Tuesday, January 12, 2010

"Bounty bars are much better than Mounds", macaron version

It seems like ages when I was in a frenzy, baking macarons as family gifts for the 25th. That was before 2009 went away and 2010 was ushered in. Also, before I went snowboarding last Saturday...and broke both wrists.

What a great way to start off the year, right? No more cartwheels, no more handstands. Wait, I never knew how to do those anyway.

One thing's for sure, no more cooking for the next couple of weeks, much to my dismay. I'll be rediscovering the joys of soup, soup, and...soup with bread! Well, who knows, I might be able to cut a tomato or two without chopping my fingers off. But, on the fun side, I look like a penguin flapping my cast-covered arms around. Nice!

In France, there's a popular saying made famous in an advertisement that says "Pas de bras, pas de chocolat": No arms, no chocolate. Fortunately, I've still got my arms, but my poignets, or wrists, are hors service. So here's my version: "Pas de poignets, pas de praliné". Not like I'm planning on applying it to myself--this is the one time in my adult life I can chomp away on chocolate and still garner pitiful stares from everyone. I'm not letting that opportunity slide by!

To stay on the topic of sweet things, I had Pierre Hermé's recipe for chocolate-coconut macarons bookmarked ever since I got the book for Christmas 2008. My maman has always loved Bounty bars--now unavailable in the United States--and Hermé's goal was to recreate that same taste in a macaron.

A Bounty bar has everything the chocolate-coconut-combo lover wants: sweet but not overly so, and with a slight crunch from the dessicated coconut. And Mounds, apparently, aren't nearly as tasty as a Bounty. With all that in mind, I set out to recreate the Bounty in macaron form.

What I ended up with was surprising: the macaron shells tasted like coconut macaroons, actually. And the filling was a nice mix of chocolate and coconut, making the overall treat pretty successful and satisfying. But truthfully, the Bounty taste wasn't there.

What was there, however, was a delicious and chewy combination of chocolate and coconut. Coconut is a tropical fruit, so this wasn't just a Christmas macaron--it's a dessert that can be enjoyed year-round.

Wrists or no wrists.

Chocolate-Coconut Macarons on the left...on the right, you'll see in a few days (when I can actually type without tiring myself out!)

Chocolate-Coconut Macarons
makes approx. 72


for macaron tops:
300g almond powder
300g confectioner's sugar
90g "liquified" egg whites (placed in a bowl and put in the fridge for at least 72 hours before use)
75g peanut oil
150g dessicated coconut
375g granulated sugar
75g mineral water
180g "liquified" egg whites

for milk chocolate and coconut ganache:
300g liquid crème fraîche
115g coconut milk
1 and a half vanilla beans
190g Valhrona Jivara chocolate or another milk chocolate with 40% cocoa
150g dessicated coconut
70g powdered coconut (I used dessicated)

-Sift confectioner's sugar and almond powder together. Pour egg whites onto the sugar-almond mixture, and add peanut oil and dessicated coconut, without mixing them together.

- Bring water and sugar to a boil, 118°C. When the syrup reaches 115°C, start beating second batch of egg whites with a stand mixer. Pour syrup onto the whites (which should be at soft peak stage by now), continue beating and wait until mixture is down to 50°C before incorporating it into the sugar/almond mixture. Fold everything in delicately.

- Pipe mixture onto a parchment paper-covered baking sheet, making round shapes approx. 3,5cm in diameter. Space them approximately 2cm apart from one another. Sprinkle with powdered coconut.

- Tap baking sheet on kitchen counter, and let macaron tops crust for at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F. Bake tops for 12 minutes, opening oven door twice. After removing them from the oven, place parchment paper on counter or table.

- Make ganache. Preheat oven to 160°C, and spread coconut on a baking sheet. Toast coconut for approx. 10 minutes or until golden. Bring cream to a boil with vanilla beans split in half and previously scraped down. Remove from heat, cover, and let sit for 10 min.

- Place chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. Filter cream, reheat, and pour onto chocolate in three batches. Add toasted coconut, mix, and place in a deep dish. Cover with plastic wrap, making sure that it touches the ganache. Place in refrigerator until creamy.

- When ready, pipe ganache onto half of the macaron tops, covering them with the remaining tops.

- Place macarons in the fridge for 24 hours, bringing them back to room temperature for 2 hours before eating.

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grace said...

i'm SO sorry that happened to you! good grief! note to self--never snowboard. meanwhile, you should definitely use this tragedy as an excuse to eat all the chocolate you want, particularly if coconut is also involved. delicious!

claudia said...

those macarons seem so good...can't wait what will be next with two wrists....

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