Monday, October 22, 2012

Finding My Feet

Parisian macarons. Sometimes they work out, and other times you spend hours going over every painstaking detail only to sadly trash them in the end. I've thrown away more Parisian macarons than I can count. Most of the time, it's because the finicky confections don't rise, so I end up with tiny, shiny pink or yellow hockey pucks that won't even lift off the parchment (these ones all came from recipes that required your sugar on the stove top- this method has never worked for me!). No lie, these things even made me cry once. But tonight...they worked. Sweet, delicate, almondy victory. I followed a recipe from Martha Stewart- how could it go wrong!?  Trust me, if I can make these, so can you. This recipe was very simplistic. Life is teaching me, one complicated lesson at a time, that simple is usually best. So here's Martha's recipe (my notes and pics are below):


1 1/4 cups plus 1 teaspoon confectioners sugar

  • 1 cup (4 ounces) finely ground sliced, blanched almonds
  • 6 tablespoons fresh egg whites (from about 3 extra-large eggs)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar


  1. To make the macarons: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together confectioners' sugar and ground almonds. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip egg whites with salt on medium speed until foamy. Increase speed to high and gradually add granulated sugar. Continue to whip until stiff glossy peaks form. With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the confectioners' sugar mixture until completely incorporated.
  2. Line baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Fit a pastry bag with a 3/8-inch #4 round tip, and fill with batter. Pipe 1-inch disks onto prepared baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between cookies. The batter will spread a little. Let stand at room temperature until dry, and a soft skin forms on the tops of the macarons and the shiny surface turns dull, about 15 minutes.
  3. Bake, with the door of the oven slightly ajar, until the surface of the macarons is completely dry, about 15 minutes. Remove baking sheet to a wire rack and let the macarons cool completely on the baking sheet. Gently peel off the parchment. Their tops are easily crushed, so take care when removing the macarons from the parchment. Use immediately or store in an airtight container, refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month.
  4. To fill the macarons: Fill a pastry bag with the filling. Turn macarons so their flat bottoms face up. On half of them, pipe about 1 teaspoon filling. Sandwich these with the remaining macarons, flat-side down, pressing slightly to spread the filling to the edges. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

I followed the recipe to almost every detail.  Here are a few of my tips...

It says to whisk together the confectioners sugar and the almond meal, which I did at first, but then ended up using a pastry cutter because my almond meal was a little lumpy:
When it came time to "froth" the eggs in my mixer, this is when I added my color.  I used yellow, since my macarons were to be lemon.  I then added my granulated sugar until I had peaks.  When it came time to fold in my almond meal/confectioners sugar, there was still a little color to be blended (I recommend gel colors!) but this seemed to work itself out as I folded.  To get the mixture into a pastry bag, try using a tall glass.  A little might come out of the tip while you're filling, but at least it's contained and you can use both hands.  

Next, to make my rounds on the parchment, I held the icing tip less than half an inch from the parchment and squeezed some out without moving the bag.  Then to finish the macaron, I stopped my squeeze and pulled the tip a little to the side and then up.  I had some tiny peaks left, but these melted back into the wafer shorty after.  Practice makes perfect!
The Martha Steward recipe says to let them stand for about 15 minutes. My best batch was the one that sat for a half hour.  They had the best feet and looked the nicest, so I recommend waiting! 
When it came time to put them into the oven, I actually shut the door all the way (as opposed to cracked as the recipe states) for about four minutes.  By then, feet were already forming.  Only after the four minutes did I crack the oven door and stick a wooden spatula handle between the door and the frame to keep it open.  This method brought me the nicest macarons!  (My spatula was teeny, you can only see it a little!)

While they were cooking, I whipped up some buttercream frosting (any recipe would work) and then stirred in some lemon curd when it was finished.  I added just enough to get a nice, lemony, sweet flavor.  

After about fifteen minutes in the oven (including the four minutes with the door closed all the way) the macarons were ready! I let them cool completely, then sandwiched my lemon curd buttercream in between.  Definitely my prettiest macarons yet!  
Feet! Yay!
Some of these were going to a friend at work as a "thank-you" present, so I packaged them up:
I hope they work out for you!

No comments:

Post a Comment