Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Macarons

A few months ago I decided to try my hand at French macarons.  I used a recipe from Martha Stewart and made chocolate mint macarons and chocolate hazelnut macarons.  It was pretty dark in my kitchen the night I made them, so sorry for the poor quality photos!

These were a lot of work, especially with grinding my own almond flour, and soaking/peeling filberts.  Why are hazelnuts (aka filberts) so flipping hard to work with!  Luckily, I used a simple technique I learned thanks to the internets and blanched the 1 c. filberts in 1 c. water and 1 tbs baking soda.  The skins came off much easier.

These macarons would have totally been worth the usual $3 price. Even at the best Austin macaron store, Cinnamons Bakery.  We miss you Cinnamons Bakery! Oh Chef Loic from Cinnamons Bakery, why did you have to have a heart attack and die?!   He was our favorite Texas transplant from France.

Now I have to spend 8 hrs of my own day trying to whip some up...

Basic Recipe for French Macarons
Ingredients
  • 3/4 c. almond flour
  • 1 c. confectioners sugar
  • 2 egg whites, room temp
  • pinch cream of tartar
  • 1/4 c. fine sugar*
  • filling (jams, butter cream, chocolate ganache, etc) chocolate ganache recipe below
Directions

  1. Combine almond flour and confectioners sugar in food processor and pulse until smooth.  Sift twice.
  2. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar with hand mixer on medium until soft peaks form.  Add fine sugar and beat on low.  Then beat on high until stiff peaks form, about 8 minutes.
  3. Fold in flour/sugar mixture into egg whites and load into pastry bag/ziploc bag.
  4. Preheat oven to 375F
  5. Using pastry bag (or ziploc bag with tip cut off) and round tip, pipe mixture into 3/4 inch rounds, about 1" apart onto Silpat or parchment lined baking sheets.  Tap the edges of baking sheet to help release air bubbles
  6. Reduce oven temp and bake at 325F for about 10 minutes or until firm and crisp, rotating pan halfway through.
  7. Cool 2-3 minutes before transfering to wire cooling rack
  8. When completely cooled, add filling and make little macaron sandwiches.
  9. Serve immediately.  Or wrap in plastic and freeze for up to 3 months

Variations:
Hazlenut-Chocolate: Use ground hazelnuts instead of almond flour and 1 tbs. cocoa powder
Mint-Chocolate: Add 1/4 tsp peppermint extract and 3 drops green food color, grate bittersweet chocolate over before baking

*I used my BlendTec to grind some regular sugar for a few seconds

Chocolate Ganache
Ingredients

  • 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
  • 3 1/2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 tbs unsalted butter, melted
Directions

  1. Bring cream to medium boil.
  2. Pour over chocolate in heat-proof bowl
  3. Mix in butter.  Use immediately





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