Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Great Macaron Experiment


Making macarons was on Michelle's summer bucket list, and since it had been on my list of new things to do for even longer (since Brad announced he'd be living in France), we made it happen. I don't know that we'd consider our attempt super successful, but we did learn quite a bit and the end results for the most part were quite delicious. 


These recipes came from my friend, Nancy. We liked both of them as far as the cookie part went. I liked the fillings separately, but we couldn't quite get the combinations right. The lemon curd was too tart and overpowering. The buttercream was way too sweet. I guess that means we'll just need to experiment more in the future!

Plain Macarons

7/8 cup powdered sugar
4/5 cup almond flour
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar

Sift the powdered sugar and almond flour into a large bowl. You don't want any lumps at all.

Beat the egg whites until they hold their shape, then beat in the sugar until very stiff and firm, about two minutes.

Fold the dry ingredients, in two batches, into the egg whites with a rubber spatula, just until smooth. Don't overmix!

Scrape the batter into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2" plain tip. Pipe 1-1/4" rounds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bang on counter to create the "foot" of the macaron and let dry for 30 minutes to set the top.

Bake in the center of an oven preheated to 300 degrees for 11-12 minutes. Cool completely before filling with Lemon Curd, buttercream, or chocolate ganache.

Lemon Curd

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1-1/2 tablespoons butter
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
dash salt
dash vanilla

Heat lemon juice and butter to just under a boil. In a heatproof bowl, which egg yolks then stir in sugar until combined. Gradually which the hot lemon juice mixture into the eggs. Cook, stirring constantly, until the curd thickens. Strain it through a sieve into a bowl. Stir in the salt and vanilla. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing into surface, and chill 1-2 hours before using.

Buttercream Filling

1/2 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon strawberry puree
1-2 tablespoons cream

Cream butter and sugar together. Stir in remaining ingredients until desired consistency.

Note: We couldn't taste the strawberry flavor with the puree, so tried adding jam. That made it way too sweet. I need to look into flavored extracts.



Chocolate Macarons with Chocolate Filling

1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup powdered almonds
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
pinch of salt
5 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tablespoon butter

Using a food processor, grind the powdered sugar, almonds and cocoa powder together. Sift the mixture into a large bowl. You don't want any lumps at all.

Beat the egg whites until they hold their shape, then beat in the sugar until very stiff and firm, about two minutes.

Fold the dry ingredients, in two batches, into the egg whites with a rubber spatula, just until smooth. Don't overmix!

Scrape the batter into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2" plain tip. Pipe 1-1/4" rounds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, about 25 per sheet. Bang on counter to create the "foot" of the macaron and let dry for 30 minutes to set the top.

Bake one at a time in the center of an oven preheated to 350 degrees for 7 minutes. Rotate and bake 7 more minutes. Cool completely.

Warm the cream in a pan just to boiling, then pour over the chocolate. Stir gently, without creating bubbles, until melted together. Add butter. Chill 30 minutes, until thick but spreadable.

To assemble, place one teaspoon of filling between two macarons and press together gently, but don't let the filling ooze out. Chill, covered, for 24 hours before serving. Makes 25.

The chocolate dough was too stiff and didn't spread properly.
We had better success with our next batch.
Here are a few websites we looked at before attempting to make our own macarons:

Sally's Site       Top Ten Tips         King Arthur Flour

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