I have been thinking about making some duck macarons for a while but as soon as the name of these popped into my head they waddled quickly to the top of my list. It also gave me the perfect opportunity to try out my new grass piping nozzle that I picked up at Cake International, providing the quackaroons with a pond cupcake surrounded by grass. I finished the ponds off by making grass cupcake wrappers with my digital cutter and some green card from Ikea, using a file I bought from Lettering Delights.
The cupcakes are made using the ‘Chocolate buttermilk cake’ recipe from page 101 of the book ‘Tea with Bea’. It is the second recipe I’ve made from this book – the first was the ‘espresso Bourbon cake’ that I used for my Rainbow Hi Hats. Both recipes are really easy to follow yet the results are absolutely delicious, with deep dark chocolate flavour balanced by a lovely light texture. I used buttercream flavoured with lemon extract for both the pond decorations and to fill the macarons and the cupcakes offset the sweetness perfectly. The macarons themselves are made using my usual recipe, although without any spices. Once they had cooled I added the eyes using royal icing.
I have to say that they were my most challenging shape yet to pipe but I gradually got better. I have included a pdf template to download below for any of you who want to try them. My first attempts on the right in the photo below but even as I got better I struggled to keep the shapes consistent.
I’d recommend piping the body first – start from the front and pipe in a straight line then when you reach the tail ease off the pressure on the piping bag and twist while making a slight upward motion. Then you can then pipe the head easily, ensuring it meets with the body. Switch to a narrow nozzle to pipe the beak and keep the orange macaron batter slightly undermixed so it doesn’t spread. I used powder colours for these macarons and ended up overmixing the yellow in an effort to combine the colour thoroughly, so I’d suggest adding it in with the dry ingredients before combining with the meringue. This does mean that when you’re making more than one colour you need to divide the dry ingredients and meringue into the correct proportions. Make sure you weigh your mixer bowl in advance so you can calculate what the meringue weighs.
I attempted a few freehand ducklings using the leftover macaron mix but most of them didn’t survive unfortunately. I was pleased with how the letters baked though – I was able to remove them from the baking paper easily and they even got the tiniest feet.
The cupcake decorations were fairly simple – I spread the blue buttercream using a palette knife then piped the green around the edges with my grass piping nozzle. I love the effect you get with this nozzle but if you don’t have one you could always pipe green around the edges with a standard nozzle then try to spike it a bit by touching it with a flat knife and pulling upwards.
So do you think you’d be able to eat these cute little quackaroons? I don’t seem to be having any trouble.
I am hoping to sneak these into the latest Mactweets challenge – Mac Attack #29 : Colour My World Macarons – where we were set the task of making macarons with two colours in the shell or a different colour top and bottom.