Red BULB teaset and black matte EVA platter. Available on our webshop or at www.etsy.com/shop/MaiaMingDesigns

Happy Chinese New Year! 2017 is the year of the Fire Rooster — according to the horoscope, a trustworthy and responsible animal. People born in the year of the rooster are also amusing, popular, outspoken, and charming. Nobody in my immediate family is a rooster, but tonight we will celebrate with Chinese food, lycee envelopes (lucky money), and my newest macarons…

For those of you reading my recipe blog regularly, you have probably noticed a few recipes with black sesame seeds and macarons!! (black sesame ice cream, black sesame panna cotta, and three macaron recipes to date)

My favorite chocolate bars are a new introduction by Lindt with a dark chocolate and roasted sesame seeds. The first time I tried this I was amazed that this combination which blends so perfectly was so rare and so hard to find in stores. I used to stock up whenever I visited Munich since it was the only place I could find this chocolate. Fortunately, it is now more widely available, perhaps it was a test market that I ruined with my hoarding 😉

So when I began my macaron mission to bake unusual flavors that can’t be bought, I began researching recipes online with sesame and dark chocolate. I made a few batches that I was not satisfied with. Macarons are hard to make, and black ground sesame seeds make interesting black macarons, but they were a bit dense. There are also so many different proportions in different macaron recipes, and I decided to work with the proportions that have been most successful for me, and adapt the ingredients accordingly.

My basic macaron shell recipe uses 2/3 cup almond flour, 2 egg whites, 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, and 1/4 cup granulated sugar. Then colors and flavors can be added to that. So I used these proportions but substituted some of the almond flour with ground sesame seeds, and these lovely macarons were born. I also enhanced the chocolate ganache with ground sesame seeds. And sprinkling black sesame seeds on the top of the macaron shells gives them a really Asian, dim sum, appearance, a perfect tea cookie for Chinese New Year. Jínián jíxiáng!

Red BULB teaset and black matte EVA platter. Available on our webshop or at www.etsy.com/shop/MaiaMingDesigns

Black Sesame-Chocolate Macaron recipe:

INGREDIENTS

1/3 cup almond flour

1/3 cup ground sesame seeds (I used black sesame seeds)

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar (117 grams)

2 large egg whites, room temperature (if they sit out for a day or two that is good, but not essential)

1/4 cup granulated sugar (53 grams)

FILLING

1/4 cup black sesame powder

1 tablespoon honey

1/4 cup cream

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1.5 ounces chopped bittersweet cooking chocolate (~42 g.)

DIRECTIONS

1. Grind 3 tablespoons of sesame seeds in a coffee grinder or food mill into a fine flour. Set aside half for the ganache.

2. Sift 1/3 cup sesame flour with the almond flour and confectioners sugar through a fine-mesh sieve.

3. Beat the egg whites at a low speed and then add the granulated sugar. Mix into gentle peaks at a medium speed and then finally for a minute or two until they begin to form stiff peaks. I was very careful not to over-mix my egg whites, because this can cause hollow macaron shells.

4. Add half of the flour-sugar mixture to the almond paste and fold with a spatula. Move the spatula from the sides and bottom of bowl upward, then press the flat side of spatula down through middle of mixture. This process is called “macaronage” and it’s essential to getting bubbles out of the macaron batter and to the right consistency.  Add the remaining flour-sugar to the mixture and continue the macaronage. Do not overmix, 30-40 strokes should be enough. The batter is ready when it flows like lava.

5. Rest a pastry bag inside a vertical cylinder to transfer the batter into the bag, then close the

top. Cut a very small hole in the bottom tip of the pastry bag, 1/2 to 1 cm in diameter.

6. Either onto a parchment sheet or a macaron mat, pipe batter into 3/4-inch round cookies. A macaron mat helps to make the cookies uniformly round and the same size, but you can also pipe them onto parchment paper with or without a template guide underneath. (The cookies do need to bake a few minutes longer with a macaron mat than on parchment paper.)

7. Drop sheets flat a few inches onto the counter 2 or 3 times to release air bubbles. let the macaron sheets sit for 30-40 minutes to dry and create a slight crust on the surface.

8. Preheat oven to 160ºC.

9. Place the macarons in the oven. Bake macarons for 8 minutes and then take the tray out and face the front to the back to bake for another 7 minutes (15 minutes total), this way both ends of the tray get equally baked. Note: if you are not using a macaron mat, then a few minutes less in total, but every oven is different. Do not use the oven on convection heat, it can deform your macarons.

10. Filling: Mix 1/4 cup of ground sesame seeds with 1 tablespoon of honey.

Heat the cream and butter in a small pot over a low flame. When it heats up first add the chopped chocolate and blend it in, turn off the flame and add the sesame-honey and mix well. Refrigerate this mixture, it will be denser and easier to spread when cooled slightly.

11. Only bake 1 sheet at a time.

Once the macarons have cooled, use a spatula to spread filling on flat sides of half of cookies and then top with remaining half.

Refrigerate or freeze macarons in a closed storage tin.

#lifestyleceramics #beautytexturewhimsy #simplepleasures #maiamingdesigns