Sunday, July 25, 2010

Chocolate & Avocado Macarons for Gourmet Rabbit!

Hello! Just a quick post to share some fun things with you. First of all, I'm very excited to have a little article up on the wonderful Gourmet Rabbit, which is (for those of you who don't know) an awesome print and online magazine for foodies. My amazing friend and graphic design extraordinaire Lisa is the art director for GR and when she told me that the theme for July was going to be 'Weird & Wonderful' I thought it was right up my alley. And it was super fun to because not only did I get to come up with my own recipe for it, Lisa made me some cute artwork to go with it and even made me a shiny new banner for my blog to match it! See that angry cupcake? That's Neville. He's angry. And a cupcake. And awesome.
Anyways, you can check out my article on Gourmet Rabbit HERE (EDIT: Eep it seems they no longer have the article on their site, however the recipe has been featured in Issue #2 of the print version of the magazine. I have attached the text and recipe from the original online article below), where I have a bit of a ramble and there's also a pretty crazy recipe for Chocolate Macarons with an Avocado and Condensed Milk filling. I thought I'd share a couple of extra pics from that recipe, because I had sooo much trouble picking one photo to submit with the article! Hope you like it, and hope you like Neville and the new banner! I desperately needed a new banner, that old one has been there for nearly a year now! Thanks again to Lisa for designing it :)
I love food blogging. It makes me feel like I'm living a double life. During the day I am an engineer who sits in front of the computer for most of the day. But in my free time I am a learning home baker and food blogger, and I love to come up with the weirdest, wackiest combinations of sweet treats that I can think of. My blog Raspberri Cupcakes is a place for me to share my crazy baking experiments, even when they are spectacular failures. I love adding something unexpected to a traditional dessert to make it more fun and (hopefully) more delicious, whether it's a different ingredient or a interesting way of presenting the dish. I've made eclairs filled with chocolate pastry cream, with squiggles of raspberry and lemon sauce so that they look like hot dogs with tomato sauce and mustard. And milo cupcakes with condensed milk icing. Apple pie tiramisu. A croquembouche that was stacked into the shape of a giant cupcake. Black forest self-saucing puddings. A birthday cake for my best friend that looked like Lady Gaga. A tasting plate of beetroot and chocolate desserts. A gingerbread igloo with little gingerbread eskimo men. It might sound silly or unappealing at first, but that is part of the challenge for me; to make an unexpected combination look and taste awesome. And maybe make people giggle. Usually I will get the urge to make a particular dessert, and will then try to decide what flavours I want to have in it. This brainstorming usually leads me somewhere strange, and there have definitely been some ideas that have never quite made it out of my imagination and on to a plate. I'm quite fond of capturing childhood memories in my desserts, like when I made marshmallows in the shape of letters and served them with hot chocolate, because I always enjoyed eating alphabet soup when I was little.
Learning to bake macarons is a fascinating challenge because they are so hard to get right. So many things can go wrong! It took many, many batches of failed, ugly macaron shells before I finally got the hang of it. Once I got more confident, I could to adapt the recipes and make my own special flavours. Like my doughnut macarons, flavoured with cinnamon and strawberry jam buttercream, and ice kacang macarons, inspired by a Malaysian dessert of shaved ice, rose syrup, condensed milk and creamed corn. Here is another macaron that uses an ingredient that you might not have considered using in a dessert: avocado. Keep an open mind, avocado in desserts works really well and is quite common in South East Asia. My favourite example of this is the Vietnamese avocado shake. I always buy an avocado shake from the Vietnamese drinks shop whenever I visit Cabramatta in Sydney's south-west. The avocado is blended with ice and sweetened condensed milk, and the richness in flavour and creamy texture from the avocado is unbelievably good. I tried to capture what I love about those avocado shakes in this recipe, by pairing a smooth avocado and condensed milk filling with a chocolate-flavoured macaron shell. The slight bitterness from the Dutch process cocoa powder is a great partner for the rich, sweet filling, and the vibrant green colour from the avocado is particularly eye-catching. If this is your first time making macarons at home, I would definitely encourage you to do a bit of research before starting. Food blogs like Tartelette are a wonderful resource when learning to make these tricky little meringue biscuits. Make sure you use aged egg whites (these are egg whites that have been stored in the fridge for at least 24 hours to reduce their water content), as this makes the meringue more stable and will help you achieve those frilly little feet on the bottom of your shells. The most important step of the macaron-making process is when you combine your meringue and your dry ingredients; you need to mix them together quite vigorously at first to beat the air out of the mixture but you must take care not to overmix or the mixture will be too runny and will not hold its shape when piped. And finally, the timing and temperature for baking is highly variable depending on your oven, so you may need to bake few test batches before you figure out the best settings for your oven.
Chocolate & Avocado Macarons
(makes about 25 macarons)
100g aged egg whites at room temperature (you can use fresh eggs too, just make sure they are room temperature. I always use fresh these days, and zap it in the microwave on defrost for 10 seconds)
110g almond meal, sifted and dried in an 80°C oven for 10 minutes
190g icing sugar
10g Dutch process cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting
50g caster sugar
Optional: 1 tsp egg white powder to help stabilise your meringue (available from The Essential Ingredient)

1/2 medium sized avocado, peeled and pitted
2 tsp lemon juice
100g icing sugar, sifted
1 tbsp sweetened condensed milk

Line two baking sheets with baking paper. Place icing sugar in food processor and pulse for a minute to remove any lumps. Stir in cocoa powder and pulse to combine well. Stir in almond meal and give a few quick, short pulses to just combine. (If no food processor available simply sift all dry ingredients together) Place in a large mixing bowl and set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites and egg white powder in a medium mixing bowl until the egg white powder dissolves and it reaches soft peaks. With the mixer on high speed, gradually add caster sugar and beat until it reaches stiff peaks.

Add the meringue to your dry mixture and mix, quickly and roughly at first to beat out as much of the air bubbles as you can out of in the egg whites, then fold carefully as the dry mixture becomes incorporated and it starts to become shiny again. Take care not to overmix, the mixture should flow like lava and a streak of mixture spread over the surface of the rest of the mixture should disappear after about a minute. Place in a piping bag with a plain round tip and pipe rounds of about 3cm diameter on lined baking sheets (or silicon baking mats), about 2cm apart. Gently rap the baking sheets on the bench top to remove any extra bubbles from your piped shells. Leave shells on bench to dry for about an hour, so that when you press the surface of one gently it does not break.

Preheat your oven to 140-150°C (temperature varies depending on your oven). Place on top of an overturned roasting tray or another baking sheet if they are not professional grade. Bake for 13-15 minutes, depending on the size of your shells. Remove from the oven and cool on the tray for a few minutes, then gently remove from the sheet and place on a wire rack to cool completely. (If shells are stuck to the sheet then you may need to return the tray to the oven for a few more minutes)

To make the filling, place avocado flesh and lemon juice in a medium mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Strain mixture to remove any large lumps. Return to the mixing bowl and add sifted icing sugar, then beat to combine. Add condensed milk and beat again until combined. Refrigerate the mixture for 15 minutes and then sandwich macaron shells with about half a teaspoon of avocado filling each. Refrigerate overnight and then serve at room temperature. These can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for several days.
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  1. I love the sound of this crazy combo. Avocado and chocolate! Too delicious. Neville looks angry but adorable too - is he threatening to fling that raspberry at me!?

  2. Yum chocolate and avocado macarons sounds awesome! Definitely fits the weird and wonderful theme I think :) And omg Neville is so cute! I'm loving all the purple on your new banner too

  3. hee <3 the banner and lol of course it's purple haha

  4. Hehe, angry cupcake! And love the sound of chocolate and condensed milk =) Trying to imagine how avocado would make it taste...

  5. Ohhh look at the colour!! they look pretty!! And condensed milk? *faint*

  6. Oh how cute Steph! Well done Lisa. Your macs combo is definately out there but it's awesome; just like an avocado shake but with chocolate and in macaron form. YAY!

  7. I always eat avocados with condensed milk. So this combination is perfect. They look very enticing Steph.

  8. hahaha cute banner! your macarons sound delicious and look beautiful! ... can you do no wrong woman?!

  9. Nice banner!!! I <3 Neville!! I have tried avocado macaron at baroque and I know how yummy it is but to add condense milk!! I can't wait to try.

  10. Hee hee Neville does look angry but he also looks so very tasty. Sounds like an awesome combination, love chocolate and love avocado!

  11. Very cute Steph! Both the lovely flavoured macarons AND the banner...

  12. The banner is awesome and it's purple and there's neville! I love neville! Kudos to Lisa! I feel so privileged to have tasted these macarons - they were soo yummy and cute! I'd rate them about Zumbo's anyday! x

  13. Oops, I meant 'above' Zumbo's! (time for bed I guess! lol)

  14. i love the combo chocolate avocado! and the banner is totally swell! so funny! i love it!

  15. What an awesome combination, and what fab macarons! WOW!!

  16. Those are beautiful and sounds delish!
    I'm having a giveaway at my blog and I would like to invite you to participate at

  17. They sound very unusual. Definitely not a combo I would have thought of. Well done! I always love your macarons, always look so professional. And congrats on the article too : )

  18. Loving the new bright popping banner - the colour combo is very pretty. The avocado and chocolate combo is odd but I can see how it can work - creamy, rich. Mmm

  19. Avocado and Chocolate!? Odd combo but I wouldn't turn down trying one. I've had avocado macarons before also chocolate macarons - perhaps the next time I get some I'll combine the two to see what it's all about. I love the photography!

  20. I love the look of the avocado in the middle, awesome!! Good on you for coming up with such an unusual combination and it photographs so well too! Looks like I might have to revisit the Macaroon baking again.
    P.S Great blog too, I am enjoying reading.

  21. What a peculiar flavour combo! Have always admired your creations =)

  22. Helen (Grab Your Fork) - Neville is very angry! Haha no he's topping himself off with it!

    Jacq - Hehe thanks! Of course it had to be purple ;)

    chocolatesuze - Hehehe of course! Thanks!

    mademoiselle délicieuse - Trust me, it works! Avocado and condensed milk are perfect together

    Yas @ - Heehee! Thanks!! Condensed milk makes everything good!

    Phuoc'n Delicious - Thanks! Exactly! Avocado shakes are the best.

    A cupcake or two - Totally agree, match made in heaven!

    Rhonda (thedaintybaker) - ROFL trust me I mess up all the time!

    Ellie (Almost Bourdain) - Go Neville! I had to add condensed milk!

    FFichiban - He is quite tasty hehe. Thanks, me too
    ! - Aww thanks!

    Betty @ The Hungry Girl - Yay so glad you liked them! Haha not sure if I'd go that far though!

    Adriana - Heehee thank you!

    Deeba PAB - :) Thanks so much!

    Jane Ko - Thanks but I don't really appreciate you using a comment to advertise your own giveaway

    Brenda - Thanks so much! They could still use some improvement :)

    Forager @ The Gourmet Forager - Thank you! It was quite rich, but very tasty!

    Renita - Odd but it works well! I confused a lot of people with it I think! Thanks!

    Gourmet Getaway - I'm really happy with the way the colour turned out! Thanks so much!

    Angie Lives to Eat (and Cook)! - Aw thanks!

  23. Those macarons look amazing. I actually love the sound of the flavour combination. Avocado is a very under appreciated ingredient in baking!

  24. Julia - I totally agree! I love using avocado in's the same with sweetcorn. THere needs to be more desserts with sweetcorn!

  25. i'm so jumping into the kitchen to make this!! :)

  26. this blog post inspired me to make my own chocolate and avocado macarons! LOVE the avo filling!!

    just a question - your macarons are always SO perfect so I thought i'd see if you knew the answer haha. My macarons always rise perfectly in the oven, but then the feet spread OUT rather than UP after a while longer in the oven, its so disappointing.

    also, do you use a silpat or just good ol' baking paper?

    Thanks so much for your help! Love your macarons and your photography :) I'm a keen follower of your blog

  27. ALSO! haha, sorry i forgot to ask in my previous post. How did you get the cocoa to show up on your macarons?? Mine just blended into the colour of the macaron despite me measuring to the GRAM of your recipe :(


  28. Hi Steph! Thank you again so much for letting me feature your recipe on my blog! I published the post yesterday. Thanks again!


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