Now that I’ve officially hit my 100th post on Thirsty for Tea, I decided to refresh the pictures for one of the more popular recipes on my site–Green Tea Macarons with Guava Buttercream. I also just came back from Hawaii last week, and was craving that distinctively tropical taste of the islands that only guava can satisfy.
If you follow my blog at all, you probably recognize the very last photo in this post. It’s the picture I originally posted as the highlight of this piece. Back when I shot the photo, it was midnight in my old, dreary apartment, and I was using both photography lights and my regular kitchen lights to take the picture–a big “no-no” by any professional photographer’s standard. As all learning is a journey, I know better than to do that now.
I like to think that these updated Green Tea Guava Macaron pictures are a reflection of how much farther I’ve come in my food photography skills within the last year. I’ve since moved to a new apartment with brilliant, even AM natural light that has helped me bring out more vibrance and character in my tea and food creations. Also, after a lot of researching and comparing on Amazon, I was lucky enough to scrounge up enough money to upgrade my Canon Rebel XTi to a Canon 70D. Although I can certainly pick out flaws in my new pictures, I definitely think that they are a huge improvement over my last set of photos.
I now like to think of my older photos as “instructional” and these newer ones (the first 4 pictures in this post) as “artistic.” As many of you out in blogland know, food photography is definitely not as easy as it looks, but the thrill of getting posted on Foodgawker or Tastespotting every so often has me officially hooked.Getting back to the ever fascinating topic of macarons, I definitely prefer the Italian Meringue method of making French macarons as it is much less finicky than the French Meringue method. It involves the boiling of sugar syrup later added to the egg whites, which results in a batter that is more stable and less likely overmixed.
The Italian Meringue method does require more equipment like a stove and a candy thermometer, but the results are more consistent than the French Meringue method. The finished shells are a bit stronger and more chewy than their French Meringue cousins. If it is important to you, this method may also produce a slightly shinier top to each cookie shell.If you are a less experienced macaron maker, I would suggest starting with the French Method, and then graduate to this Italian Meringue method. Just like food photography, with practice and diligence your macarons will continue to become that much more attractive and enticing!
And don’t forget to pair these beautiful matcha macaron shells with tangy Guava Buttercream for a tropical and elegant treat!
Matcha Green Tea French Macarons (based on the Italian Meringue Method)
Makes about 35 sandwiched 1.5″ macarons. Recipe is easily halved using a hand-held mixer instead of a stand mixer.
85 grams of egg whites (from about 3 eggs), separated in two bowls (one with 60 grams, the other with 25 grams)
1 teaspoon meringue powder
pinch of cream of tartar
90 grams granulated sugar
35 ml water
100 grams confectioners’ sugar
100 grams ground almonds
2 teaspoon Matcha powder
wire mesh sieve
stand or hand-held mixer
Aetco #806 tip
large piping bag
2- half sheet pans
1.) In a food processor, process almond flour, confectioner’s sugar, and matcha tea powder. Process to a fine powder, then either sift or just use your fingertips to break up any remaining clumps. For the most smooth looking macaron shells, sift this mixture twice before proceeding to next step. When the powder is light and clump-free, it is ready to use.
2.) Place granulated sugar and water in a saucepan. Use your index finger to gently swirl the sugar and water together evenly, being careful not to allow the sugar crystals to set on the sides of the saucepan. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the saucepan into the sugar-water mixture. Set the saucepan on medium heat without stirring. You can use a pastry brush dampened with water to brush against the sides of the pan if you see any sugar crystals forming. The target temperature is 240 degrees F.
3.) Meanwhile, add 60 grams of egg whites, meringue powder, and cream of tartar to bowl of mixer fitted with a wire whisk attachment. Start to mix egg whites at medium speed until you reach a frothy “bubble bath” like stage. When you have reached this stage,
lower the mixer speed to low and check on the boiling sugar syrup mixture.
4.) When the syrup reaches 240 degrees F, take the saucepan off the heat and slowly pour the syrup into the mixer in a thin stream, mixing at medium speed. Be careful not to pour the syrup on the beaters, as this will cause the syrup to splatter against the sides of the mixing bowl. After all the syrup is added, raise the speed to medium/high and continue to beat until you get a “bird’s beak” consistency, then stop the mixer. This should take 5-7 minutes. The meringue will be cooler in temperature after this stage.
5.) Make a meringue paste by mixing the remaining 25 grams of egg whites with the almond-sugar-matcha mixture. Mix until completely incorporated. Gently add and fold in the cooled, fluffy meringue in two additions.
6.) Continue folding with a “J stroke” hand/spatula movement until the mixture is homogenous.
7.) Add batter to a large piping bag fitted with an Aetco 806 tip (1/2″ opening).
8.) Pipe out macarons on parchment paper with a macaron template placed under the parchment. This will ensure equal piping/same shell size.
9.) After piping a full pans, lift each pan a few inches off the countertop and slam down, making sure to hold parchment in place with your thumbs during each slam. Repeat this action a total of three times for each of the two pans.
10.) Let piped macarons dry for 30 minutes or up to an hour at room temperature. During this time, pre-heat oven to 280 degrees F and make filling.
11.) Place baking sheets of macarons in the oven after the macarons pass the “petting without sticking” test. That is, you should be able to “pet” the macaron with your fingertip without any residual stickiness or batter resulting on your finger. Once the piped macarons have passed this test, they are ready for the oven.
12.) Bake macarons for 13-15 minutes, or until you can gently press on their tops without getting any yielding. Be careful to not over bake or over brown.
13.) Remove pans from oven and let macarons sit out to cool completely. If you have difficulty removing them from parchment after fully cooled, sprinkle some water under the parchment for easier release.
14.) Pair macaron shells based on size and shape, fill with Vegan Guava Buttercream, and sandwich. Voila!