Friday, October 2, 2009

Love Affair with French Macarons

Last Easter, I attempted to make French Macarons, after becoming obsessed with their images.....These are definitely not your grandma's heavy, gooey, coco-nutty macaroons, French Macarons (ma-ca- RONS) are light, airy, and oh so subtley favored with almond and whatever second note you'd like to add.

Here's a recipe I adapted from dozens I perused over the internet:

Ann’s French Macaron Recipe
3 egg whites at room temp (¼ cup plus 2 tbls if using carton egg whites)
almond flour(granulated almonds, find in health food or natural foods store) (1 cup)
powdered sugar (1 ¼ cup)
granulated sugar ¼ cup
a few drops of food coloring
Almond extract (or raspberry, vanilla, orange, etc. for a different flavor)

In a food processor, grind the almonds and powdered sugar together to make sure they are really fine. Break any lumps with fingers. It will feel mealy. Set aside.

Start whipping the whites on low speed to break them up, and slowly increase as to obtain a soft foam. Slowly add the granulated sugar, one Tbls at a time until the meringue is tight and glossy. Add extract.

Stop the machine and fold in the coloring and the almond/powdered sugar, carefully, so as not to callapse the puffyness too much. The batter should flow smoothly but not be runny. Try a spoonful on a plate. The little peak created by the meringue should flatten when tapped on the counter top.

Line 2 baking sheets with non-stick aluminum foil (imperitive--no subs here!) and preheat the oven to 320 F.

Fill a gallon freezer ziplock bag with the batter, cut a small hole in one corner, and pipe rounds (very small circles, no more than 1” diameter ) on the baking sheet lined with non-stick foil.

When they seem puffed and a “foot”* forms, lower heat by 10 degrees.

*Feet/Foot refers to the frilly bottoms of the cookies formed as they rise in the oven.

Bake total 8-11 mins.

Remove each macaron carefully from foil with a thin metal spatula (this should be easy with the non-stick foil) onto a cooling rack. They will deflate slightly as they cool.

Once they are cooled: fill each with about 1 Tb. of the frosting, jam or nutella, forming a sandwich-cookie.

Store in a covered container in the fridge, letting set, uncovered at room temp for 20-30 minutes before serving. They can also be frozen up to 3 months, in a covered container between sheets of waxed paper.

TIPS:Make on a sunny dry day.
Oven door was slightly ajar. Do not sieve almond flour, leave it slightly grainy; I am convinced that’s how I got the best results. Do not over-mix, but also do not under-mix(over mixed will not form “feet*“, under-mixed will crack and puff too much!) It was the mixing that was the crucial thing. Bake until tops are light-colored and puffy-- a couple batches I pulled out too early and the tops looked darker and sunk and cracked a bit after cooling. But they still tasted good.
Non-stick foil allows you to pull them off after about 5 minutes out of the oven.

This is Tartlette's version by way of Bakerella:

1 comment:

  1. Hi! Saw your comment over at Beat Until Fluffy about your macarons. I just tried macarons for the first time at a great bakery where I live. They are so good! I'd really love to try making them. Thanks for the recipe!


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