French Macarons

Macaron

25 Sep French Macarons

I have a confession to make. I am not a classy person. I know I have fooled all of my readers thus far, but the jig is up. I do not know which forks belong where in a place setting and I most definitely couldn’t tell you the different notes in a fine red wine (I typically just swirl it and say “Oh that’s very fragrant” and nobody notices that I have no idea what I’m doing). As such, I have learned the tricks for fooling others into thinking “That is one classy dame!”… people still say “dame”, right?

One trick to looking classy is to eat classy foods. Instead of eating cupcakes, eat petit fours. Rather than shoveling fistfuls of chips into my mouth, I choose wheat crackers with Benedictine. One food that I have always viewed as classy is a French macaron. I have no idea if they actually are classy, but they are just exotic enough in Kentucky that I can get away with it. Unfortunately, in the Louisville area, French macarons are difficult to come by and are RIDICULOUSLY expensive (I’m talking $2 for a tiny cookie). This is what inspired today’s dessert.

First of all, a French macaron is a wafer-like cookie with a filling of your choice. They’re very light and airy and look great when you’re eating them with your pinky held high in the air. According to the internet, they are a difficult dessert to make so I must have really gotten lucky for my first attempt. The below recipe is what I came up with by averaging out the instructions from several other recipes. The temperature of your oven may be different as will the drying time… from what I gathered, this recipe can be entirely different from person to person depending on the environment that they’re in.

Macaron_Natural_2
Macaron_Natural_2

Macaron

September 25, 2014

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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I had a difficult time finding the almond meal so I ended up using a food processor to grind up some sliced almonds. The texture of the batter is key–not too runny, not to stiff. And you definitely have to make sure to bake them long enough (but not too long) which is where I made my mistake. I split my batter into three parts and added mint flavoring to one batch (and mixed in a little green gel dye), lemon juice into the second batch (with a little yellow dye), and vanilla into the third batch (with orange dye because that’s more fun than the actual color of vanilla).


Oops

whatwentwrongWhen I went to remove the little dainty wafers from the parchment paper, they kept sticking. At first I thought “not a problem, I’ll just use a spatula” but that only made them angrier. I kept removing the hardened shell while leaving behind the little gooey center. Only about 2/3’s of my macarons were in tact by the time I finished and the others (tragically) had to be eaten. With some research, I determined that I had not cooked my macarons long enough. A few more minutes in the oven would have been very helpful. Either that or I could have used a silpat rather than parchment paper, but I’m not classy enough for that (we already determined that, remember?).

After removing as many wafers as I could, I whipped up the white chocolate ganache below:

whisk2
whisk2

White Chocolate Ganache

September 25, 2014

Ingredients

8 ounces of White Chocolate

3/4 Cup of Heavy Whipping Cream

Directions

Chop the white chocolate very finely and place in a medium bowl.

Bring the heavy whipping cream to a boil over the stove, but make sure not to burn it.

Pour the cream over the chopped chocolate and stir until smooth and melted.

Put the bowl in the fridge for 5 minutes and then take it out and stir again.

Repeat this process until it is the desired consistency.

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I used a bottle to pipe some filled on one of the wafers and then used another wafer to create a tiny sandwich. Overall, they were a huge success. The vast majority of people that ate them had never actually tasted a French macaron before so they had no idea whether they were comparatively good or not which was perfect. This recipe is great and will impress all of your friends and family and if something goes wrong they will be none the wiser.

Macaron4