French Macarons

May 26, 2014 at 12:55 pm 1 comment

mint_macarons

Chocolate mint macarons

A few years ago I had the opportunity at my day job to work with a master pastry chef and chef instructor at the Culinary Institute of America. At the end of the assignment I asked him how to make French Macarons. His comment, “Those are really difficult, almost impossible, to make at home.” I let the comment sink in and never attempted to try them until a neighbor shared the March issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine with beautiful close-ups of colorful macarons on the cover and the caption, “Gorgeous Macarons you can make at home (for 18 cents each!).” This inspired me and I attempted them and the results were not bad.

 

French Macarons
(From Martha Stewart Living, March 2014)

2/3 cup sliced blanched almonds

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 large egg whites at room temperature

1/4 cup granulated sugar.

Filling–see below.

 

Step 1

slicedalmonds

blanched almonds

Grind almonds in a food processor until as fine as possible, about 1 minute. I used a blender and ground them in small batches.

Add confectioners’ sugar to almond mixture and process until combined, about 1 minute.

Step 2

Sift dry ingredients. Pass almond/sugar mixture through a fine-mesh sieve. Transfer solids in sieve to food processor or blender and continue to grind and sift again. Press down on clumps. Repeat until less than 2 tablespoons of solids remain in sieve.

Step 3

Whisk egg whites and granulated sugar by hand to combine. Beat on medium speed (4 on a KitchenAid) 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium high and beat 2 minutes. Then beat on high for two minutes more. In other recipes researched, they give advice to get the egg whites very, very stiff.stiff_eggwhites_macarons

Step 4

Customize the meringue

The beaten egg whites will hold still, glossy peaks. Add flavoring and food coloring. Do NOT add liquid food coloring. Use paste. Liquids will impact the consistency of the batter. Beat food coloring into mixture. I added 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract and a few drops of leaf green gel paste food coloring.

Step 5

Fold in almond mixture. Add dry ingredients all at once and fold with a spatula from the bottom of bowl upward, the press flat side of spatula firmly through middle of mixture. Repeat just until batter flows like lava (Really Martha?…I don’t think a lot of us get real close to lava!) 35-40 strokes.

Step 6

Prepare to pipe.

bagofmacarondoughRest a pastry bag fitted with a 3/8″ round tip inside a glass. Transfer batter to bag. Secure top. Dab some batter remaining in bowl onto corners of 2 heavy baking sheets. Line with parchment. Batter on sheet will hold parchment.

Step 7

Form rounds. With piping tip 1/2″ above sheet, pipe batter into a 3/4″ round. Swirl tip off to one side. Repeat, spacing rounds 1″ apart. (I dusted half of my rounds with with grated bittersweet chocolate before baking.) Tap sheets firmly against counter 2-3 times to release air bubbles.

mintmacarons_onsheet

 

 

 

 

Step 8

Bake, fill and refrigerate

Bake one sheet at a time. rotating halfway through, until risen and set, 13 minutes. Let cool. Pipe or spread filling on flat sides of half of cookies and top with remaining half. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate. The recipe notes that most of these are best eaten 1-3 days after refrigeration.

I followed the chocolate mint recipe and used this for filling:

Filling

Heat 1/4 cup heavy cream in a saucepan till bubbles begin to form.
Add 1 1/2 ounces of finely chopped bittersweet chocolate and 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter. Stir to combine.
Let cool until thick and spreadable.

I am attempting this recipe again and will freeze the unfilled cookies for future assembly. I will share how they survive a few days in the freezer.

Other flavor combinations listed in the magazine include toasted hazelnut and chocolate, espresso, vanilla bean and rose raspberry, and I will provide post updates if I make any of these. There are a few comments on Martha’s site about this recipe but I am inclined not to alter it based on a few comments. I have never been disappointed in a baking recipe from Martha.

Updates:

I have since tried creme de cassis as a flavoring with pink food color and raspberry filling. It was excellent.

Another flavor combination is instant espresso sprinkled on top with chocolate-espresso filling.

I have also used almond flour instead of grinding almonds but prefer grinding the almonds. It is a finer mixture.

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Entry filed under: French Macarons, Macarons. Tags: , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Anonymous  |  May 26, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    Reply

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