. Yes, FANDOM. TEAS. Created by Adagio Tea users these fandom teas are blended by fans as a means of paying drinkable homage to their favorite characters. The most well known Adagio blender has to be Cara McGee. She has made blends for Sherlock, Doctor Who, Harry Potter and much more! With over 200 blends under her belt and an incredible Tumblr fan base, the Atlanta based artist is quite the Adagio celebrity. Plus she draws up some adorable labels! See that tea tin up there? Yeah she totally drew that.
Anywho, I've been having some major macaron fears since that whole banana nutella macaron debacle...aka the hot cross bun macaron crisis of 2013, but I decided to suck it up and try to conquer the finicky cookie one more time. Being the superstitious baker I am I decided to leave no cookie sheet unturned. I followed every macaron mythbuster in the book. Double cookie sheeting...check. Cookie sheet on the top rack to prevent overbrowning...check. Leave the shells out to dry for 30-60 minutes...I left those suckers out for an hour. I wanted to make sure the only baking they did was up to get those glorious macaron feet. Smooth shells, chewy texture, and study feet. These are the requirements for a perfect macaron. That and making sure your cookies isn't hollow on the inside. Oh I almost forgot, you have to measure everything incredibly accurately. A kitchen scale is your best friend when it comes to macarons. For reals.
So like I was saying, because I was crazy scared to try making these again I decided not to get too brave and make a flavored macaron, because that's where things went terribly wrong last time. These are strictly almond macarons which is fine, from all my macaron research I've read that most macarons get their flavor from the filling not the cookie. Unless you're using a dry ingredient to flavor, like say oh I don't know powdered freeze dried fruit or cocoa powder, you really shouldn't try to mess with the flow of these cookies. They smell fear. Seriously.
I dyed them blue with the intention of having them become a beautiful TARDIS blue color as made famous by Doctor Who (aka one of my favorite shows in all of time and space) but unfortunately white meringue doesn't take dark colors on so well, which is how I ended up with Tiffany blue macarons instead. Sigh.
Oh yes, so the tea. In keeping with the Doctor Who theme I thought to myself, "Hey, I still have that TARDIS tea...I wonder how it would taste mixed with chocolate." I had seen Earl Grey ganache so how hard could it be to use TARDIS tea to do the same thing? Turns out, not very.
All you do is let the tea steep in some heavy cream until it gets a-bubblin' then you gotta pull those leaves out quick and pour the hot tea-infused cream onto your white chocolate and whisk until everything is all nice and smooth. My ganache didn't set as well as I had hoped so I chilled it for a few hours and then threw it in my mixer to whip it which gave it more of a frosting consistency. Call it a happy accident or just a lucky mistake but I thought it tasted absolutely delish. I drink TARDIS tea on a daily basis English style with cream and sugar and this cookie tasted just like my morning cuppa in macaron form.
Macarons with TARDIS White Chocolate Ganache
Makes 36 large shells or 18 sandwiched cookies
Blue Macaron Recipe
adapted from Ms. Humble's Scatterplot Macarons
120g almond meal
200g powdered sugar
100g egg whites
35g granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
5-7 drops Navy Blue Americolor Food Gel
Hand or Stand Mixer
Large round tip
1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat. Make sure to double up on cookie sheets so your macarons don't cook too quickly during the baking process. If you have a macaron piping template put it under the parchment paper so you can see where to pipe otherwise you'll have to take the route I took and trace circles all over the parchment paper as a guide. The size is up to you, I made mine fairly large for a macaron which is why this recipe yielded a small amount for me.
2. Weigh out your almond meal, powdered sugar, egg whites and granulated sugar separately using a kitchen scale.
3. Add your almond meal and powdered sugar into a food processor and pulse until both ingredients are well combined.
4. Sift the almond sugar mixture through a sieve or sifter over a large bowl. We're using a large bowl because you'll need the room for the meringue later. After your entire mixture has been sifted it's time to move to the meringue.
5. Place your egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar in a bowl or in your stand mixer bowl. Using Bravetart's guide to making macarons set your stand mixer to 4 or "medium" for 3 minutes. The egg whites won't look super foamy at this point but that's okay because we're no where near done with them. Increase the speed to 7 or "medium-high" for an additional 3 minutes. Then turn up the mixer to 8 for another 3 minutes. At this time it's best to add your coloring so it's incorporated evenly into the meringue. At this point you should have a stiff meringue, this means that the meringue should stand up on itself so check your whisk and turn it upside down. Is the meringue clinging tight? Can you turn your bowl over your head and not have a head full of meringue? Good, then that's the perfect consistency! Be careful not to overmix as you'll end up with a gritty meringue and won't be able to complete the macaronage stage.
6. Now here's where things get scary. The macaronage stage is where you mix the meringue in with the dry ingredients. You can't beat or stir this you have to gently fold the two together. Pour your meringue into your almond sugar mixture. Using a rubber spatula circle the entirety of the bowl then come straight down the middle with your strokes. You want to get the air out of the meringue without over beating it while still incorporating the almond sugar mixture. The consistency you want should be what people describe as "lava-like". Basically it should flow onto itself and melt back into the mixture after about 20 seconds. This consistency is usually achieved after 60 strokes. Do a consistency check to see if your mixture is flowing like ribbons of lava.
7. Take an piping bag and fit it with a large round tip. Twist the bag near the tip end so your batter doesn't flow until you're ready to pipe. Carefully add your batter to the piping back but be careful not to over fill the bag. Make sure all the air is out of the bag by twisting the open end. Take your full piping bag to your cookie sheets and pipe your shells. Don't pipe in a circle just center the tip in the middle of your circle and squeeze just before the batter reaches the edges of the circle. Release your pressure on the bag to stop the flow of batter and move onto the remaining shells.
8. After all your shells are piped carefully grab your cookie sheets (while also holding the parchment paper in place) and tap the cookie sheets on a table. It's okay to be a little rough during this part, we want all the remaining air to rise to the top so we can get the smoothest shells possible. After about 4-5 raps on the table your cookies are ready to dry. Leave them out for about 30-60 minutes until the shells are no longer sticky to the touch.
9. Preheat your oven to 280 degrees. Put a large cookie tray on the top rack of your oven to shield the shells from over browning. Once your oven reaches 280 degrees place your macarons on the lower third rack. Bake for 15-18 minutes pulling the shells out before they get browned. Some recipes say to keep the oven door propped open a crack to release the steam from the cookies but if you doubled up on the cookie sheets you should be fine. After your cookies are done baking let them cool on the cookie sheet until cool. Do not try removing the cookies from the parchment paper until they are completely cool otherwise you risk losing the bottom of your cookie.
TARDIS Tea White Chocolate Ganache
2 heaping Tbsp. TARDIS blend Tea
1/2 cup heavy cream
5oz white chocolate pieces
1. Add heavy cream and tea leaves to a medium sauce pan. Let the cream slowly heat on low. The tea leaves will steep in the cream and turn the cream to a golden brown color.
2. Add your white chocolate to a small bowl. Once your cream begins to bubble it's time to add it to the white chocolate but you have to remove the loose leaves first. You can use a sieve or tea press for this.
3. Add the warm cream to the white chocolate and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Once the desired consistency has been reached cover and let set in the fridge for 2 hours. When the ganache is chilled it will be easier to spread when you assemble the macarons.
4. Match up your macaron shells up by size in pairs. Grab your chilled ganache and add about a tbsp to one shell and sandwich the cookies together being careful not to crack the fragile shells.
5. Once all the cookies are assembled they need to be chilled for 24 hours to achieve optimal deliciousness. I know, it's hard especially after all these steps and you can't even eat one. Trust me, you want that ganache to have time to get all cozy with your macaron shells, it'll be worth it. After 24 hours, dig in!