Wednesday, January 16, 2013

First French Macarons

I put it off and put it off, but finally made French macarons !  I did the basic flavor for the macaron itself, then additionally flavored them with fillings.  They were not as hard to make as I'd thought they'd be, BUT I will definitely have to try again to play around with flavors and colors.

To make these macarons, I added a little red India Tree Natural Decorating Colors, 3 bottles(red,yellow,blue)  (of course in honor of Valentine's Day approaching).  :) 

I made a dark chocolate ganache for half of the batch and a strawberry whipped buttercream for the other half. 

Strawberry Whipped Buttercream:
1/2 C heavy cream
1 C unrefined, homemade powdered sugar
1/4 C Nature's All Foods Organic Freeze-Dried Strawberries, 1.2 Ounce Pouch   (You can put them into the food processor to powder them.)

-Whip the ingredients together with a mixer or hand mixer.  Add more or less cream depending on how thick you want it.

I used Martha Stewart's macaron filling recipe for the chocolate ganache.

Chocolate Ganache:
1/2 C heavy cream
3.5 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, softened

-Bring cream to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat.  Pour cream over chocolate in a heatproof bowl.  Let stand for 2 minutes.  Add butter, then whisk mixture until smooth.  Let cool, stirring often.  Use immediately. 

Here is the macaron recipe I used.

French Macaron Recipe Ingredients
4 large egg whites (or 5 small – 140g (4.94 ounces))
1/3 cup caster sugar (70g (2.47 ounces))
1 1/2 cups icing sugar (230g (8.11 ounces))
1 cup almond meal (120g (4.23 ounces))
2g (0.07 ounces) salt (tiny pinch)
India tree food coloring or homemade food coloring (optional)
(note cup measurements are metric cups where 1 cup=250ml in the USA some cups use customary units and 1 cup = 236ml if that is the case use scales to measure the weight).

Try using this unrefined, homemade powdered sugar in place of the icing sugar and sucanut in place of the caster sugar.

Macaron Recipe Directions
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C

Place egg whites and caster sugar in a bowl and mix with electric mixer for 8-10 minutes (yes really), add gel food colouring and continue to mix for a further 30 seconds. The mixture should look stiff and dry.51423

Sift the almond meal and icing sugar and salt twice, discarding any almond lumps that are too big to pass through the seive. Fold into the egg white mixture. It should take roughly 50 folds until the mixture is smooth and a very viscous liquid, not runny. Over-mix and your macarons will be flat and have no foot, under mix and they will not be smooth on top – see the video for examples (troubleshooting is at the end of video).
Pipe onto trays lined with baking paper, rap trays on the bench firmly (this prevents cracking) and then bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Check if one comes off the tray cleanly, if not bake for longer – if they are looking done on top move to the bottom shelf of the oven for the remaining time to help bake the base.

For anyone who wants to try to make them, I recommend following the recipe above (from Ann at and tutorial here.  I cannot even pretend that I could do it without Ann's help!  She has videos that will really help along the way.  
Icing Sugar=Powdered Sugar
Caster Sugar=White Sugar

Using a postal scale (we found one at walmart) makes this much easier!  I weighed everything in grams. 

 This is how the macaron mix looked after I mixed the sugar and egg whites.

after adding the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients

 Ready to bake!

I think that I should have used a different icing tip and rapped the cookie sheets a little more to prevent the peaks in the middle.

 They tasted good just like this with no filling.

 ...but even better with the filling.

 I had planned to put glitter hearts on each macaron, but the glitter didn't want to stay, so I only did one.

Do you have a favorite macaron flavor?  Have you been successful/unsuccessful at making them?  I'd love to hear stories! 

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