Thursday, May 6, 2010

My obsession with French Macarons.....

Ms. Humble's Scatter Plot Macarons
yields 50 (100 shells) macarons (feel free to divide it for fewer cookies)
120g almond meal
200g powdered sugar
100g egg whites
30-35g granulated sugar
food coloring gel

Line 2-3 heavy gauge aluminum baking sheets with parchment or silicone liners. Prep a piping bag with a round tip (I use a Ateco #11 for most of my macs, though I'll occasionally use a #804 for larger macarons). I place the bag into a tall drinking glass (or stout glass) and cuff the bag's opening over the top, this makes the bag easy to fill hands-free.

I just use a ziplock bag and cut off the tip.

Weigh out almond meal and powdered sugar and sift together to remove any clumps. (If you own a food processor, I highly recommend blending the ingredients and then sifting.)

Weigh out the egg whites into a large mixing bowl (stainless steel or copper), if you're using stainless feel free to add a pinch of salt, 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar or couple drops of lemon juice to help strengthen the whites ( I used 1tsp of Meringe powder).

Weigh out the granulated sugar.

Begin beating the eggs on low speed. What you're doing here is unraveling the egg white's proteins (these are what will capture the air bubbles you whisk in), they're bundled up and you need to gently unwind them. A light touch does this far better than scrambling them on high speed. Once the egg whites are very foamy, begin sprinkling in the sugar as you beat. Increase the speed to medium, if necessary, and beat the meringue to stiff glossy peaks. (If they start looking grainy, clumpy or dry... uh... you've gone too far.)

Add the food coloring (for the full recipe it usually takes 2-4 drops of gel, for a half batch 1-2 drops does the trick) and mix.

Add about 1/4 of the almond/sugar mixture and fold in until no streaks remain. Continue to add the almond mixture in quarters, folding until you reach the proper batter. (More on this below)

Pour the batter into your prepared piping bag and pipe rows of batter (dollops a little bigger than a quarter) onto the baking sheets, giving them space to spread.

Tap the pan on the counter to bring up any air bubbles and quickly pop them with a toothpick.
Allow the cookies to rest on a level surface for 30-60 minutes. Until they are no longer tacky to a light touch. If you have problems with burst shells, you may need to allow them to rest longer or double stack your baking sheets to provided better insulation from the bottom.

While they rest, place an oven rack in the lower 3rd of your oven and preheat to 275-310°F (I've had the most success with about 285-290°F). I do not use fan-forced (convection) heat. If your oven tends to brown the cookies, consider placing a rack in the top of the oven with a baking sheet on it to shield the cookies. Occasionally my top element in my spastic electric oven turns on and browns my cookies, upsetting me greatly.

Bake the cookies for 16-20 minutes.

Remove the cookies from the sheet soon after removing from the oven. If they're very sticky you may need to allow them to cool a little but ideally they'll have good bottoms and you can lift them right off the paper immediately. Place them upside down on a surface to cool (I find allowing them to cool upside down prevents the cookie's interiors from settling during cooling and creating hollows).

Once cool they're ready to fill.

Ok so that is the recipe and here are my notes:

So it took me five tries to get this right. I believe that the issue I was having is perfecting the baking temperature. The 1st 2 times I under baked them the 3rd  time I over baked them. The 4th time well those were the closest thing to the French Macaron but still not right and well the last time it was pure joy :) I was determined to get these right. I had the most success when baking them for 12-15 min ar 325 degrees. Yes these babies are very fussy :)
 One failed attempt:)
Another failed attempt....I was a bit frustrated by now :)
And then it just!!!
yum....they were alll gone by the end of the day!!!!
so pretty!!!
I could just keep taking pictures.
ohhhhhh boy I wish I had another one .....

Lime white chocolate buttercream

  • 150g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 75g icing sugar
  • 40g white chocolate
  • the juice and zest of one lime
Cream the butter and icing sugar till pale in colour and fluffy add the lime juice and mix till combined.
Melt the white chocolate, cool and gently fold the cooled  chocolate and lime zest into the butter cream.
Transfer the butter cream to a piping bag and if its too soft , refrigerate to become firmer, about 30 minutes.Alternatively if it's the right spreadable consistency leave at room temperature until needed.
Makes approximately 60 finished macarons

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