I failed my first attempt. The macaron shells cracked. I think it had to do with the egg whites being fresh and not aged… who knows? There could’ve been any number of reasons for cracking and hallow shells. It’s easy to fail at macarons and I still gave in to impulse the first time by not waiting until I had aged egg whites. My bad.
Today, however, I had four-day old egg whites chilling in the fridge and a new bag of almond meal!
I studied 3 recipes I found online and compared them to my own base recipe. Made a few tweaks and voila!
FINALLY, a good batch of Black Sesame Macarons! Yey!
I’m loving how rustic and artisanal they turned out to be… with the skins mottled and a little bumpy. I probably need a better food processor to grind black sesame seeds to a fine powder for a smoother finish, if i want that. I think the specks and shell texture adds so much character to this unusual flavor. However, for solid-colored macaron shells like in strawberry or green tea macarons, I prefer smooth and even-colored skin.
Unlike my first attempt at this, I didn’t toast the seeds. I just put them in the grinder and pulsed several times, pausing a few seconds in between pulses to prevent the seeds from heating up.
Added the ground black sesame seeds to the almond meal, powdered sugar and sea salt mix below.
Aged eggwhites, with caster sugar and cornstarch – hand-whisked lightly then beaten to stiff peaks.
In a KitchenAid stand mixer, starting at speed 4, then gradually going up to speed 9 until stiff peaks formed.
Mixed in the ground black sesame seeds to the sifted almond meal, powdered sugar and sea salt. All recipes I’ve seen says to sift the ground black sesame seeds with the almond meal mixture. I didn’t follow that because my ground seeds weren’t fine enough to go through the fine mesh sieve. Plus, I wanted a rustic finish for my version.
Macaronnage! This is my weak point. The process is just so nebulous. Can’t learn it from reading about it and saw it done correctly only once during my macaron baking class a few months ago.
I decided to add a touch of black food coloring so that my macaron shells won’t look like cookies and cream. I have this color for black sesame cupcakes but haven’t gotten the chance to try baking those. Maybe next week! 🙂
I stopped macaronnage when the meringue was shiny and falling into the bowl in smooth ribbons. I love how the color is just a hint of grey.
This recipe fits perfectly in one 14 inch pastry bag, fitted with a 1cm plain round tip.
During my first two macaron batches, I used a template under the Silpat mat. Today, I didn’t use the template anymore. Not having a template made me work faster.
Unlike the failed first attempt, these flattened and settled into nice round shapes after just a few bangs on my dinner table.
I dried the first tray for 45 minutes and the next two trays for 30 minutes. I wanted to see how the 15 minutes of difference would affect the outcome.
Baked all at 280 – 300 F for 10 minutes, rotating at 6 minutes.
While drying, I started prepping for my filling: Bittersweet Chocolate with Tahini Ganache
First, I made the tahini paste. I toasted the sesame seeds in my favorite visions mini-skillet.
Then I made a paste out of the toasted seeds. Good thing I only needed 2 tablespoons. This was manual labor! I love how the seeds made tiny popping sounds while I was grinding them. And, this smells sooooo good!
Then I added a bit of extra virgin olive oil until I got the consistency I wanted.
Since I don’t have a double boiler, I used a stainless steel bowl over simmering water in my visions sauce pan to heat the heavy cream.
I just stirred the chocolate in the cream, added salt and the tahini paste. Chilled in the fridge until thick enough for piping.
Meanwhile… The macaron shells are showing feet! Always makes me giddy! 🙂
The feet deflated a bit when I took the shells out of the oven but they’re still there! I don’t know what causes them to deflate. I’m guessing that it’s from inconsistent heat. Because I’m using a conventional gas oven, I keep stabilizing the temperature by opening the door a crack when the temperature rises above 300 F.
I got the best looking feet from the last tray, dried for only 30 minutes.
Filling on half the shells… almost done! Next time though, I will make the filling before baking the shells. I need more time to chill the filling. This almost melted from the heat in my kitchen. It’s very warm and humid today but as always, I didn’t let the weather stop me from making macarons!
Next flavors to try? Blueberry, raspberry, salted caramel, coffee…