Monday, August 13, 2012

Caramel Koala Macarons

Caramel Koala Macarons
I'll be blunt; I'm in a foul mood. It's been a shit week and I am not in a good head space. So I decided that it was time to make another animal macaron. I don't really care if they're gimmicky, they are so cute that they are guaranteed to cheer me up. So far I've made piggies, bunnies and kitties. It seemed like it was time to pay tribute to an Aussie animal. Some fat, sleepy koalas. Sure, Australia is full of deadly, venemous creatures but we also have lots of adorable ones too.
Caramel Koala Macarons
Those of you in Australia will understand the choice of a milk chocolate ganache filling with a gooey caramel centre for these koala macarons. They are inspired by the Caramello Koala chocolate bar (Wikipedia page for those who haven't heard of it, I love that there's a paragraph titled 'The art of eating Caramello Koalas'). These days even my insatiable sweet tooth finds the combination of milk chocolate and caramel in a Caramello Koala a little too intensely sweet to eat very often. But it was the perfect flavour for these koala-shaped macarons, and I couldn't resist making it a salted caramel filling to balance out all the sweetness from the milk chocolate and sugar.
Caramel Koala Macarons
The cute little koala faces were quite straightforward to make on a macaron shell; I basically piped a Mickey Mouse sort of shape in grey-tinted macaron mixture and piped on a big nose in black macaron mixture. I ended up using some white heart-shaped sprinkles for the ears of the koala, but I think if I had the chance to do it again I'd pipe on some white macaron mixture instead. I think they look quite sweet, though I'm not sure how much some of them actually look like koalas.
Caramel Koala Macarons
I really love the combination of milk chocolate ganache with the salted caramel centre as a macaron flavour. As with any of these animal macarons, it feels a little weird biting into their happy little faces, but you get over it once you taste that salted caramel in the centre. I actually prefer this flavour over a plain caramel filling or a plain chocolate ganache, it's nice to get that surprise when you bite into the centre of the macaron.
Caramel Koala Macarons
Caramel Koala Macarons
(makes 12-15 macarons)
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: black food colouring (I used Wilton's black gel icing colour), white heart-shaped sprinkles

For the chocolate ganache:
150g (5.3 ounces) good quality milk chocolate, finely chopped
100ml (just under 1/2 cup) pure/pouring cream (or heavy whipping cream in the US, min 35% fat unthickened)

For the caramel:
I used a half batch of this caramel recipe, an easier and less messy alternative is to make dulce de leche (instructions here), or skip the caramel entirely and use Caramello Koalas when making the ganache


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 and a small amount of black food colouring (to tint the mixture light grey) 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. 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 most of the mixture in a piping bag with a 1cm round tip, leave about 3-4 tbsp of the mixture in the bowl (will be used for piping the noses).
Caramel Koala Macarons
Pipe 3cm circles of mixture plus two small 0.5 cm circles connected to each of these to form the face and the ears of the koala. Add more black food colouring to the remaining mixture in the bowl and place in a separate piping bag with a narrow tip (I used a 3mm round tip). Carefully pipe small black ovals in the centre of each koala face, for the nose. Tap baking sheets carefully and firmly on the benchtop a couple times to remove any large bubbles. Very carefully place white heart sprinkles in the centre of each ear (this step is optional, or you could keep some of the macaron mixture white and pipe this in the middle of each ear instead).

Leave to dry for at least half 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. 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. I used a skewer dipped in black food colouring to draw on the eyes and mouth, you could also use a black edible ink pen or royal icing.

Prepare the caramel as per the recipe linked above and set aside to cool then place in a piping bag. Prepare the ganache; place chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and gently heat cream in a small saucepan until it just comes to the boil, then pour hot cream over the chocolate and set aside for a few minutes to allow the chocolate to melt. Using a whisk, gently combine mixture until it is smooth (if there are still lumps, place the bowl over a pot of simmering water and stir until they are gone). Set aside to cool (or chill if you want to speed it up), until has returned to room temperature and is thickened but still pipable. Place in a piping bag with a narrow round tip, pipe a ring of ganache just inside the end of one side of a macaron, and fill the centre with caramel. Sandwich macaron with another shell, repeat with remaining shells. Chill in the fridge in an airtight container overnight, serve at room temperature.
Caramel Koala Macarons
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55 comments:

  1. Awww these are absolutely adorable Steph! I definitely feel very Australian after seeing this post and great timing with the Olympics ending :P I can't get over how cute those koala faces are!!!! Another superb effort babe x

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  2. These are Sooo adorable as always! Love how you used salted caramel to give it a bit of a twist and counter out the sweetness, noms!

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  3. I'm obsessed with these, they're absolutely adorable!!! I'm sure they're very tasty too! :)

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  4. Soooo awesome and cute! You are a genius for filling these up with choc and caramel, winning combo! I hope you have a better week Steph xo

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  5. Nawww these are the cutest macs ever! How could you look at their squished up eyes and resist a smile :)

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  6. SO CUTE ARGHHHH SO CUTE WHY HOW WHAT

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  7. The koala macarons are a brilliant idea! Love the wattle, as well.

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  8. So cute! That milk chocolate and salted caramel filling sounds amazeballs!

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  9. These are too cute! Yum! x

    Kate {Modette}
    http://modetteblog.com

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  10. These are So Cute! And I think they definitely look like koalas - it's the colour and the large noses that do it, I think. Love all your animal macs - I really must try to do some one day!

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  11. too cute to eat!! i like the expression on the koala's face too!! so adorable :)

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  12. You blew me away with those beautiful, beautiful macarons! Especially in the shape of koalas. I must try making them one day. Thanks for sharing.

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  13. I love your animal macarons, love making eating, playing and giving as presents. Can't wait to invent a reason to make these :-)

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  14. I'm sorry to hear you had a bad week! These macarons are super-cute and I bet they'd brighten up anyone's day! I think the addition of salt to the caramel would be fab. :)

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  15. Too cute. These really made me smile when I opened up the email!

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  16. Wow they look so cute! I think I will never be able to bake them :) So sorry you had a bad week ... wishing you bright days to come!

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  17. o my goodness, i ADORE these! Will feature your blog on our Country women's Association Ballarat (Victoria) page this week as our featured recipe from a blog. You are AMAZING. I love your page. These are so gorgeous. Thinking of trying them as a Blinky Bill theme for the school afternoon tea for literacy week in a couple of weeks! LOVE LOVE LOVE! Fiona.

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  18. Steph, I'm so sorry that you've had a tough week. I hope that you find things are looking up for you, especially with these delicious cuties there to snack on! All the best xo

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  19. These are adorable. And you made them when you were in a bad mood -- that's impressive: if I tried to make them at all I would be in a bad mood.

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  20. These are so so cute. I am a mother of a young child and I love making him cute food. Thank you for the inspiration.

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  21. Con esa preciosidad de carita es una lastima comerselos jeje aunque tienen que estar ricos de verdad. Besicos

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  22. you are amazing... and now i have to find a caramel chocolate bar asap!

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  23. These are awesome! You always come up with so much pretty stuff.

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  24. Those are too freaking cute. Hope they helped your mood.

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  25. i'm quite sorry you're having a bad week. if it's any consolation, your creations here have prompted a girl in california to want to set you on fire, because they're so damn cute.

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  26. Another excellent post as always!

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  27. these are more than awesome, you're so-so creative!! Thanks for sharing it, I love them!!I wish your week gets better!! :D

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  28. You`re amazing. this is crazy cool. ♥

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  29. Utterly adorable!! your macs keep getting better and better!! x

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  30. brilliance! these are amazing, i mean to look at, i don't have one sitting in my tum tum right now, which is putting me in a kind of bad mood... things need to change on that front. x Hannah

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  31. These look lovely! I hope they helped with the bad week :)

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  32. Hi steph! THese are sooo good! I do hope next week would be better for you. Cheer up girl!:D

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  33. So sorry you had a bad week. You can console yourself with the fact that everyone who looked at these freaking adorable macarons, instantly smiled and had a better day because of you!!

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  34. THIS IS SO CLEVER!!! I love Caramello Koalas being a Melbourne girl, and for it to be combined with one of my favourite Aussie treats is so so cool! I wish my local patisserie made these, they look amazing, and so creative!

    Pop by and visit my blog Taken By Surprise! xx

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  35. You must keep those animal macs coming .They are works of art I LOVE the koala bears. And yes, of course they look like Koalas. The flavor combo sounds perfect.

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  36. I made these but it was my very first macaroon attempt so will have to work on my mixture as I didn't have smooth tops like yours. I LOVE these! I noticed your recipe differs from Brave Tart's one is that you don't have salt in yours. Is there any reason for this? I'm a total novice to macaroon making and just adore your work, so this question is just out of curiousity. Fiona.

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  37. And PS. I really love how you did the ears with the white hearts! i think that makes them look all the sweeter! I also had some hot pink hearts I used which looked cute too. :)- Fiona.

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  38. Made these with success today and have emailed you pics! First time I've ever made macaroons (well, not counting my first attempt yesterday which was a failure - didn't measure properly but today also bought some dried egg white to use. This recipe rocks!!! Thank you!!!! lOVE YOUR BLOG, Fiona.

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  39. Your skills just amaze me. It is so creative.

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  40. OMG OMG OMG You are too talented! These are one of the cutest macarons I've seen :)

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  41. Oh my gosh, these are ADORABLE!! I know you said that you're not sure about them, but I love the little hearts for the inside bit of the ears (is there a word for that? Inside ear fluff? I should probably know, since I'm a biologist…ahem, shh!) – they really add to the cuteness factor.

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  42. I won first prize for these macarons in The Ballarat Show today! Thanks for the recipe! love it! - Fiona.

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  43. You have absolutely crazy piping and macaron-ing skills!! They always look so amazing and perfectly yummy!

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  44. I want to say thank you and commend you for showing your macaron with the cross section exposed. I am plagued by hollow macs while the exterior & feet look perfect. I always wonder if other mac bakers suffer the same in secret. Very rarely do you see a baker show the inside of their macaron. Obviously, you are an expert because the inside of your cookie is perfect! Your blog is beautiful. Thanks you!

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  45. Could you use an Americolour black edible icing pen to draw on the features? As you know, I love these! Fiona.

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    1. Absolutely! I just use food colouring because it's easier to find

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  46. These are hands down the cutest little things I have ever seen! I cannot get basic macaroons to look like anything other than crispy pancakes but when I finally manage that (do you have any fool proof tips?!) these are my ultimate goal! Thanks for sharing these beautiful little creations! :)

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