Team Scotland vs The Best of the Rest Special Macaron Edition

For the Team Scotland vs The Best of the Rest bout, Team Scotland's inaugural roller derby bout against the best players from Scottish Leagues *not* in the national team, I made some macarons.

Here's how to make the same macaron for yourself:

The Macaron Shells.

I follow the recipe from Mrs Humble's blog , along with the general baking instructions. I only age my egg-whites for about 2 days in a fridge, and that seems to be sufficient.
You can add colours with the sugar and dried egg whites into the whisked egg. Use gel/paste colours, because dilute liquid colours are too watery and mess with the consistency.

Piping the macaron can be easier if you draw 3.5 to 4 cm diameter circles on the reverse side of your baking parchment as a guide.

It is very important to test your oven's actual temperature - our oven is around 10°C hotter than the setting indicates. You want to aim for an actual oven temperature of 140 to 150°C.
Your macaron are done when they no longer wobble when you prod them - around 13 to 16 minutes. Don't test them before about 12 minutes.
Don't worry if they don't easily come off the sheet - take them immediately out of the oven, and off the sheet, with the baking parchment, and onto a cooling rack. Don't try peeling them off the rack until they're cool.
(As well as the above link, the macaron articles at Syrup and Tang are very useful, and include a good alternative salted caramel recipe. Another good recipe is at the honey and soy blog.)

The macaron variations:

Team Scotland Macaron

(Blueberry syrup + Vanilla buttercream)

The shell 
Add navy food colouring to the meringue.

The syrup
150 g blueberries
1/2 tablespoon of granulated sugar

Add blueberries, sugar and 1/2 tablespoon of water to a small saucepan. Cook over a medium temperature, while the berries swell and burst, and then the mixture reduces to a jam.
Press through a fine sieve, before it sets completely, into a bowl.

The buttercream
125 g unsalted butter, softened
250 g icing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla essence and some vanilla seeds if you have them.

Beat the butter until pale and creamy. Gradually add the icing sugar, while still beating, until smooth.
Mix or beat in the vanilla essence and vanilla seeds.

The assembly
When the macaron shells are cool and separated from the sheet, gently spread them with a thin layer of the syrup on their bases.
Pair them up into closely sized sets. Pipe one of each pair with a dollop of buttercream in the centre, and surround with around three blueberries. Gently press (with a twisting motion) the top shell onto the mix to form the sandwich. Fill in any gaps with a little more piped buttercream.
Age in the fridge for 1 to 2 days for best texture.

The Best of The Rest Macaron

(Chocolate and Salted caramel)

The shell
Add liquorice food colouring to the meringue. 
For the dry ("tant por tant") remove 1 tablespoon of icing sugar, and add 2 tablespoons of good quality cocoa.

Salted caramel
75 g caster sugar
75 g muscovado sugar (dark)
50 g unsalted butter
100 ml double cream
1/2 teaspoon flaked salt (not fine salt!)

Dissolve the caster sugar in 2 tablespoons of water in a small saucepan over a low heat. Once dissolved, increase the heat to medium-low, bring to the boil. Remove from the heat as soon as the syrup turns amber. Add the muscovado, butter and cream, and stir until dissolved and fairly uniform. Return to a low heat until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat, add the salt and pour into a bowl to mix and cool.
Optional: whip the cool caramel into a light golden whipped filling, rather than the dark salted caramel.

The assembly
When the macaron shells are cool and separated from the sheet, pair them up in roughly matched sets.
Spread the "bottom" of each pair with some salted caramel, and gently press the top shell on with a twisting motion.
Age in the frige for 1 to 2 days for best texture.

Fillings based on recipes from "macarons: chic and delicious French treats", Annie Rigg. ISBN 978-1-84975-085-1

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