Thursday, February 19, 2009

Mad for Macarons

I have recently become a fan of the Parisian macaron. These babies have been around since the 18th century apparently. Oh what I wouldn't give to go back to 1999 when I spent four months in Europe and somehow instill my love for European pastries, cheeses, and breads for that naive 20 year old girl who did appreciate the food but had so much to learn! I think these little cookies are cute and so delicious!

This was my first attempt. This recipe for Basic Macarons with Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache comes from Serious Eats. Not exactly a success, but they tasted good enough that I wanted to keep at it until I got it right.

These macarons were an improvement, but still not quite right. Luckily they tasted amazing. It was after this batch that I realized that using the Airbake cookie sheet was a mistake. It wasn't cooking the bottom of the macarons enough. I pulled out on my basic sheet pans and had a much better outcome with my later attempts.

Red Berry Macarons with White Chocolate Buttercream
adapted from Tartelette

For the shells:
3 egg whites (about 90 gr)
30 gr granulated sugar
200 gr powdered sugar
110 gr almonds
2 Tb powdered red food coloring

For the whites: the day before (24hrs), separate your eggs and store the whites at room temperature in a covered container. If you want to use 48hrs (or more) egg whites, you can store them in the fridge. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam, gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue. Do not overbeat your meringue or it will be too dry and your macarons won't work. Combine the almonds and powdered sugar in a food processor and give them a good pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Pass through a sieve. Add them to the meringue,with the coloring and give it a quick fold to break some of the air and then fold the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that flows like magma or a thick ribbon. Give quick strokes at first to break the mass and slow down. The whole process should not take more than 50 strokes. Test a small amount on a plate: if the tops flattens on its own you are good to go. If there is a small beak, give the batter a couple of turns. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (Ateco #807 or #809) with the batter and pipe small rounds (1.5 inches in diameter) onto parchment paper lined baking sheets. Preheat the oven to 300F. Let the macarons sit out for 30 minutes to an hour to harden their shells a bit and bake for 8-10 minutes, depending on their size. Let cool. If you have trouble removing the shells, pour a couple of drops of water under the parchment paper while the sheet is still a bit warm and the macarons will lift up more easily do to the moisture. Don't let them sit there in it too long or they will become soggy. Once baked and if you are not using them right away, store them in an airtight container out of the fridge for a couple of days or in the freezer.

White Chocolate Buttercream:

1/2 cup whipping cream
1 cup white chocolate
3/4 stick of butter, softened
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Heat 1/2 cup of whipping cream until just boiling. Pour over 1 cup of white chocolate at let sit for 1 minute before mixing. Mix until smooth and let cool for 30-60 minutes. Beat powdered sugar with butter until mixed. While beating, slowly add cooled white chocolate mixture until you reach that beautiful buttercream consistency. Pipe or spread onto macaron cookie and top with a little bit of raspberry jam or red berry jelly. (I had some homemade raspberry jam I used, but there's a recipe on Tartelette for a raspberry/red currant jelly.)
Lemon Macarons
adapted from Tartelette

For the shells:

120 gr. egg whites, divided
35 gr. sugar
150 gr. finely ground almonds
150 gr. powdered sugar
yellow food coloring
1 tsp. pure lemon extract


For the whites: the day before (24hrs), separate your eggs and store the whites at room temperature in a covered container. If you want to use 48hrs (or more) egg whites, you can store them in the fridge. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam, gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue. Add yellow food coloring and lemon extract just before you're done beating the meringue. Do not overbeat your meringue or it will be too dry and your macarons won't work. Combine the almonds and powdered sugar in a food processor and give them a good pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Pass through a sieve. Add them to the meringue,with the coloring and give it a quick fold to break some of the air and then fold the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that flows like magma or a thick ribbon. Give quick strokes at first to break the mass and slow down. The whole process should not take more than 50 strokes. Test a small amount on a plate: if the tops flattens on its own you are good to go. If there is a small beak, give the batter a couple of turns. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (Ateco #807 or #809) with the batter and pipe small rounds (1.5 inches in diameter) onto parchment paper lined baking sheets. Preheat the oven to 300F. Let the macarons sit out for 30 minutes to an hour to harden their shells a bit and bake for 8-10 minutes, depending on their size. Let cool. If you have trouble removing the shells, pour a couple of drops of water under the parchment paper while the sheet is still a bit warm and the macarons will lift up more easily do to the moisture. Don't let them sit there in it too long or they will become soggy. Once baked and if you are not using them right away, store them in an airtight container out of the fridge for a couple of days or in the freezer.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip with the mixture and pipe macarons about 3 inches in diameter on parchment paper lined baking sheet. You can let them sit at room temperature for 20 minutes if desired. This is often done to assure those little feet at the bottom but I found that I can skip this step with this recipe and still end up with the same result.
Bake at 320 for 15 minutes. Let cool.

Lemon Curd (this recipe makes about 2 cups, so I cut the recipe in half)

1 lemons
1/3 stick butter
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg

Zest the lemon and mince the zests; juice the lemons. Combine the zest and juice with the butter and sugar and place in a small saucepan over very low heat or in the top of a double boiler over simmering water.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Beat the eggs and add them to the mixture; make sure the heat is very low.

Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 10 minutes; do not let the mixture boil or the eggs will curdle. Cool slightly, then pour into custard cups, small bowls, or jars; cool, then refrigerate.

Pipe cooled lemon curd onto macaron shells.


Snickers Macarons- I followed this recipe that I found on (bet you can guess) Tartlette.

Oh my, these were lovely. I'm so sad they're gone!

I taught a demo this week at Cooking Club so it was nice to have a reason to bake so many of these little wonders and get some good practice. David Lebovitz's website made for a great springboard for me to other websites. He had some great pointers there and provides links to some amazing recipes. Also here are some of the fun quirks about cooking macarons that really seemed to work for me:
  • 1-2 day old egg whites
  • letting them sit out for 30 minutes- 2 hours to form a "skin"
  • baking them with a wooden spoon wedged in the oven door

6 comments:

The last Unicorn said...

These are beautiful! They look really hard to make though... I am once again very impressed :)

Stephanie said...

I looooooove macaroons! so much so that we gave them to our guests at our wedding. ;)

Tartelette said...

What an awesome maca-thon!! I am very impressed!

Tara said...

Oh I am so sad I missed this! Gorgeous pics, it's fun you caught Franny in the background.

Donna-FFW said...

These look so delicious, Macaroons are a favorite of mine. I love the photos. Impressive! Fun blog you have here, I just stumbled upon you. They really are lovely.

Josh said...

I am seriously going to try to make those. What I want more than anything though are this kind:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luxemburgerli

We had them when we went to switzerland 7 years ago and I think about them 3 to 4 times a day. OK, 9 or 10 times a day...

Related Posts with Thumbnails