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Recipe: Peppermint stick and white chocolate ganache macarons

Recipe courtesy of Wanda Hall of Les Petits Bisous in Havre de Grace. Makes roughly 30 regular-sized macarons.

Ingredients
 3 ounces heavy cream
 3 ounces white chocolate cut into small pieces
 2 small candy canes, crushed
 Whites from 4 eggs
 6 ounces ground blanched almond meal
 9 ounces confectioner’s sugar
 4 ounces granulated sugar
 Red food coloring (gel works better than liquid)

Special tools needed
 2 piping bags
 2 #12 piping tips
 Electric mixer
 Food processor
 Parchment paper

For ganache filling
1. Heat heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until edges start to bubble. Remove from heat and add white chocolate. Beginning in the center of the pan, stir in small circles until white chocolate is completely dissolved. Transfer to a mixing bowl, and place in refrigerator to cool completely. Once cool, add crushed candy canes and beat with an electric mixer for about 2 minutes, until fluffy, but stop before chocolate and cream start to separate.

2. Keep ganache cool, and then scoop into a piping bag with a #12 tip when you’re ready to fill the macarons.

For White Sides
1. Separate two egg whites into mixing bowl, and let sit while you prep the rest of your ingredients. This allows the whites to “air” for a couple of minutes, which improves your meringue.

2. Grind 3 ounces of almond meal and 4.5 ounces of confectioner’s sugar in a food processor for about a minute.

3. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Then prepare a piping bag with a #12 tip, and clip the end of the bag, right above the tip, with a bag clip or bobby pin; place bag tip down into a jug-type container or jar so that it stands on its tip on its own (you’ll appreciate having both hands to pour in your batter).

4. To make your meringue, start mixing with an electric beater until frothy; add 2 ounces of granulated sugar gradually; whip meringue until it’s shiny and stiff (when you turn the bowl upside down the meringue should not move) but not so much that the meringue breaks. If the meringue is over-whipped it will lose its glossy shine.

5. Add almond meal mixture to meringue to start the “macaronage” process: Blend ingredients by stirring with a wooden or plastic spoon, scraping the bottom of the bowl and hitting the sides of the bowl with each stir in a circular motion. After several minutes of stirring, the mixture will transform into a silky, shiny batter, falling like a smooth ribbon from your spoon. Pour batter into your piping bag and unclip the tip once you’re standing over your parchment-lined baking sheet.

6. Pipe 1.5-inch circles onto your parchment paper — using a template helps tremendously here. You can trace 1.5-inch circles onto one sheet of parchment, then cover that with another sheet to pipe onto (just don’t forget to remove your template before putting your macarons in the oven!). Once you’re finished piping, grab the cookie sheet with both hands and drop it flat on your table several times. This pushes air bubbles out of your macarons and helps ensure a smooth finish once baked.

7. Let macarons sit for 30 to 40 minutes in open air until they are dry to the touch. Once dry, bake at 290 degrees for 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool before trying to remove from parchment paper.

For Red Sides
1. Use the second half of your ingredients, and follow instructions for white sides. Once your meringue is whipped, before adding almond mixture, add red food coloring and stir through briskly. Once you have reached your desired shade of red, continue by adding your almond mixture, completing the macaronage as described above.

2. Once both white and red macarons are baked and cool, arrange them on a large cookie sheet alternating between each color. Place your red macarons bottoms up. Pipe a small amount (think the size of a nickel) of ganache onto each red macaron. Top each with a white macaron. Place macarons in a covered airtight container and leave in the refrigerator to “meld” for 24 hours. Serve at room temperature. Macarons can be kept fresh for up to a week if refrigerated in an airtight container.

BON APPETIT!

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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