Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Macaron Madness



Macarons seem to be quite the trend these days - especially as gifts like the spectacular ones from Laduree - much less messy than a Cronut, and probably less expensive! I set out to see if I could tackle the Macaron, with a very open mind. Being admittedly type A, these "challenges" are what I live for, but they do kind of look little colorful circles of delicious painstaking (painful) work. I decided to start with Martha Stewart's Macaron recipe - after all - who better on a detail oriented task than Martha? Two days and about 60 Macarons later, I think I have some tips to Macaron success for those of us who aspire to Laduree heights! You can really make these any flavor or color, or just start with a plain batch to learn the steps. I did Lemon with Lemon buttercream, Orange with orange buttercream, and Almond (using almond extract). Get le scoop after le jump



French Macarons (Makes 24 plus the ones you'll probably have to throw out)
You will need:
  • 1 cup confectioners/powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup almond flour/meal - ground as fine as possible (try to find a market like Whole Foods that sells it in bulk so you can save $$)
  • 2 extra large egg whites (let come to room temp)
  • 1 pinch cream of tartar
  • 1/4 cup superfine/Casters sugar 
  • 1 cup vanilla buttercream (store bought for me) or homemade (I love Epicurious' version!)

Special: 
  • Parchment paper
  • Pastry Bags (I would recommend one per color/flavor)
  • 1/2 inch piping tips
  • Patience (A LOT OF IT)
  • Assorted food colorings, flavor oils, flavor extracts (I used orange, almond and lemon)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse powdered sugar and almond flour until well combined. With a hand sifter, sift mixture into a medium bowl three times. Using a stand mixer or hand mixer (stand is easier) beat egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar, and continue to whisk until soft peaks form. If you need a tutorial on egg white stages, click here! Reduce mixer speed, then add your casters sugar. Increase speed back to high, until stiff peaks form, about 4-5 minutes. Remove bowl from mixer. Sift almond flour mixture over whites, and fold until mixture is smooth and shiny. Separate batter equally into smaller bowls (one each for every flavor you want to do). Add food coloring and flavoring to taste. Transfer batter to the pastry bags fitted with 1/2-inch round tips. Pipe 3/4-inch rounds about 1 inch apart on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. NOTE - great piping tutorial here. Tap each cookie sheet on your counter to release trapped air. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes - this will allow the surface to dry and gloss over. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake 1 sheet at a time, rotating halfway through, until Macarons are crisp and firm, about 7 minutes. After each batch is done, increase oven temp to 375 degrees, heat for 5 minutes, then reduce to 325 degrees. Let  the macarons cool on sheets for 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to another sheet of parchment. Prepare your frosting by adding flavors and colors to vanilla buttercream to desired color/flavor. When Macarons are cool, spread a small amount of butter cream on one Macaron base, then sandwich the two together. Be very careful as these are super delicate. Arrange on platter - serve immediately or freeze!

2 comments:

  1. Yes, macrons are quite trendy. And def not easy to make. Thansk for sharing your tips. Please check out The Macaron Master as it is a fantastic macaron guide! www.TheMacaronMaster.com

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  2. Can't wait to check it out! I was on vacation so apologies for the delayed response.

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