WARNING: Do not make on a humid day!
There is not much that I hesitate to try in the kitchen, but I have been reading about macarons for about two years, I have read several books and countless articles both in magazines and on the web and just recently decided to try them myself. I was truly amazed at my first attempts - exquisite little cookies with the requisite "foot" on the bottom. VIDEO BELOW
So, first the ingredients:
50 grams of egg whites - yes, you do have to weigh these. Eggs vary in size (even though the package says they are "large") and people have different ways of separating them. Have them at room temperature and don't use the freshest eggs. Some people even leave them out, covered, for a day or two.
60 grams of ground almonds - I use Bob's Red Mill which I find in my local supermarket
100 grams of powdered sugar
16 grams of granulated sugar
Flavoring and coloring as desired. Note: use gel or paste colors rather than liquid.
food processor or blender
medium size bowl
copper bowl or other bowl for beating the egg whites (if you don't use a copper bowl, add a pinch of cream of tarter or a drop or two of lemon juice to the egg whites)
large pastry bag
¼" pastry tube
large glass to hold pastry bag
two heavy duty cookie sheets lined with parchment paper
Have everything at hand before you begin.
Place the ground almonds and powdered sugar in a processor and whiz for a minute or two. Transfer mixture to the sieve and strain into your bowl. Discard any little bits left in the sieve.
Start beating the egg whites slowly, gradually increasing speed, add the granulated sugar in thirds and beat until stiff peaks form. Add a teaspoon of flavoring and paste or gel coloring.
Using a rubber spatula, fold in the almond mixture by thirds until it is well-incorporated. The mixture will just start to thin a little. Transfer to the pastry bag. Holding the bag vertically pipe small circles out onto the parchment lined pastry sheets. I have made a template on a sheet of parchment using a black magic marker and simply put that under the sheet I am piping onto.
Let the macaron sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes until they develop a "skin". You can tell when they are ready by touching them lightly - they will no longer feel tacky. Put them in a 220º convection oven on the lowest shelf and back for about 18 minutes. If you don't have a convection oven, bake at 245 - 250º. Ovens very greatly so you may have to adjust a few times before you find just the right setting.
Allow the cookies to cool and then remove from the parchment and fill as desired. A word of warning: press them together gently from the sides don't try to squeeze from the top!
Some flavor and filling suggestions:
Raspberry filled with chocolate ganache (recipe follows) and/or raspberry jam
Chocolate (substitute two tablespoons of powdered sugar with two tablespoons of cocoa) filled with white chocolate ganache
Orange - 1½ teaspoons of grated orange peel in processor with almonds and sugar filled with chocolate ganache
Lemon - 1½ teaspoons of grated lemon peel in processor with almonds and sugar filled with lemon buttercream
Cassis - 1 teaspoon créme de cassis with blackcurrant buttercream
Mint - 1 teaspoon peppermint flavoring with chocolate ganache
Coffee - 1 teaspoon powdered espresso beaten into egg whites filled with chocolate ganache
Leftover ganache and buttercream can be stored in the refrigerator for two to three days or frozen for future use.
3 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate
⅓ cup boiling cream (do not attempt to heat in the microwave - it will explode!)
Pour cream over chocolate and let sit for 3 minutes. Stir to combine and let sit at room temperature till it thickens.
1 stick of softened butter
1½ cups of powdered sugar
Beat, using a hand mixer, until well combined. Add flavorings such as grated citrus peel, blackcurrant jam, etc.
I'm sure you will come up with your own combinations - let me know what they are!
Take a look at the video, you'll see that these are not nearly as difficult as they sound.
|Beating the eggs|
|Folding Almond/Sugar Mixture|
|Fill Pastry Bag|
WATCH THE VIDEO
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