Have I mentioned that I am a complete crazy cat lady? Not the 80 year-old, frizzy haired, dying-alone kind of cat lady….but the frizzy haired, 30 year-old married woman kind. We have two cats who within a few weeks were called BEARS. Not sure how…can’t remember why..but now, in our little home, cats are called bears. And they are the most spoilt little bears in the world….
My husband and I both dote on them. Both our families are cat people and Ash’s sister is just as bad (great?) as us in her cat obsession. She has a pretty amazing Bengal who occasionally gets to come play with us whilst my sister in law is on holiday.
So for her birthday it is only fitting that a present be cat themed. I have seen some super cute cat macarons but the only issue is that my sister-in-law is Vegan. Yup. So the resourceful/expermentation hat comes on for some serious blurring of recipes to make….
VEGAN CATARONS (CAT MACARONS).
Firstly, this concept can be easily tweaked to be a classic macaron; just use a basic French Macaron recipe and split, dye and pipe your batter in the same method as the below. Likewise, if you are one of those weird people who really hate cats…you could make this a normal shaped macaron. But hey, where is the fun in that?
Recipe from the crazyvegankitchen.com and adapted slightly to make our cats!
250 grams aquafaba (chickpea brine! That stuff you always pour down the sink?)
Pinch of salt
150 grams ground almonds
130 grams pure icing sugar
110 grams superfine/caster sugar
A few drops of orange, grey or brown gel food colouring (whatever colouring you want your cat)
Pink cachous or sprinkles
Edible black pen
VEGAN BUTTERSCOTCH GANACHE
3 tbs nuttalex
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 can coconut cream
500g icing sugar
2 tbsp rum
- The night before you want to make your Macarons, prepare your Aquafaba. In a small saucepan, bring 250 grams of Aquafaba to a simmer. Let this simmer away until it has reduced to 110 grams of Aquafaba. Once it has reached 110 grams, pour it into a bowl to cool and then refrigerate overnight. It definitely won’t look the prettiest but it will do the job!
- Macaron Shells: Process Ground Almonds and Icing Sugar in a food processor and then sieve into a bowl, making sure there are no lumps in your mixture. Set aside.
- making sure you have a clean stand mixer (water and oil are meringues enemy!) whisk Aquafaba, cream of tartar and salt on high till it turns foamy and resembles frothed up egg whites. Make sure there is no more liquid left at the bottom of the bowl.
- Gradually add caster sugar in with your mixer running. You swill end up with a thick, glossy meringue that should have the same characteristics of a classic meringue.
- Tip in half of your almond/icing sugar mixture into the meringue, and fold gently with spatula until it has incorporated with the meringue. Add the second half of your almond/icing sugar mixture, and continue to fold it into the batter.
- After a minute or so (maybe 30 folds of the batter) remove approx 1/5 of the batter and place this in a small bowl to the side.
- Add a small squeeze of your gel food coloring to the larger bowl of remaining batter until you get a strong color for your cat’s face.Remember that when baking, macarons lose a little vibrancy so assume that these will pale in the oven slightly and adjust your coloring accordingly.
- Once your mixture has been incorporated, continue folding until you end up with a mixture that resembles thick lava. There are countless great videos online to help illustrate how to fold macaron batter to the perfect consistency; I tend to find 60 turns of the better gives me the correct consistency.
- Fill a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle with the orange macaron mixture and pipe into 2 inch rounds onto a Silicone Baking Paper lined mat.
- Once piped, slam the tray down on your kitchen counter to eliminate any air bubbles in your piped macaron mixture. Leave your trays to rest in a cool area for 2-3 hours. When you have approx 1/6 of the macaron batter left in your piping bag, swap your piping nozzle over to a smaller nib and add two small triangles to half of the macaron rounds; these will become your cat’s ears!
- Approx 30 mins into the resting time, take your still white macaron batter and your larger piping tip. Pipe small circles into the center of the macaron round; this will create your cat’s nose area. For an extra special touch, use a pink sprinkle for your cats nose. Just drop this into your white batter at this stage.
- Allow the batter to rest for the remaining rest time. They are ready to bake when they have turned matt and you are able to gently touch the surface of the shells without anything sticking to your finger.Patience is the key here!
- Preheat oven to 120 degrees Celsius*. Bake each tray of macarons individually for 28-30 minutes, without opening the oven door inbetween. Smaller macarons or ovens may take slightly more or less than 30 minutes. It’s all about trial and error.
- Once 30 minutes is up, leave your macarons in the oven for another 15 minutes without opening the door. After 15 minutes, open the oven door slightly and leave macarons in the oven with the door ajar for a further 15 minutes. Remove tray from oven and leave to cool thoroughly before peeling macaron shells off from Silpat/Silicone paper.
- Repeat baking process with remaining trays of macarons.
- Filling: In a saucepan, melt nuttalex and brown sugar to make a caramel. Add 1/2 can coconut cream and stir until combined. Take off heat to cool completely.
- Sift your icing sugar into the cooled mixture and whisk until combined; this should give you a reasonably thick ganache.
- Assembly: Once you have gently peeled off all your macarons from your Silpat/Silicone Paper, place them on a kitchen counter with the bottom side up (rounded side down).
- To fill, pipe or dollop a ring of ganache around the base of a macaron. Sandwich with another macaron shell and repeat the process till all your shells have been sandwiched; make sure you are using one cat face and one cat back (backs are the plain rounds without the ears and white section).
- Place macarons into a box and leave in the fridge overnight, or ideally for 2 nights so that they have time to mature and form the right texture.
- Using an edible black food colouring pen, draw your mat’s eyes, whiskers and mouth onto the macaron face.
- Macarons are best served at room temperature or 10 minutes out of the refrigerator, not straight out from the fridge.