Sunday, February 10, 2013

French Macarons

Now I took a class to learn to make these but I am going to try my best to explain with tips how to perfect these. There is a science to them so have patience! They're so worth it!

Ingredients: (in grams)
Almond Flour - 300 g (or substitute 20 g for cocoa powder for chocolate cookies)
Powdered sugar - 300 g
Egg whites #1 (about 3 eggs room temp) - 110 g 
Food Coloring - to preference, gel or paste color works best
Granulated sugar - 300 g
Water - 75 g
Egg Whites #2 (about 3 eggs room temp) - 100 g

1. Sift the powdered sugar and combine with the almond flour. You can find almond flour at kitchen supply stores or in the gluten-free areas of a grocery store.
2. Stir in egg whites #1 and the food coloring by hand. I suggest adding more color now since the white meringue will lighten the overall color later.
3. Cook the sugar and water to a simple syrup until it reaches 118 degrees celsius
4. When the syrup reaches 115 degrees begin whipping the egg whites.
5. Turn the speed down to medium or low speed and pour in the sugar. It is really important to pour the syrup down the side of the bowl as to not touch the whisk and splatter all over the bowl. You want it to incorporate straight into the egg whites.
6.Return the speed to high and whip until cool. I touch the outside of the bowl to see if it is cool.
7. Add the meringue to the almond dough slowly and softly fold in, you do not want to flatten the meringue.
8. Put your straight edge round tip in the piping bag and fill with the mixture.
9. Pipe cookies roughly 1.5" in diameter about 1" apart. Hold the piping bag as straight as possible and flick when done so the top of the cookie will bake to be a smooth surface.
10. Let the cookies sit at room temperature uncovered for 1 hour.
11. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes, rotating the pans half way. When done, remove the cookies from the sheet pan immediately.
12. Store in the freezer until ready to fill. Once filled, store in the refrigerator.

Now, there are various fillings and flavor mixtures you can do. The basics are a chocolate ganache and an Italian buttercream (oil based flavorings/extracts are best, fruit purees can be used as well). Or use chocolate hazelnut spread or anything you see fit! The nice things about macarons are that you can make any combination of flavors and you little heart desires!

For the ganache:
20 oz of dark chocolate
3/4 cup of heavy whipping cream
I used about a tablespoon of raspberry flavoring. Add more or less flavoring to taste. You want the ganache to be sturdy so it does not smoosh out of the cookies.

For melt-in-your-mouth Italian buttercream:
1 lb. sugar
1/2 lb. egg whites
1 1/2 lb. butter

1.Warm the egg whites and sugar over a double boiler until warm to the touch and all of the sugar is dissolved.
2. Whip on high speed for 2-3 minutes, then lower to medium speed and whip until cool. The meringue should be shiny and cool.
3. Gradually add the soft butter with the mixture on medium-low speed. Whip until smooth and light.

Below are some pictures of different variations for some inspiration :)