How's everyones week been? I managed to tire myself out so much that I caught a cold by the end of the week, so my weekend was mostly spent sleeping with a little bit of baking mixed in. I always want to bake when I'm feeling under the weather, I guess it's a comfort thing. It's been a while since I baked up some macarons, and this weekend I decided to make Ice Cream Cone-Shaped Macarons filled with Vanilla Ice Cream & Waffle Cone Icing. I think we've firmly established the fact that I am shamelessly willing to make macarons in any wacky shape I feel like. I was inspired after seeing a recipe for an icing that actually used melted ice cream in it from Cookies & Cups. I thought it would be the perfect filling for a cute macaron shaped into an ice cream covered with rainbow sprinkles. Pretty freakin' cute.
Shaping the macarons shells into ice cream cones was pretty tricky. It is not an easy shape to get right because it's so irregular, and this makes the shell surface more prone to cracking. About half my batch of shells cracked in various places (sad face), mostly because I forgot that weirdly-shaped macarons need a LOT more drying time before they go into the oven. And the ones that didn't crack were still a little lumpy and funny looking, far from perfect but still cute! Sprinkles always help. I even found these nifty mini rainbow chocolate chips in my cupboard (my cupboard full of sprinkles is getting pretty huge), and used the red ones as the 'cherry' on top of each ice cream cone.
As mentioned in the original ice cream frosting recipe, the melted ice cream doesn't make a noticeable difference to the flavour of the icing, but it's just fun to have it in there. I used a strong flavoured French vanilla ice cream so the vanilla came through quite well. You could use any flavour you like really. I bet mint chocolate chip flavour with green shells rather than pink shells would be fantastic. I also decided to stir in some tiny pieces of crushed up waffle cone into the icing, so give it the whole flavour of an ice cream cone, not just the ice cream. I think it adds an interesting flavour and texture to the filling.
I probably wouldn't recommend this recipe for beginner macaron bakers, getting the triangle shapes right for the cone portion of the macaron shell is a pain in the butt. But if you're keen to do someone along the same lines, an easier alternative is to bake regular round macarons covered in sprinkles to look like the 'scoops' of ice cream, skewer 2 or 3 of them on a lollipop stick and place it in a mini ice cream cone. It would still look super cute and work well with the icing recipe.
Between all the sleeping and baking I did this weekend, I finally started to plan our honeymoon in Europe! We'll be there for about 3 weeks in Autumn, and we're planning to visit London, Paris, Barcelona and Amsterdam. I. Cannot. Wait. So feel free to drop me an email or a comment with any suggestions you might like the share for must-sees, must-dos or must-eats! I would appreciate any help :)
Ice Cream Cone Macarons
(makes about 15 macarons, ice cream frosting recipe adapted from Cookies & Cups)
For the macarons: (if you are a beginner with macarons, read up and practice plain macarons first. BraveTart has lots of useful advice and info on the subject)
100g aged egg whites (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, at room temperature and well sifted
200g icing sugar
50g caster sugar
Optional: 1 tsp powdered egg whites (available from The Essential Ingredient), helps to stabilise egg whites but is not necessary
To decorate: pink food colouring (powdered or gel), 1/2 tsp cocoa powder sifted, rainbow sprinkles (I used mini rainbow chocolate sprinkles for the 'cherry' on top)
For the ice cream & waffle cone icing:
100g unsalted butter
2 cups (about 250g) icing sugar, sifted
1/4 cup completely melted ice cream (any flavour you like, I used French vanilla and left the right amount to melt in the fridge overnight)
1 medium waffle cone, crushed into small pieces
Prepare the macarons first; line two baking sheets with baking paper. Place icing sugar in food processor and pulse for a minute to remove any lumps. Stir in almond meal and pulse for about 30 seconds to combine. 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 sugar and beat until it reaches stiff peaks.
Add meringue to your dry mixture and mix, quickly at first to break down the bubbles in the egg white (you really want to beat all the large bubbles out of the mixture, be rough!), then mix carefully as the dry mixture becomes incorporated and it starts to become shiny again. As it just starts to mix together, place about a third of the mixture in a separate bowl. This smaller amount will be used to pipe the 'cones'. Add 1/2 tsp of sifted cocoa powder to this and then mix to the correct consistency. 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 30 seconds. Place mixture in a piping bag with a narrow tip, about 3mm wide. Add pink food colouring to the remaining 2/3rd of mixture and mix to the same consistency. Place mixture in a separate piping bag with a 1cm round piping tip.
Using the cocoa powder tinted mixture, pipe tall, skinny 'V' shapes to create the triangle shapes for the 'cones' on the prepared sheets. I piped them about 3cm long and 1 cm wide at the widest part. If you want to neaten up the edges of the shapes, use the blunt tip of a wooden skewer dipped in a small amount of hot water to fix up the edges. Pipe 2cm circles of pink mixture for the 'scoop' part of the ice cream cone macarons. Tap baking sheets carefully and firmly on the benchtop a couple times to remove any large bubbles. Decorate with rainbow sprinkles. Leave to dry for AT LEAST an hour, so that when you press the surface of one gently it does not break. This will help prevent any cracking and help the feet to form on the macs. These macarons seem to need a longer drying time than regular round ones as they are prone to cracking. Preheat your oven to 140-150°C (285-300°F), depending on your oven. Place on top of an overturned roasting tray or another baking sheet if your sheets are not professional grade, for better heat distribution. Bake for 20-25 minutes, depending on the size of your shells. Carefully test if the base of the shell is ready by gently lifting one and if it's still soft and sticking to the baking paper, then it needs to bake for a few minutes longer. 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.
Prepare the icing; remove the butter from the fridge about 30 mins before starting. Place butter in a large mixing bowl and beat on high with an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and gradually add icing sugar. Add melted ice cream and increase speed to high. Beat until smooth and combined. Fold crushed waffle cone pieces into the mixture, then place in a piping bag. Pipe and sandwich macarons with the icing. Place in an airtight container in the fridge overnight. Remove from the fridge and allow to come back to room temperature before serving. Can be stored in the fridge for several days.