A friend who came up to visit from Wellington about ten days ago asked if I could show her how to make macarons when she was here. Of course I agreed – it may be a little time-consuming, but I do love making macarons. We just had to decide what flavour to go for. Which, considering the near-endless possibilities when it comes to macarons flavours, wasn’t quite as straightforward as it might sound. We wanted something colourful and for some reason green kept popping into my head, which I kept associating with mint. And suddenly it struck me: mojito macarons! Of course!!
There’s something so summery and refreshing about mojitos, and I love them. They taste like they should be sipped on the beach or by the poolside, whilst on holiday. It’s not the first time that I’ve made mojito-based baked goods – I made mojito cupcakes a while ago (which, incidentally, I thoroughly recommend if you’re also a mojito fan). And I’ve actually made mojito macarons before, about a year and a half ago, but with a buttercream-based filling rather than the white chocolate ganache that I used this time. The buttercream version was just a little too sweet when combined with the already sugary shells, so between the two I much prefer the ganache version.
My initial mojito macarons were made with bright minty green shells since half the fun of macarons is being able to make them all colourful, but it actually looked rather garish and I wasn’t happy with them (one of the reasons I never blogged about them). I tried swirly shells for the first time when I made kir macarons a few weeks ago, and I loved the swirly shells so much that I decided that I wanted to try them again for these macarons. The swirly idea turned out to be the perfect way to make the shells colourful without being lurid, and I really think it’s just the right amount of green. What do you think?
I must confess that I totally forgot to add lime to the ganache. I was so focused on the mint that the lime just completely slipped from my mind (woops). So I’d suggest adding the zest of a small lime and about 1 tsp of juice to the ganache to make it more mojito-like, although despite the omission the macarons still tasted just like a mojito (albeit a rather sweet version) and felt all summery whilst we wait for summer to get its skates on and hurry over to the southern hemisphere… I’m fed up of winter!
After my friend had left to go back to Wellington, packed off with a little box of macarons and the knowledge of how to make more, I looked up the blog challenge themes for this month. Imagine my pleasant surprise when I read that the theme for this month’s We Should Cocoa, hosted by Choclette at the Chocolate Log Blog, is “cocktail-inspired” – a special theme chosen to celebrate two years of the challenge. Happy birthday to We Should Cocoa!!! Mojito macarons clearly fit the bill perfectly – the ganache is made of cocktail, white chocolate and cream – so I’m submitting them. I then discovered a new blogging challenge started by Janine at Cake of the Week: Baking with Spirit which this month involves baking or cooking with “rum.” I’ve already entered my banana, hazelnut and spiced rum upside-down cake but I’m also going to submit these macarons since they involve white rum which is just so different to spiced rum (no kidding).
Makes about 60 small macarons (so about 120 shells of 1.5/2 cm diameter)
Macaron shell recipe based on Mad About Macarons!
Ganache recipe by me
Whilst I forgot to add lime, it would make these even more mojito-y. I’d suggest adding the zest of a small lime and 1 or 2 tsp of freshly-squeezed lime juice to the ganache at the same time as the rum, and decreasing the quantity of rum so that you’re only adding 40g total of liquid (excluding the cream), otherwise the ganache will be too liquidy to set. Make sure you leave these at least 24h before eating them, in order to allow the ganache to soak into the shells a bit. They’re best stored in an airtight box in the fridge – just remember to bring them out at least 30mins before eating them, so that you can appreciate the flavour fully!
For the macaron shells:
Green food colouring paste or gel (optional)
100g room temperature egg whites (take them out of the fridge 2h beforehand)
66g caster sugar
120g ground almonds
180g icing sugar
Raw sugar or golden granulated sugar, to decorate
For the ganache filling:
Small handful of fresh mint leaves (about 4-5 sprigs or 10g)
40g whipping cream (NZ: pure cream)
150g white chocolate
40g white rum
2 drops mint extract (optional)
To make the macaron shells:
1. Line three or four flat baking sheets with baking paper and set aside. Prepare a piping bag with a plain round piping tip. Brush two or three lines of food colouring up the inside of the prepared piping bag (this might be a bit messy. I did three stripes, so if you want your shells to have slightly less green, then just paint two stripes).
2. Blend the icing sugar and ground almonds together (don’t skip this step!). Sift them through a medium sieve into a large bowl. Sift them again if necessary.
3. Make the French meringue by whisking the egg whites into glossy firm peaks, gradually adding the caster sugar.
4. Incorporate the French meringue into the dry ingredients using a large spatula and mix well. Now work on the mixture by pressing down well with the spatula, going backwards and forwards, to press out the oxygen from the egg whites (this is the macaronnage stage), until you have a smooth mixture. Don’t do this for longer than 5 minutes. The result should be a soft and brilliant mixture that forms a “ribbon” on the spatula.
5. Transfer the mixture to the previously prepared piping bag and pipe out the desired size of rounds (mine were about 1.5-2cm in diameter). Press the nozzle right down on the paper and finish off with a flourish to obtain a nice round. Leave a good space between them so they can spread out.
6. Sprinkle the shells with the raw sugar and leave the shells to set for about 30 mins (this helps to produce the feet). Preheat the oven to fan-oven 160°C. When you can feel that a skin has formed over the top, they are ready to go into the oven.
7. Bake one tray at a time in the centre of the oven for about 8-10 mins (to see if they are done, touch the top – if there is a “wobble,” leave them in 2-3 mins longer). Leave them to cool on the baking trays, and when they are completely cool, carefully remove them and pair them up by size.
To make the ganache filling:
8. Whilst the macarons are setting and cooking, make the ganache filling. Remove the mint leaves from their stalks if necessary, and finely chop. Set aside.
9. Heat the cream, and as soon as it starts boiling, add the white chocolate (broken into pieces), the rum and mint extract and mix with a wooden spoon until smooth (don’t let it boil or you will boil off the alcohol and we wouldn’t want that now, would we?). Once smooth, stir in the chopped mint leaves. Allow the mixture to thicken in the fridge (or freezer if necessary).
10. Once cool, use a teaspoon to deposit a dollop of ganache onto one shell of each pair. Then place the partner shell on top, and use a slight twisting motion to squash the shell down onto the filling.
11. Leave in the fridge for at least 24h before serving (I know, it’s difficult! But so worth it!!)