Ahh Irn bru. The Nectar of the Gods.
To repeat the drink’s own slogan, ‘…Irn Bru gets you through’.
In my opinion there has never been slogan more true to life; it really does get you through.
It got me through my exams, it gets me through a tiring day at work and it has gotten me through many a bad hangover (Irn Bru is the best and most efficient hangover cure in the world, end of).
I am not the only one though; I once found an emergency supply of it in the back of my sister’s car alongside the hi vis jacket and spare tyre, to help get her through in case of a break down. I believe that Andy Murray is another one that likes to have a sip to ‘get him through’…
With it outselling both Coke and Pepsi in Scotland, making it the United Kingdom’s third most popular drink, it makes it even more clear that I am not alone in my devotion. So what is it about this lucid orange substance that makes it so popular?
Lets start with the taste; I guess it could be described as a sort of bubblegum flavour with a hint of iron; sounds delicious right? Now I am not going to lie, to someone that hasn’t tasted it before, the florescent orange colour combined with the ‘hint of iron’ and contless other E numbers must not seem that appealing. But I am telling you that you simply must try it before making a judgement.
If I can’t convince you to give it a try then go on to youtube and have a look at some of Irn Bru’s hilarious adverts. The Snowman reboot has always been a firm family favourite.
I think it would be fair to say that Irn Bru is a symbol of Scotland, as is Robert Burns. I might also note that no Burns Supper would be complete without the obligatory 2 litre bottle of Irn Bru sat on the table, nestled in among the alcohol and nibbles. Therefore I thought it would be fun to try something a little bit different and have a bash making some Irn Bru flavoured macarons.
This was a bit of a challenge considering liquid is the arch enemy of the macaron. Therefore I had to try and work out the best way to incorporate the flavour. This involved boiling down the Irn Bru until I was left with a thick syrupy reduction. In the end they kind of did taste like Irn Bru. My mum described them as tasting ‘fizzy’, which I guess is a good thing. I think next time I will make a bit more of the syrup so that they scream IRN BRU.
Prep Time: 3 hours including the Irn Bru reduction time
For the Shells:
100g Icing Sugar
50g Ground Almonds
37g Caster Sugar
2 Large Eggs
Orange, Powder or Gel Food Colouring
For the Filling:
250g Icing Sugar
Irn Bru Syrup
Blue Food Colouring
For the Irn Bru Syrup:
2 Bottles of Irn Bru
1. Firstly you will want to make the Irn Bru syrup as this can take about 2 hours, therefore it is a good idea to do it the night before.
2. You need to simply pour two bottles of Irn Bru into a saucepan and then boil it until it has reduced down into a thick syrup.
3. Now to make the shells…Preheat the oven to 150°C/ 300 F/ Gas Mark 2
4. Blend the ground almonds and icing sugar in a blender until combined.
5. Separate the eggs, discarding the yolk and keeping the whites.
6. Whisk the egg whites with a hand hand mixer or stand mixer. Once the egg whites begin to look fluffy, start to gradually add your caster sugar a bit at a time until you have a meringue that holds soft peaks.
7. Now add the orange food colouring- the brighter the better, as a lot of the colour will fade during baking.
8. Tip the ground almond icing sugar mix into the bowl with the meringue mix and using a spatula, begin to gently fold the dry mix into the wet, incorporating as much air as possible.
You want to keep doing this until the dry mix is totally incorporated into the wet meringue mix. Pick up your spatula with some of the mixture on it and then let it run off- you want it to fall from the spatula like a ribbon and leave a trail on the surface of the mix in the bowl. Knowing when it’s done is the tricky bit and I would say that this particular batch was left a bit too under mixed.
9. Once you are happy with the mixture, pour it into a piping bag and cut a small hole into the tip.
10. Now its time to pipe your shells. As I have mentioned before, I use a mould for this, but it is not necessary- you can just pipe directly onto a tray covered in a sheet of baking parchment. If you want to be really neat you can even draw circular templates on to the paper.
11. You now need to leave the shells out in the open for 20-30 minutes so that they form a shiny top.
12. Once you are satisfied that they have a shiny top you need to put them in the oven for 12-14 minutes. Once you take them out of the oven leave them to cool before trying to handle them, as they can be quite delicate while they are still warm.
13. To make the filling… Make a buttercream filling by beating the butter and icing sugar together with blue food colouring until it is smooth- you can add a dash of milk if you feel it is too stiff.
14. Now you need to add the boiled down Irn Bru reduction to the buttercream, being sure to mix well.
15. You now need to sandwich your macarons with a dollop of the buttercream in the middle. You can use a piping bag to do this, like I did, or you can just spread the buttercream on to the macarons with a knife.
16. To add a finishing touch to the macarons I decided to splatter them with blue food colouring in an attempt to give them a sort of ‘fizzy’ look. To do this you first need to add a bit of the blue food colouring to water. Then, using a clean paintbrush you need flick the food colouring over the macarons. WARNING- this can be quite messy and I would definitely recommend putting some newspaper or other form of protection down before doing it. Otherwise you may have a blue speckled kitchen for many years to come!