18
Mar
09

First attempts at macarons!

Well it’s been a long time coming, but finally… after lots and lots of prodding from my good friends… I’ve attempted the lovely macaron 🙂  No, these aren’t those strange lumps of coconut “cookies” (I’m not a fan of those anyway).  Macarons are some of the loveliest French creations ever made, as made popular by Laduree and Pierre Herme.  These pastries are egg shell thin and crispy on the outside, yet chewy and substantial in the middle, with little “feet” at the bottom of each cookie.  The filling can vary from buttercreams, swiss meringue, ganache, even fruit curds.  Macarons are known for their versatility, and places like Laduree churn out new flavors every month!

Raspberry white chocolate macaron

Raspberry white chocolate macaron, and I am very tired

Macarons are also notoriously difficult to get right.   You have to be exact in both ingredients and technique, and even then sometimes you are at the mercy of things out of your control (like humidity).  I scoured the net for tips and piping techniques before I started on this journey with the help of my friend Sandra.

For my first attempt, I decided to make simple basic macarons with a raspberry white chocolate ganache, courtesy of kricketcakes.  I bought almond meal flour from Whole Foods instead of grinding my own nuts, just to be safe (though next time I might just grind them from scratch).  I also carefully measured all the ingredients by weight.  I wasn’t able to sift the dry ingredients well because the almond meal didn’t fit through my sieve, but I think giving the dry stuff a few whirls in my food processor did the trick nicely.

Making the meringue wasn’t difficult or noteworthy.  However, I’m still unsure how exactly to fold the dry ingredients into the meringue… websites like Tartelette advise you to fold until you obtain a magma consistency… what the heck does magma flow like?  Oh well, nothing a bit of experimenting won’t help.  Another thing, all blogs and websites advise you to age the egg whites at least a day or two; even the professionals do this.  I set aside 2 batches of egg whites ( 3 egg whites in airtight bowl) on the counter for about 30 hours in preparation for this.

The next problem… how to pipe?  I’ve seen and read many different piping suggestions for macarons.  Some people suggest piping in concentric circle motions (this is how I pipe my pate choux for cream puffs), and some suggested piping at an angle directly onto the silpat or parchment paper.  I found that the latter technique gave me better results overall.

My first batch actually turned out much better than I expected.  They all grew “feet” and puffed out decently, though I noticed that some where too big/too flat to really be called a macaron.  However, the main problem was that we couldn’t remove them from the silpat properly!  I probably let them rest on the cooling rack for too long (should have waited only 5 minutes), so they set and stuck to the silpat instead.  I tried spraying the silpat with nonstick spray another time, and that didn’t work at all :p

However, the texture and taste for those that did rise was surprisingly good!  The outside was thin and crisp like an egg shell, and the inside was chewy yet not too sticky. The white chocolate raspberry ganache was easy to make, though I’d probably opt for a swiss meringue buttercream next time.

I also made another batch the next day using ground pistachios and mixing those in with my batter.  However, I made the mistake of folding the meringue into the dry (instead of vice versa), and the batter was much too flat.  The macarons didn’t even grow feet 😦  At least they tasted good….

Anyway, I think this was a pretty nice first experiment for macarons.  No wonder these little things are so expensive; they’re difficult to make and mass produce!  However, it was fun and I’m sure I’ll get my revenge some day.  Once I improve my technique, I can start experimenting with different flavor combinations 🙂  Pierre Herme’s caramel fleur de sel macaron makes me drool, and gives me a use for that fleur de sel I bought last month.

Basic Macarons with Raspberry White Chocolate Ganache filling

adapted from kricketcakes

Ingredients

For the macarons:

  • 3 egg whites (about 100-110 grams, aged at room temperature for 24-48 hours)
  • 50 grams granulated sugar (for the meringue)
  • 200 grams powdered sugar
  • 110 grams almonds (or almond meal flour)

For the ganache filling

  • 1 1/2 cup white chocolate
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup raspberry jam (seedless)

Directions

1.  Beat the egg whites in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer until foamy.  Gradually add the granulated sugar and beat until it is glossy and medium-stiff peaks form.

beat the meringue

beat the meringue

2. Toss the almond meal flour and powdered sugar into a food processor and pulse a few times to sift and incorporate.

dry ingredients

dry ingredients

3.  Fold the dry ingredients into the meringue until you get a “magma-like texture”.  Basically, when you form a peak with the batter, it should slowly drop down until the peak disappears.

flow like magma?

flow like magma?

4.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat.

5.  Fill a pastry bag with 1 1/2 inch tip with the batter and pipe small rounds of batter onto the cookie sheets.  Let the macarons sit for an hour to dry.

fill the pastry bag

fill the pastry bag

pipe onto silpat

pipe onto silpat

6.  Preheat the oven to 300 deg F.

7.  Bake the macarons for 10-12 minutes.

a bit flat, but they grew feet!

a bit flat, but they grew feet!

8.  Cool for 5 minutes then carefully peel off and allow to cool on racks while you prepare the ganache.

9.  Heat the heavy cream in a medium pot on the stove until boiling.

10.  Stir the white chocolate and jam in the pot until well combined.

stir the ganache

stir the ganache

11.  Optional: add some red food coloring to give it a nice shine 🙂

food coloring

food coloring

12.  Chill in the fridge until cool enough to spread onto the cookies.

13.  Pipe or spread filling onto the flat side of each macaron and top with another macaron.

macaron!

macaron!

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10 Responses to “First attempts at macarons!”


  1. 1 Patrick
    March 18, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    fascinating, good sir. time to visit paris and see how pierre makes them

  2. March 23, 2009 at 7:54 am

    I can’t wait for round two. 🙂

  3. 3 Sherwin
    April 1, 2009 at 8:28 am

    CUT YOUR HAIR!!!

  4. 4 Judy
    April 4, 2009 at 1:01 am

    GOD. i am so jealous of you sir. i have EPICK failed. four times. so sad. sigh
    depressed really. ill try ur way.

    you are your mocking me smile… -_- ill get u. ill show u i can make macarons.

    but ur gifted =] wow first try huh. =]

    im not pysko.
    im just 17.
    =o and high off of eating too many failed macarons

  5. 5 HSUmaker
    April 6, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    mmmmm… for some reason, that last macaron picture is making me crave a McBiscuit breakfast sandwich at McDonalds.

  6. 6 doraemonxo
    May 10, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    you look baked!

  7. 7 Lilibeth
    May 18, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    After failing in my first attempt at macarons (no feet, cracked top, and flat), I google searched for another recipe and found yours and it worked! My macarons had wonderful glorious feet, nicely puffed and smooth shell on top. It had a wonderful thin crust and soft and delicate inside. I used rose flavored italian meringue buttercream though for the filling which is actually left-over from my first failed attempt. Your recipe is perfect! Will try your raspberry filling next time. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  8. 8 evan
    September 6, 2009 at 4:35 am

    how many macarons can u make with this amount of ingredients?

  9. October 19, 2009 at 6:30 am

    Oh that’s not too bad for a first batch, my first batch was horrible but now im pretty ok with baking them. Try the italian method sometime, with cooked sugar to make italian meringue, yes it is more processes but u get harder shells. Love the raspberry white choc flavour. Good luck on ur macaron endevours!


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