French Macarons Part Deux

Macaron_Natural_2

20 Jan French Macarons Part Deux

Throughout the last year, French macarons have become one of my favorite treats. There’s something super satisfying about the wide variety of colors and flavors that they can be. During my time in France, I saw so many macarons that I couldn’t even begin to sample all of the flavors… but I think I may just give it my best effort!

For today’s entry in my blog, I’m going to showcase my attempt at experimenting with macarons. For my first macaron post, everything seemed to go absolutely swimmingly. Everywhere on the Internet had said that macarons could be quite challenging so I shouldn’t be disappointed if something goes wrong the first time around. I walked away feeling like an absolute champ! Only a few minor hiccups! Making macarons couldn’t possibly be THAT difficult, could it? Why yes… yes it can be that difficult.

Macaron_ingredients

For these macarons, I wanted to utilize some natural sources in order to achieve the color and flavors. I made a trip to Trader Joe’s and grabbed some freeze-dried fruits off the shelf (orange, blueberry, and raspberry) and then ground them to a pulp in my blender at home. What resulted was this super-fine fruity powder. The blueberry and raspberry blended really well while the orange had a little difficulty… It seemed to turn more into shards than powder and nobody likes eating shards of anything for dessert.

Then I made three batches of my macaron wafer mix and instead of adding artificial color and flavor, I dumped each of the fruit powders into one of the macaron batches.

Macaron_Natural_2
Macaron_Natural_2

Macaron

January 20, 2015

Ingredients

3 Egg Whites

1 Cup of Almond Meal/Flour

1/4 Cup of White Granulated Sugar

1 2/3 Cup Confectioner's Sugar

Directions

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F (may vary depending on your oven) and line some cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Beat egg whites in a stand mixer using the whisk attachment until the whites are foamy.

With the mixer still running, slowly add granulated sugar.

Beat until fluffy, glossy, and have soft peaks.

In a separate bowl, sift together the confectioner's sugar and almond meal.

By hand, fold in the egg white mixture. Try to incorporate the powdered mixture with as few strokes as possible--about 40 strokes.

You can also add your dye and flavor. The amount of flavoring that you add depends--just flavor to taste.

Continue mixing until batter runs off of the spatula in ribbons and settles in the bowl completely in 15 seconds. If it is still too sift, mix some more.

When batter is finished, spoon it into a pastry bag that has been fitted with a plain round tip (a coupler will also work).

Pipe small, 1 1/2 inch, evenly-sized disks onto the parchment paper, allowing space between the cookies for settling.

Once a tray has filled up, drop the tray several times from a height of about 6 inches. This helps remove any air bubbles from the batter as well as helps the batter settle.

Allow the batter to sit out at room temperature until a hard shell covers the cookies. This time may vary (for me it was about an hour and a half).

Bake cookies until they just begin to brown (about 12 minutes) and let them cool completely before filling.

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After mixing, I noticed that the batter seemed to have a chunkier texture than the last time I made macarons but I figured it was too late to do anything about that now. I piped the macarons onto a sheet of parchment paper and set them out to let them form a shell. I waited for almost 2 hours and they still hadn’t formed their characteristic tacky top. I was in a little bit of a hurry so I went ahead and threw them into oven.

A piece of advice: never rush a French macaron… they don’t like that. Since my macarons had not developed their shell, they cracked during the baking and I was super bummed out. Oh well… I guess I’m not immune to the woes of the macaron after all.

I went ahead and made some lemon buttercream frosting for the raspberry and blueberry macarons and then some white chocolate ganache for the orange macarons.

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whisk2

Lemon Buttercream Frosting

January 20, 2015

Ingredients

1 1/2 Sticks of Unsalted Butter (room temperature)

2 1/2 Cups of Powdered Sugar

1 Lemon's Worth of Zest (approximately 1 tablespoon)

1 Lemon's Worth of Juice (approximately 3 tablespoons)

Directions

Beat butter in a mixer until smooth.

Add the lemon juice and zest and beat until incorporated.

While mixer is still running, slowly start adding powdered sugar.

Add until desired taste and texture are achieved.

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I think they turned out well even if they were a little uglier than usual. They definitely tasted awesome!

Macarones_Natural