Saturday, February 28, 2009
Friday, February 27, 2009
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
After a complete failure with my first attempt at French Macarons, I was determined that I would get my turn at making those precious beauties that I've been drooling over all around the internet. I've been craving and dreaming of them ever since I laid my hands on a box from Paulette. Since LA isn't a hop and a skip away from where I am, I thought the better alternative would be making them at home myself.
After learning many lessons from my first attempt, I realized that room temperature egg whites were the essential core to the French Macaron. This cookie is ALL about technique, which I should have payed attention to the first time but alas, I was much too lazy for my own benefit. The reason why my first batch was so flat and spread so much was because the whites started as cold and as they became room temperature, they expanded and loosened up. Thanks to some great pointers, these cookies turned out wonderful! Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside (my favorite part), and filled with Nutella-y goodness.
Tips to making a successful French macaron:
1. Use room temperature egg whites, aged egg whites (for up to 48 hours) are supposed to give a better end product.
2. Sift the dry mixture at least once to ensure your macarons will be smooth as a baby's bottom.
3. Completely fold the dry mixture into the egg whites, this is what differentiates a macaron from other cookies; the batter should be thick, almost like a paste or as Veronica calls it "Magma."
4. Some recipes tell you to flatten the macaron using your fingertips and water, DO NOT DO THIS! I did this for my second batch which produced ugly, bubbled tops, example below:
5. Pre-draw 1 1/2 inch diameter circles on the back of your parchment paper to ensure equal sized macarons, then you can make perfect sandwiches!
6. Some say that the cookies will taste better after a full days of rest, but of course I was much too impatient for this step in the recipe.
Yields: 15 - 20 Sandwiched Cookies
from Art of Dessert (I cut the recipe in half just in case it didn't work out)
1 + 1/8 cups of finely ground almonds (You can find this at natural food supermarkets such as Whole Foods, Mother's Market, or just ground your own using a food processor!)
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
1/2 cup egg whites, room temperature
1/4 + 1/8 cup granulated sugar
3 drops of red food coloring
Whisk the egg whites in a stand-up mixer until foamy. Gradually add the granulated sugar. Whip on high speed until stiff peaks form. In a medium-sized bowl combine the ground almonds, powdered sugar, and cocoa powder and sift together. Mix well and then fold the mixture gently into the egg whites. Add the food coloring until well combined.
Place parchment paper on some baking sheets. Using a normal round tip, pipe the batter into 1 1/2 inch in diameter rounds and about 1 inch apart from each other. Leave the baking sheets out for 1 - 2 hours to let shells harden around the oustide (I did not do this step for lack of time, I didn't think it was that important since I did not see it mentioned in any other macaron directions). Preheat the oven to 300 F. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes or until tops are just set. Let them cool completely before adding filling. I used Nutella spread and the strawberry buttercream I had leftover from my strawberry cupcakes. Enjoy!
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Monday, February 23, 2009
Sunday, February 22, 2009
French Almond Macarons
Original recipe can be found here.
3/4 + 1/8 cup of confectioners sugar
1/8 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup of slivered almonds, ground finely (I think I ground them for too long, turning it into a paste)
2 small eggs (I used two large and they also weren't at room temperature, which is vital)
pinch of salt
1/8 cup granulated sugar
food coloring, if desired
Preheat oven to 300 F. Sift confectioners sugar into a bowl. Whisk in ground almonds, and sift again, set aside. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat (I just used foil). Using a mixer, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the salt and then slowly add the granulated sugar one spoonful at a time. Continue beating until medium peaks form (I might have overbeaten them, since I wasn't sure what "medium peaks" meant). Add the half of the almond mixture into the egg whites, fold gently. Add the vanilla and the rest of the almond mixture, incorporating well (I got impatient folding the mixture, and just mixed).
My "medium" peaks:
Transfer the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch plain tip. Pipe the mixture onto the baking sheets, making them 1 1/2 inches in width. Bake until they are slightly firm to the touch, about 18 - 25* minutes, making sure to rotate the pan halfway. Let them cool completely before spreading the insides with filling.
I noticed when I piped the mixture onto the sheet that it was very liquidy and that it started to spread out as soon as I put it on the sheet.
* I only cooked mine for 10 minutes since they were so thin.
Going into the oven: