M for Macarons | How to make French Macarons – Day 13


The first time I made Macarons almost eight years ago they were a complete disaster. I threw out two batches of batter because they were runny and wouldn’t hold shape, and there were no ‘feet’ on my macs! It was part of a Daring Bakers Challenge and I wasn’t going to give up! After some invaluable tips and additional instructions from a fellow baker, I was able to get some decent looking Macarons. The frustration kind of turned me off from ever making them again, though I was always amazed at the gorgeous and stunning Macs when the world was fast catching onto the “Mac” trend.

Fast forward to today and I couldn’t think of a better bake for the Letter M for the Mega blogging Marathon when I was making my list. This was the right time to conquer the Mac. I made Vanilla and Dark Chocolate Macarons. I kept the flavors simple and spruced them up a notch by hand painting them. After all the jitters if my macs were going to have their signature‘feet’, the painting proved to be very therapeutic and calming :) 

M for MACARONS – FRANCE







History:

The Macaron cookie was born in Italy, introduced by the chef of Catherine de Medicis in 1533 at the time of her marriage to the Duc d'Orleans who became king of France in 1547 as Henry II. The term "macaron" has the same origin as that the word "macaroni" -- both mean "fine dough".

The first Macarons were simple cookies, made of almond powder, sugar and egg whites. Many towns throughout France have their own prized tale surrounding this delicacy. In Nancy, the granddaughter of Catherine de Medici was supposedly saved from starvation by eating Macarons. In Saint-Jean-de-Luz, the macaron of Chef Adam regaled Louis XIV and Marie-Therese at their wedding celebration in 1660.

Only at the beginning of the 20th century did the Macaron become a "double-decker" affair. Pierre Desfontaines, the grandson of Louis Ernest Laduree (Laduree pastry and salon de the, rue Royale in Paris) had the idea to fill them with a "chocolate panache" and to stick them together.

Since then, French Macaron cookies have been nationally acclaimed in France and remain the best-selling cookie in pastry retail stores.





Some things to note:

-I left the egg whites to age, covered and on my kitchen counter-top for 24 and not in the refrigerator. The choice is yours. Also plan ahead because aged egg whites do whip up much better than ones that haven't been aged. 

-I made my own Almond flour this time using blanched whole almonds. Great instructions to do this are here.

-Icing gel colors were painted on the macaron shells after I assembled them, you could paint them before they are sandwiched.

-I also weighed the almond flour, powdered sugar and superfine sugar on a kitchen scale instead of cup measures.

You will need:

For the Macarons:
Makes: 15 Macarons (30 shells)
Recipe adapted from the book “MACARONS” by Berengere Abraham

2 large eggs
60g ( ½ cup) Ground almonds
110g ( ¾ cup) Powdered sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
1 ½ tbsp Super fine sugar
Few drops of vanilla extract

For the Filling:
Dark Chocolate Ganache:

½ cup Dark chocolate, chopped
½ cup Heavy whipping cream

Make the Macarons:

Separate the egg whites and yolks. Cover the whites and allow to age in the refrigerator for 24 hours, bring to room temperature before using.

Preheat oven to 300F. Finely grind the almonds and powdered sugar in a blender. Sift over a baking sheet and bake for 6 minutes. Remove and cool completely.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Draw circles on the parchment using a round cutter and a pencil. This ensures you get even sized macarons. Set aside.

Pour egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, beat on medium high until it begins to stiffen. Now add the superfine sugar gradually until you have an almost stiff meringue.

Sift the cooled almond mix over the meringue and using a rubber spatula, fold it in about 8-10 folds. You should have a smooth thick batter. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Pipe circles onto the prepared parchment. Set aside for an hour. This is an important step and best not to cut this time.

Preheat oven to 325F. Invert 2 baking sheets, stack them and place in the oven. Place the sheet of Macarons on this and bake for 10-12 minutes. The inverted baking sheets delays the heat and helps the Macs grow feet and they cook slowly from the outside to the inside giving them their signature crunchy exterior and soft interior. This was one of the very helpful tips I learned while doing the Daring Bakers Challenge.

Cool the shells completely before filling.




Make the filling:

Heat the cream on medium heat until hot but not boiling. Add the chopped chocolate and set aside for 30 seconds. Mix gently with a rubber spatula until combined. The ganache will be smooth and shiny. Cool before using.

Assemble the Macarons:

Spread a layer of ganache on the bottom of one macaron shell. Top with another shell. Chill for 30 minutes to an hour before serving.

To Paint the Shells:


I used Wilton icing gel colors and very fine paint brushes absolutely no water. You don’t want the shells to go soft. Use a light hand and paint on the shells. I picked a Spring theme since we are in the season, and I love flowers.



We are exactly half way through the challenge. 13 more bakes to go! 


BAKES FROM AROUND THE WORLD: 



A for ANZAC BISCUITS - AUSTRALIA




6 comments:

  1. Wow ! Beautifully painted macaroons ! They look so pretty and how thoughtful to choose spring theme . Macaroons are very tricky , I have also thrown 2 batches and now KAMLESH nd of given up . Eggless version is more challenging too .

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  2. Wow! Macaroons look awesome. I haven't had the guts to try it yet. Yours look amazing. Will take heart from your experiences and try.

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  3. Hand painted macarons looks absolutely stunning and so pretty, even mine first experience with macarons was a complete disaster, how tricky they are na.

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  4. I always wanted to make them but never tried because of the eggs. Yours looks very beautiful and that hand painting is wonderful.

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  5. Painted macarons? I haven't yet tried my hand with macarons. These look amazing. You have a great talent, for sure!

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  6. Nams, those are some beautifully painted Macarons! I love your craftsmanship and what a beauty they have turned out..So glad you got these right this time. There was a time when just for GK, I read so much about Macarons' feet..though I know I will never get to taste these..great pick for the letter!

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Hi, thanks for stopping by my blog! I appreciate your comments and suggestions.

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