When my boyfriend suggested I made ‘gobble macarons’ to celebrate thanksgiving I was a little confused. What on earth did he mean? But after a little explaining (apparently it’s the sound you make when you eat turkey) and one very quick search on Pinterest I was sold! Gobble macarons were on the weekend’s To Make list.
And here they are. Aren’t they cute!
Luckily when I popped over to New York for a day last month (yes only a day and no not at all glamorous!) I bought a bag of candy corn. I see it used so much by American bloggers on Instagram and Pinterest I thought I better have a bag in the cupboard. And it was a good thing I did – they make the perfect turkey feathers.
Don’t worry if you can’t get hold if any candy corn though- there are plenty of substitutes and they will certainly taste a lot better- candy corn is probably the first sweet I have wanted to instantly spit out and that says a lot! The ones I bought were honestly foul! At least my brother likes them… If I didn’t have the candy corn I would either try colouring fondant icing- making little orange and little yellow triangles and alternating between the two, or try to chop and mould an already coloured sweet such as Starbursts into little triangles and do the same. One definite advantage of homemade feathers (apart from the taste) is that you’ll be able to make them into longer triangular feathers, giving more to be held by the buttercream within the shell.
I filled these with a chestnut and cinnamon buttercream which was both wonderfully soft allowing the flavours to melt perfectly into the macaron shells and perfectly autumnal but you could fill them with anything you fancied – a chocolate ganache made with equal weights of chocolate to cream always works well.
When filling the shells make sure you add plenty of buttercream- you need it to go right up to the edge of the shells and for it to hold the pair of shells far enough apart for the feathers to be pushed in. I would also suggest popping the filled shells in the fridge for an hour or so before feathering so the buttercream is firm enough so hold the end of the feather.
Oh and when you take them to work try not to call them turkey macarons… people get awfully confused!
Makes 15 turkeys
150g ground almonds
150g icing sugar
55g egg white
150g caster sugar
55g egg white
Food colouring (preferably gel/ paste)
- Preheat the oven to 140°C
- Blitz the ground almonds in a food processor to make them as fine as possible, being careful not to over blitz and turn them oily.
- Add the icing sugar and first portion of egg whites to the almonds, but do not stir
- Add the caster sugar to a pan with the water and gently heat, stirring carefully (wiping any granules of sugar off the side of the pan with a wet pastry brush) until all the sugar has dissolved. Turn up the heat to high and leave to boil (without stirring) until it reaches 118°C
- Meanwhile, as the sugar is beginning to boil whisk the egg whites to soft peaks
- Once the sugar has reached 118°C pour it in a steady stream onto the whisking (medium speed) egg whites. (You want the sugar to land just to the side of the whisk- try not to land it on the metal as it will form sugar crystals, nor too far up the side of the bowl as it will cool too much before it hits the egg whites)
- Continue whisking these until the meringue has cooled and is thickening. Just before it has reached stiff peaks whisk in the food colouring. Continue whisking until the meringue has formed stiff peaks (the bowl will still feel warm but not as hot as it was)- this is your Italian meringue
- Spoon a third of the meringue onto the almond mixture and beat in. Once it is all combined add the remaining meringue a spoonful at a time folding in and gently pressing down to remove some of the air. Do not over mix- it should be the consistency of a thick cake batter and bumps should reduce to almost nothing in 10-15secs – too much mixing though will make it runny and make piping the macarons very difficult. Stop when the mix is just starting to flow evenly, without breaking, off a raised spatula
- Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large plain nozzle (1cm) and pipe 30 4cm rounds on baking paper on a metal baking tray (the bodies), followed by 15 small 2cm rounds (the faces). (Make sure you leave an inch between each piped macaron to allow the mixture to spread out slightly as it settles). Trap the tray on your work bench to remove any air bubbles, pricking any obvious ones with the tip of a sharp knife or a pin
- Pop the trays in your oven and turn it off, leave for 12mins and turn it back on to 140C and bake for another 15mins. To check if they are cooked or not give one a slight push to check it is no longer stuck to the baking paper- if they seem very stuck leave them a minute or two longer
- Remove from the oven, slide the baking paper off the tray onto your table and leave to cool for at least 20mins before attempting to peel off the paper (The longer you leave them the easier it will be)
For the chestnut and cinnamon buttercream
3 medium egg yolks (45g)
75g caster sugar
150g salted butter, room temperature
200g chestnut puree
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt flakes
- Whisk the egg yolks briefly
- Add the caster sugar to a pan with the water and gently heat, stirring carefully (wiping any granules of sugar off the side of the pan with a wet pastry brush) until all the sugar has dissolved. Turn up the heat to high and leave to boil (without stirring) until it reaches 121°C
- Once the sugar has reached 121°C pour it in a steady stream onto the whisking (medium speed) egg yolks. (You want the sugar to land just to the side of the whisk- try not to land it on the metal as it will form sugar crystals, nor too far up the side of the bowl as it will cool too much before it hits the egg). Continue beating until the mixture has thickened and completely cooled to room temperature
- Slowly add the butter and chestnut puree to the egg/ sugar mixture, alternating between the two, and ensuring each addition is properly incorporated before adding the next. If you have trouble incorporating the solids change from the whisk to a paddle beater. Finally mix in the cinnamon and salt flakes
Black food pen
Red writing icing
1 bag of candy corn (or fondant icing, dyed orange and yellow – approx 50g of each)
- Start by making the faces: cut out the orange part of the candy corn and cut into three or four pieces, shaping each into a small triangle. (Alternatively mould some of the orange fondant icing into triangles).Take the small shells and draw eyes on using an edible marker pen. Then pipe a small amount of red icing down from the midpoint of the shells and attach a little orange triangular beak.
- Spoon the buttercream into a piping bag with a round nozzle
- Match the large macaron shells into pairs if they aren’t evenly sized
- Pipe buttercream into a large blob on the underside of half of the large shells. Carefully press the tops onto the buttercreamed macaron shells
- Pipe a small amount of buttercream onto the back of the faces and attached them to the large paired shells. Place in the fridge to set for at least an hour
- Remove from the fridge and carefully push your chosen feathers in; I used seven candy corn sweets per turkey
- Store the assembled macarons in the fridge for at least 24 hours so that the flavours can develop and the shells soften