Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mad about Macarons

Lately, I've been running into these little guys everywhere. On my favorite baking blogs, magazine pages, and even during lunchtime chats with my co-workers. Some say they're the new cupcake. So what's with these pretty little French cookies? Well, curiosity, or my stomach, got the best of me and I insisted on trying them. Problem was, there's not a single bakery or sweet shop that make them in my humble little town of 250,000 people. So I scoured the web for the best recipe I could find (well, the least intimidating recipe) and got to work baking a few batches of these sweet sandwiches. Warning: This was my first time attempting to make macarons and have nothing to compare them to except the photos I find online. I am happy to say that they tasted amazing so that's reason enough to declare myself an official Macaron Maker - but not yet a Master. Overall, I think they were a success but I feel there are a few little things I need to improve on. I have a feeling that the more I make, the better each batch will turn out. Let the baking begin!

There are many tips and tricks to getting the perfect macaron and to achieve what they call feet (the desired cookie edge when it rises). Here are a few in case you're thinking of attempting them yourself - which I highly recommend.
1. Let your egg whites sit out at room temperature for at least 48 hours. I know that sounds gross but do it anyways. I only let mine sit out overnight and they clearly needed more time.
2. Use a scale to measure your ingredients. Accuracy is important.
3. Practice piping if you're not yet skilled at it. I had never piped before so I ended up with a mess of batter all over me and the counter. You can also draw circles on the back of your parchment as a guide for when you're piping.
4. Before you pop them in the oven let the cookies sit on the baking sheet for about 30 minutes.
5. Fold your dry ingredients into the beaten egg whites. Do not over mix otherwise you'll get weird feet and fragile tops.
6. You can use anything for the filling. Frosting, ganache, and even ice cream! I used sugar-free blackberry jam (full sugar jam was too sweet) and Nutella.

Here's what my batter looked like after piping it on the baking sheet. It turned out thinner than I liked which I contribute to either not letting the egg whites sit out longer or over-beating the batter.

Note: for those of you not familiar with a macaron, they are bite-sized French cookies, that consist of a decadent filling sandwiched between 2 light cookies, that tend to come in pretty pastel colors. Not to be confused with coconut macaroons (spelled with two o's, not one).

1 comment:

TravelingVenus said...

After overdosing on them in NYC, I must say yours look pretty good. I am craving them BIG TIME right now so I may have to join you, dear sis, in the quest to become a Macaron Master!