For your (meaning our) indulgence I prepared filled chocolates and a tri-colored macaron tower for this years Valentine’s Day.
I had problems with the macaron tower. Being frugal, I used left over almond flour. Mistake! The flour was too coarse, even after running through a fine mesh sieve. The resultant batter was grainy and too thick to pipe properly. However, the taste was fine and they were crisp on the outside, had good legs, and were chewy on the inside.
I thought building the tower on my parchment-lined-styrofoam-cone would be easy if I started with a nice even base, then add macarons in a logical sequence row by row. Let’s just say it failed, not due to any ineptitude on my part but rather from geometrical issues with the cone. (It becomes smaller as you go up. Who knew?) I deconstructed the tower (breaking several macarons in the process) and re-built it by placing a single color in a spiral from bottom to top. (The nice teal one.) This method was better, but next time (and there will be a next time) I need to compensate the spiral with basic Euclidean geometric principles.
The teal macarons are filled with homemade plum jam, the pink with plum/raspberry jam and the white with hazelnut butter. They all taste good, but the hazelnut butter didn’t adhere well and the cookies tended to separate. QC suggests using a tart filling like lime or lemon curd to balance the sweetness of the macaron.
I made three trays of chocolates, each with a different shape. To make them a bit special I piped lines of tempered white chocolate in two of the molds and let it cool before filling with tempered 64% chocolate. For the third, I piped some white chocolate into the bottom of each well and used a toothpick to made a star pattern. It worked reasonably well but led to my major mistake with this treat.
I attended a seminar on working with chocolate in Hawaii last year. The most important takeaway was the use of Mycryo to temper chocolate. I changed how to heat the chocolate and now use the microwave. 200g of dark chocolate requires 90 – 120 seconds with a 1000w microwave. After 60 seconds use small bursts and check the temperature between each one. If the temperature exceeds 104F it’s ok, just don’t go too high.
I failed to allow enough time between my golf round in the morning and our traditional happy hour dinner/drinks at our favorite pizza/bar. I tried to un-mold the chocolates too soon and broke many. In fact only six of the orange jelly confections survived. I should have allowed time to put the in the freezer for a few minutes to help them release. Oh well.
The confection with the faint stripes (left) are filled with fresh orange juice jelly, the hearts with soft caramel and the dome shaped ones (right) with coconut cream (think the inside of a Mounds bar. )
Overall, everything tasted good and that’s the most important!