Recipe | Vanilla Ganache French Macaron

Finally, after several attempts documented here, I feel confident to post the  recipe for french macarons from the Annie Rigg recipe book! I made these for the first time in a must-come-out-perfect situation (for my sister-in-law’s bridal shower) and I have to say, I performed better than the Laker’s did in this playoff series (PS I just got husband bonus points for thinking of the Lakers and extra credit for actually mentioning their name in a post)!! 

  Back to the macrons, I had to transport them on a 7 hr drive up north so I decided to make the cookies and ganache on Thursday night and package the cookies and ganache separately which I would then assemble once at my destination. I am not sure how others handle traveling with these pain-in-the butt delicate treats but this worked well for me.

Ingredients
200g confectioners’ sugar
100g ground almond
120-125g egg whites (aged for at least 24 hours)
a pinch of salt
40g super fine sugar
a piping bag, fitted with a 1/2″ nozzle tip
2 baking sheets, lined with non-stick baking parchment
 
Directions
0. Measure all ingredients.
1. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and prepare piping bag with tip (I use Ateco tip #807)
2. Sift confectioners’ sugar and ground almond together into a bowl.
3. Place egg whites into a spotlessly clean and dry mixing bowl. Add the salt and, using an electric handheld whisk, beat until they will hold a stiff peak.
4. Continue to whisk at medium speed while adding the regular sugar a teaspoonful at a time. The mixture should be thick, white glossy (like shaving cream).  You should be able to hold the bowl of whisked egg whites over your head. Do not overbeat your meringue or it will be too dry (Sorry, but no tricks for telling if you overbeat them). 
5. Using a spatula, fold the confectioners sugar and almond flour, into the egg white mixture. Continue folding until egg white mergine, almond flour, and confectioners sugar resemble molten lava (no more than 50 strokes – AND THIS IS IMPORTANT). Over mixing will result in running batter, so stop yourself at 50 strokes!
6. Fill the pastry bag with mixture and pipe evenly sized rounds about 1.5″ onto the prepared baking sheets.
7. Tap the bottom of the baking sheets sharply one, on the work surface to expec any large air bubbles.
8. Leave macarons for at least 40-60 minutes until they have “set” and formed a dry shell. They should not be sticky, tacky, or wet when tested with your fingertip.
9. Pre-heat oven to 325F.
10. Bake the macarons one sheet at a time for 11-12 minutes. Remove from oven and leave to cool on baking sheet.
 
White Chocolate Ganache
150g really good white chocolate, finely chopped
5 tablespoons heavy cream (I prefer this to Whipping Cream; Trader Joes sells regular heavy cream)
1 vanilla bean (seeds)
 
Put the cream and vanilla extract in a small saucepan and head until the cream has come to a boil. Place chopped white chocolate in saucepan along with vanilla bean seeds. Stir until smooth then leave to cool. Cover and refrigerate until thickened (can take up to 24 hours).
 
 
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Recipe | French Macaron | #2

THEY WORKED! RY – RY – I think THEY WORKED!!! That was me about 18 hours ago, when I saw my first batch of macarons sitting in the oven with two minutes remaining on the timer!

I took the lessons learned from my first attempt documented here and started off the process with the proper equipment — a food scale which was so kindly loaned to me and a newly purchased sifter!

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I started by sifting the powered sugar and almond flour twice – Ryan even got in a little of the sifting action! Ryan decided to come photograph a few “action” shots. I really like the one of the left of me in action sifting! As for the picture on the right, my batter was rather runny and when I filled the bag it leaked out the bottom and created……well, you can see….it created quite messy hands! (When I watch Barefoot Contessa use a pastry bag, I marvel at her ability to maintain hands so clean even the Queen would approve!)

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This is me peaking at them through the glass door getting soooo excited because they resemble something like a macaron I would actually buy!!!! This was a far cry from last week’s! It turns out that they may have looked perfect, but those at Ladurée, one of the elite places to purcahse macaron in Paris, would not have been proud! My macarons had a air between the shell and the cookie. I believe this was caused by my poor meringue or over mixing. BUT, I had a cookie that I could fill!!!

Now that I had a cookie I could actually fill, it was off to the store to pick up heavy whipping cream and white chocolate. I attempted three different white chocolate ganache recipes: vanilla, amaretto, and strawberry. After spending $8 for chocolate and heavy cream, I was disappointed when all three turned out way to runny. I guess I didn’t use enough chocolate, so the ganache never truly firmed up.

Feeling disappointed, I tried one more mini ganache recipe this time it called for butter and less heavy cream. Again, thinking the filling was too runny, I let it sit in the pot as I began cleaning up. I decided to fill a few cookies with Nutella that I had on hand. As I was cleaning up, I went to clean the pot thinking the ganache was ruined, but really it had set to a consistency that wouldn’t spill over the sides – it was perfect!!

Finally, the macarons sitting in their new home!!! And the picture on the right is of the too runny vanilla ganache! I am so excited these things turned out (relatively well) and I can’t wait to start experimenting more with colors and flavors!!!!

Recipe | French Macaron | Trial #1

As I mentioned previously, one of my goals this year is to learn how to make a french macaron!!!!  Notice I did not say macaroon, those would be the toasted sugar and coconut mounds – a far cry from the delicate french macaron.

I will start by letting you know that this baking attempt was a total failure, but not to fret, I was not expecting to succeed.  I have read that you often have to make these finicky little devils 4-5 times before you get something resembling a macaron, so I had to go forth with my first attempt!

I used the recipe from the macaron tutorial found on  Tartlette’s blog, which appeared to be a pretty standard macaron recipe consisting of aged egg whites, sugar, powdered sugar, and almond flour.

I should have known this was going to be a failure when this happened on Step 1:

Shan: Hey Ry, can you please open this vanilla bean?
Ryan: What? Open this? Yeah.
5 seconds later – vanilla bean container shattered in Ryan’s hand (I promise he can break just about anything – thanks though honey)

Thankfully, the glass did not cut Ry, so after I cleaned up the glass and removed the vanilla bean, I laid out my ingredients.

I was too worried during the mixing processes to take any pictures, so here is one of the cookies right before they went into the oven – yes, I can still use a little work on piping the batter onto the sheet in a more precise manner. You can see I tried making a few pink, thinking it would bump up their appeal in the beauty category – but I think it just made it worse!

I put them in the oven at 280 degrees and watched them through the oven door.  20 minutes later, I see this:

Hmmmmmm……this looks NOTHING like the perfectly shaped cookie I eat at Bottega Louie.  So what happened???

Problem: Macaron mixture was too dry which may have caused the extreme puffyness and sliding effect. The recipe called for 100 grams (or 3) aged egg whites. I set my three egg whites out, but during the aging process I believe too much evaporated and left me with less than 100 grams.
Solution: I plan to buy a food scale so I can accurately measure the proper amounts before making.
SPACE
Problem: Lumps in the top shell of the cookie. This was caused because I did not sift my dry ingredients (almond flour and sugar).
Solution: I will buy a sifter before I make these again.

Once I buy the new kitchen tools, scale and sifter, I will attempt to make these again! The next time I try making I am not counting on them being perfect, I am just hoping for something that looks a little bit more like a cookie so I can attempt to layer them with a buttercream or ganache filling!  Until then, I will be relying on Bottega Louie!

macaron smiles.

Yesterday, my entire day was filled with french macaron chatter. My mom and I ooh and ahh’d  over the Ladurée Sucré cookbook and how we must have a french themed bridal shower for one of my sisters so that we can decorate with macarons. Then we couldn’t figure out why we didn’t see Ladurée when we were in Milan years ago.  I told her I bought almond flour over the weekend in hopes of attempting these difficult little cookies. I promise, every 15 minutes discussion about those delectable little treats would surface.

All of that talk  left me craving for french macarons, so much I was almost out of the office and on my way to Bottega Louie to pick some up. I chatted Ryan, as I often do, to let him know I was heading out early. He asked if I wanted to meet for a “treat” which I assumed was a kiss and maybe a piece of a homemade, brownie that he swiped from the office kitchen.

I met him on the corner in between our buildings and I got my kiss, but no treat. Hmmmm.

I asked, “No treat?”

He said, “Yeah, the kiss.”

Ok, I thought, well that was pretty good, but I know he must have a treat somewhere. So, I reached around his back pocket and found it!!!!  I found a  purple Bottega Louie box filled with four yummy french macarons!!!!! How did he know that my Mom and I had been talking about these all day and I was dying for a little bite of one?? Seriously, nuts – but happiness at last!

I am always so shocked how fabulously happy a little treat can make me, and a kiss too! Thanks Ry for both of my treats!!!

UPDATE: Yes, I actually spelled something right and it is macaron with 1 “o” not two. According to Wikipedia (totally authoritative), “Since the English word macaroon can also refer to the Coconut macaroon, many have adopted the French spelling of macaron to distinguish the two items in the English language. However, this has caused confusion over the correct spelling of the cookie. Some recipes exclude the use of macaroon to refer to this French confection while others think that they are synonyms.”