Thursday, February 27, 2014

Mickey Mouse Macarons & Disney Princess Macarons (GF)


I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing -
 that it was all started by a mouse. 
-Walt Disney

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of visiting Walt Disney World with my sisters. Our trip had three main purposes... First, to have an awesome sisters weekend! Second, to cheer and support my sister Jennifer as she ran the 2014 Disney Princess Half Marathon. And third, to experience actual Walt Disney World for the first time!  

right photo credit: Disney World Photographer as part of the Memory Maker program


Yes, we twenty-something ladies had never before been to Disney World! And I had never attended a race anything remotely like the Disney Princess Half Marathon. 25,000-ish runners!  Wow!  So inspirational to see all the runners, many in costume, complete such an impressive feat! 


photo credit: Jennifer Vein



It only made sense to also concentrate on doing as many princess-y things as possible during the trip, since the race was princess themed, and after all we are ladies who grew up watching princess movies.  We may have looked a little silly as adults with no children standing in lines to meet & take photographs with the princesses, but seriously, you only get to experience your first Disney visit once (even if you are a grown up).


I also wanted to take along a special Disney-themed treat for the three of us to eat while in FL... Something that was gluten free, since a couple of us have been watching our gluten intake. I settled on one of my favorites: French Macarons, but not just plain ones….


I created 5 special macaron styles: Mickey Mouse shaped and 4 varieties inspired by our favorite Disney princesses. Unintentionally, we happened to take pictures with these 4 favorite princesses during the trip too!

Cinderella-inspired Macarons: blue shells with spiced pumpkin filling
Inspired by Cinderella's carriage turning into a pumpkin at midnight! 


right photo credit: Disney World Photographer as part of the Memory Maker program

Beauty and the Beast-inspired Macarons: yellow shells with chocolate ganache
Inspired by Belle's party dress

left photo credit: Disney World Photographer as part of the Memory Maker program

Mulan-inspired Macarons: green shells with cherry almond filling
Inspired by Mulan's touching conversation with her father in a cherry blossom orchard following her humiliation at the matchmakers. 


 right photo credit: Disney World Photographer as part of the Memory Maker program

Sleeping Beauty-inspired Macarons: pink shells with raspberry cheesecake filling
Inspired by Aurora's dress & her explorations in the forest (where she could have foraged for berries)

left photo credit: Disney World Photographer as part of the Memory Maker program

After photographing the macarons at home, I carefully packaged them in bubble wrap and a sturdy box & transported them in one of my carryon pieces of luggage. They made a great extra treat during our stay (and were also something that didn’t cost a fortune to buy within the parks).

photo credit: Disney World Photographer as part of the Memory Maker program

The trip itself was magical.  “Magical” is such a common cliche when referring to Disney, but honestly, I can’t think of a better, more applicable adjective. 


We knew the time would be short and that marathon activities (as well as preparations before and recovery afterwards) would take precedent. With less than three days of active park time, there was no possible way to see everything, so we concentrated on the Magic Kingdom (the quintessential Disney experience) and Epcot.  


I cannot say enough good things about MyDisneyExperience (which also is an app for your phone!!) and the new FastPass+ system/Magic Bands. Through MyDisneyExperience, we pre-scheduled a few FastPass+ options for the really popular things (i.e. Enchanted Tales with Belle, Peter Pan’s Flight, Under the Sea, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Mission: Space, Maelstrom, etc...). Because we were a little late in trying to make dining reservations (oops!), we ended up winging it and doing more quick service/casual dining options instead. But winging it allowed us to share small items at many different places as we walked through the parks. Like Micky Mouse shaped cake pops and rice krispy treats :) My one food regret from the Magic Kingdom is not trying a Dole Whip--the line was too long.  


Throughout the Disney parks, there is no shortage of Mickey Mouse-shaped things, food included...


In several of the bakeries/gift shops we were able to watch cast members prepare some of the desserts, like dipping the cake pops and caramel apples.


My favorite non-Micky Mouse-shaped food experiences came in the World Showcase area of Epcot. We visited Epcot for a few hours on our last day before flying back to our respective cities. 




We only saw just an overview of all the countries, but we were able to take a few food breaks.  In the Morocco area, we stopped for some much needed caffeine and to share a tangerine sponge cake roll.  In the England area, we shared fish and chips for lunch. 


Just before leaving, I dashed back to the France area to pick up a few items from the Les Halles patisserie.   


 I couldn’t resist trying one of their raspberry macarons, (though I do think I preferred my macarons to theirs).


Sadly, all great things must come to an end, including this fantastic sisters trip. Already, I’m dreaming of going back... I’m hoping to participate in one of the in the next couple of years? Perhaps not the half marathon, but maybe the 5k or the 10k. I even bought a race shirt to help motivate me to train. And there are still parks left to explore (we didn’t even try to go to Hollywood Studios or the Animal Kingdom or any of the water parks). In addition to starting training, I’d better start scheming another Disney dessert for the future trip! Until next time, Disney World… You were truly magical and inspirational. 



Disclaimer: This post has absolutely no official affiliation with Disney.  All thoughts are purely my own. Photos taken by Disney were personally purchased through their Memory Maker program. No compensation was received for this post, other than the magical memories :) 
Macaron Base
Note: If you want to make all 4 colors, plan to make this recipe twice. Cut each batch in half and color each half of a batch one color. 

It is VERY IMPORTANT to have ALL YOUR MIS-EN-PLACE in place BEFORE beginning.... Ingredients measured, pastry bags/tips prepared, sheet pans lined (with printed out guides underneath the parchment paper, food coloring out, spatulas/bowls/scales handy etc....

180g Almond Flour
240 g Confectioners Sugar

3 g Meringue Powder
2 g Salt
80 g Sugar 
140 g Whites, room temperature 
1/2 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste (or other oil-free flavoring) 

Blue shells (Cinderella) 2 drops sky blue 
Green shells (Mulan) 7 drops lemon yellow, 2 drops leaf green 
Yellow shells (Belle) 5 drops lemon yellow
Pink shells Aurora) 2 drops deep pink 1 small drop ivory 
  1. Prepare sheet pans 5 half sheet pans (or 4 half sheet pans, plus two quarter sheet pans) by lining them with parchment paper. Place guides for 1) full Mickey heads, (print this file) 2) Regular macarons (print this file) underneath the parchment paper. 
  2. Prep 4 piping bags. Fit one with a large round tip (I used an Ateco 804) Note: I only have one 804 tip, so I had to wash it between colors. 
  3. Combine almond flour and confectioners sugar in food processor and pulse to combine & break up any larger almond particles. Divide the dry ingredients into two bowls, each weighing 210 g. 
  4. In a small bowl, combine the meringue powder, salt and sugar. Mix well to incorporate all the meringue powder. 
  5. Whip the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix first on medium speed.  Once the whites begin to get foamy, gradually add the sugar/meringue powder/salt mixture, and then increase the mixer speed to high.  Mix until stiff peaks form. Add the vanilla bean paste & mix until just combined. 
  6. Remove the meringue from the mixer and divide into two bowls, each weighing around 112 g.
  7. Add the desired color to one meringue bowl and briefly swirl in with a spatula. Add one bowl of the divided dry ingredients at once and mix until everything is completely combined into a shiny mass & the mixture forms ribbons that will dissipate.  Remember, you can always add more folds later, but you cannot take them back!  
  8. Test the mixture by piping a test shape.  If the piped shape holds a peak (like a hershey's kiss) that will not dissipate after you bang the sheet pan on the counter, the mixture needs a little more folding before the rest of the shells are piped. 
  9. Pipe shells onto the appropriate sheet pans. Bang the pans of piped macarons on the counter. 
  10. Repeat steps 7 to 9 with the second bowl of bowl of meringue. Then, repeat the whole recipe again to make 2 more colors, if desired. 
  11. Allow the shells to dry 45 mins to 1 hr, depending on the humidity. The shells are ready to bake when they have developed a skin and are dry on top. 
  12. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Bake one pan at a time.  As soon as the pan is placed in the oven, drop the temp down to 300 F. Bake for 10 minutes, rotate the pan and bake another 8-10 minutes, depending on the size of the shells. The pans with the smaller ones will take less time than the pans with the full Mickey heads. 
  13. Allow the shells  to cool on the sheet pan. 
  14. Fill with appropriate filling (see recipes below) and refrigerate at least 24 hrs to allow flavors to meld. Macarons filled with the fillings below will keep over a week in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 

Filling Recipes
  • I had roughly 8 oz of Swiss Meringue Buttercream leftover from the Pistachio Raspberry Cake, but if you don't have leftover icing, I've included the recipe at the bottom.  
  • If you plan on making all fillings, I suggest making them in the order I've listed here. 
  • I created a fifth hybrid filling by mixing leftover Belle Ganache with leftover Aurora Raspberry filling. It was super delicious & I used it to fill the macarons that had different colored tops & bottoms you see in the below image. 

Mulan’s Cherry Almond Filling
4 oz Swiss Meringue Buttercream, room temperature
3 oz Cherry Preserves
1/4 tsp Almond Extract
2 drops Pink coloring (optional) 
  1. Mix all ingredients well. Transfer the mixture to the refrigerator and chill for 20 minutes. Mix. If the filling has thickened enough to pipe, place into a piping bag (or a ziplock bag with the corner cut off) and pipe a little onto the bottom of a green macaron. Top with a second macaron & press lightly to adhere. 
  2. Refrigerate for at least 24 hrs to allow flavors to develop before serving. Store leftover macarons in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Aurora's Raspberry Cheesecake Filling
2 oz Swiss Meringue Buttercream
2 oz Seedless Raspberry Jam
1/2 tsp Cream Cheese Emulsion
  1.  In a small microwave safe bowl, heat the buttercream and raspberry jam until melted. Stir until well combined. Add cream cheese emulsion.  
  2. Transfer the mixture to the refrigerator & chill for 20 minutes. Mix. Refrigerate 20 more minutes.  If the filling has thickened enough to pipe, place into a piping bag (or a ziplock bag with the corner cut off) and pipe a little onto the bottom of a green macaron. Top with a second macaron & press lightly to adhere. 
  3. Refrigerate for at least 24 hrs to allow flavors to develop before serving. Store leftover macarons in the refrigerator for up to one week.
  4. Mix leftover raspberry filling with leftover ganache for an amazing hybrid filling. 
Belle's Chocolate Ganache Filling
4 oz Heavy Cream 
4 oz Dark Chocolate, chopped {I used 60% chocolate} 
  1. In a small saucepan, heat the cream until it just simmers. 
  2. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, let sit for a minute, then whisk until all the chocolate is melted & the mixture emulsifies into one mass. 
  3. Transfer the mixture to the refrigerator and chill for 20 minutes. Mix. If the ganache has thickened enough to pipe, place it into a a piping bag (or a ziplock bag with the corner cut off) and pipe a little onto the bottom of a yellow macaron. Top with a second macaron & press gently to adhere. If the ganache is still runny, refrigerate longer, stirring every 10 minutes. 
  4. Refrigerate the filled macarons for at least 24 hrs to allow flavors to develop before serving. Store leftover macarons in the refrigerator for up to one week.
  5. Mix leftover ganache with leftover raspberry filling for an amazing hybrid filling. 
Cinderella’s Spiced Pumpkin Filling
3 oz Swiss Meringue Buttercream, room temperature 
0.35 oz Brown Sugar
3 oz Canned Pumpkin Puree
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
1/8 tsp Nutmeg, freshly ground, if possible
1/8 tsp Ground Ginger
1/2 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
  1. Mix all ingredients well. Place into a piping bag (or a ziplock bag with the corner cut off) and pipe a little onto the bottom of a blue macaron. Top with a second macaron & press gently to adhere. 
  2. Refrigerate for at least 24 hrs to allow flavors to develop before serving. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to one week. 
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
4 oz Egg Whites
8 oz Granulated Sugar
12 oz Unsalted Butter, softened to room temperature 
splash Vanilla Extract
  1.  In a very clean metal mixing bowl (preferably one that attaches to a stand mixer), whisk together the egg whites and granulated sugar. 
  2. Place the mixing bowl over a small sauce pan of simmering water to make a double boiler.  Continue whisking the whites and sugar until all the sugar has dissolved and the mixture reaches at least 140 F on an instant read thermometer.  
  3. Remove the top bowl (being careful not to burn yourself on the hot metal of the bowl or on any drips from the hot condensation on the bottom of the bowl) & attach to a stand mixer. Fit the mixer with the whisk attachment. Whip on high speed until a fluffy meringue forms & the bowl cools to room temperature. 
  4. Once the meringue cools completely, lower the speed of the mixer to medium and begin adding the butter, one tablespoon at a time. 
  5. After the butter has all been added, scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the vanilla. Mix on medium high speed just to ensure everything is combined. 
  6. Hold the icing at room temperature until ready to use. 

3 comments:

  1. Hello!

    I am OBSESSED with your Mickey Mouse macaroons. Would you mind if I included them in a BuzzFeed post I am working on? I will need your permission to use one of your pictures. I will link your blog in the post. Let me know as soon as you can. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely use any of the images! I'm honored :)

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  2. i love that you made princess-themed macarons!! especially the cinderella ones, since the color and flavor of them evoke the movie so well (:

    ReplyDelete