Sunday, January 01, 2012
Macarons with My Daughter
One of the joys of having my daughter here is it gives us a chance to do things together. This year she wanted to try making macarons together, plus the revival of Hot Buttered Rum was inspired by a conversation with her.
It's been two years since I made macarons. I re-read the posts where I had made them successfully and we followed the instructions pretty closely, but these cookies were less successful. I think that my oven, which has been temperamental lately about keeping to the set temperature, is in need of being replaces. Unfortunately macarons seem to need the temperature to stay even and so they were not as great as 2 years ago, although still delicious.
We made two kinds, raspberry, using powdered dried raspberries, and spice where we added some cinnamon and nutmeg to the batter. If I do this again I'll put the raspberry powder through a tea strainer to remove the seeds and any large bits. I think that will help the top be smoother. Just purchased almond flour would be better, too. The flour we used had been in the fridge at least 6 months.
I do want to make macarons again when I have a new stove & fresh almond meal because they are fun to make, although time consuming.
K has great skills in using a pastry bag for piping.
We did enjoy sandwiching the cookies with raspberry jam for the raspberry flavored cookies and pear butter for the spice flavored one. Yummy!
In case you want to try them yourselves, here is the recipe:
Preparation time: Not taking into account the amount of time it takes for you to bring your egg whites to room temperature, the whole baking process, including making the batter, piping and baking will probably take you about an hour to an hour and a half. How long it takes to make your filling is dependent on what you choose to make. This makes 2-3 dozen sandwiched cookies.
Actual baking time: 12 minutes total, plus a few minutes to get your oven from 200°F to 375°F.
(Elle's Note - I baked one sheet at a time, so the baking time was extended to allow for the oven to heat up and cool off for each sheet.)
• Electric mixer, preferably a stand mixer with a whisk attachment
• Rubber spatula
• Baking sheets
• Parchment paper or nonstick liners
• Pastry bag (can be disposable)
• Plain half-inch pastry bag tip
• Sifter or sieve
• If you don’t have a pastry bag and/or tips, you can use a Ziploc bag with the corner snipped off
• Cooling rack
• Thin-bladed spatula for removing the macaroons from the baking sheets
• Food processor or nut grinder, if grinding your own nuts (ouch!)
Confectioners’ (Icing) sugar: 2 ¼ cups (225 g, 8 oz.)
Almond flour: 2 cups (190 g, 6.7 oz.)
Granulated sugar: 2 tablespoons (25 g , .88 oz.)
Egg whites: 5 (Have at room temperature)
1. Preheat the oven to 200°F (93°C). Combine the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour in a medium bowl. If grinding your own nuts, combine nuts and a cup of confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a food processor and grind until nuts are very fine and powdery. Use freshly purchased almond flour if going that route.
2. Beat the egg whites in the clean dry bowl of a stand mixer until they hold soft peaks. Slowly add the granulated sugar and beat until the mixture holds stiff peaks.
3. Sift a third of the almond flour mixture into the meringue and fold gently to combine. If you are planning on adding zest or other flavorings to the batter, now is the time. Sift in the remaining almond flour in two batches. Be gentle! Don’t overfold, but fully incorporate your ingredients. (Note: if doing two flavors, sift in all but about 1/2 cup of the mixture, divide the batter into two bowls, then add flavorings and rest of mixture (1/2 in each bowl), and fold in until combined.)
4. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain half-inch tip (Ateco #806). You can also use a Ziploc bag with a corner cut off. It’s easiest to fill your bag if you stand it up in a tall glass and fold the top down before spooning in the batter.
5. Pipe one-inch-sized (2.5 cm) mounds of batter onto baking sheets lined with nonstick liners (or parchment paper). (Note: I recommend the parchment paper. You can always dampen the back of the paper if a cookie sticks...that didn't work when the cookies stuck to the silpat mats.)
6. Bake the macaroon for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and raise the temperature to 375°F (190°C). Once the oven is up to temperature, put the pans back in the oven and bake for an additional 7 to 8 minutes, or lightly colored. If baking more than one sheet, turn sheets back to front and switch racks at about 4 minutes for even baking.
7. Cool on a rack before filling.
So there you have it. It may take a few trys to get the cute 'feet' and rounded top, but it's worth it because you can make your own flavor combinations and will save money over purchased macarons (if you can even purchase them).
One last look at our Christmas tree and then a wish from me to you for a Happy New Year!