Thursday, September 22, 2011

French Macarons

French Macarons! Sigh. I love these sweets--the look, the taste...they just convey the concept of a little gift of sweetness.  Since they are usually filled with raspberry or buttercream or ganache, they are best enjoyed fresh and aren't available at a lot of places. In terms of making them they can be a bit labor-intensive and tricky.

Ever since I saw a recipe in Martha Stewart Living in 2009, I have been obsessed with making them myself.  Side note: apparently they're called Macaroons in France, but are called Macarons everywhere else to distinguish them from the other cookie largely consisting of shredded coconut, also widely known as the macaroon. Not living near a bakery specializing in European pastries finally pushed me to make them.

One of key ingredients is almond flour and rather than buy it online, I googled how to make it myself and landed at PastryPal.  Not only did she advise making almond flour at home but also had a Macaron primer! So I ended up trying her classic almond macaron with vanilla buttercream.  Though I struggled with the vanilla buttercream, I love how these came out--look at those smooth tops and beautiful "feet"!

Unfortunately, the lesson learned the hard way was to bake one sheet at a time. I put both baking sheets in the oven at once on two different racks and the second tray didn't bake all the way. So then I had a tray of caved-in macaron halves:

For better or worse, they did not go to waste as I ended up eating a bunch of these halves "nacho-style" with leftover vanilla buttercream. Ugh, not a pretty picture.

Then I decided to try the Martha Stewart recipe. Interestingly, still quite labor intensive but I found it focused on whipping the egg whites longer and the oven was at a higher temperature.  Unfortunately they ended up looking like little meringues with semi-risen "feet", instead of smooth macaron halves. Though I discovered I did like raspberry filling:

I'll probably go back to the PastryPal recipe but I look forward to experimenting with different flavors and probably will invest in blanched almonds so my almond flour won't be speckled with the almond skin so I get that perfectly smooth macaron look. Stay tuned...


Michael Kwun said...

Very impressive! I may have give these a try - Anders loves macarons.

Tom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Kwun said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Kwun said...

Here's your next cooking project: vodka pills.

Pound said...

i can't wait to make them!!!! i downloaded her macaron primer.