5.03.2010

ladurée can go suck it because i'm making my own macaroons.

coconut with lemon buttercream filling


never really got around to going to ladurée when i was in paris for the first time last october... never eaten a macaroon until last wednesday.  they're pretty good!  it's like a sugar and fat sandwich.  ok.  they're literally fat and sugar.  and extremely labor intensive... probably why they're pretty pricey, and they come in really tiny boxes. my first batch ended up in the garbage, i used real raspberries to flavour them, and they ended up too runny, the second batch was matcha green tea, those turned out ok, with a nice foot!!!  i was so proud... the third batch was mocha (a mix of cocao and coffee) and the final batch will be coconut...  (they're standing right now before they get baked)... not sure what kind of filling i'll be using, but i'm sure it'll involve lots of butter and heavy cream.  

i did a lot of research before embarking on this macaroon adventure.  here's  the recipe i used... which is a mash up of three different recipes... thank you martha stewart and epicurious and some other random websites that i don't remember.  a good macaroon has a the round smooth shell on top, and then the perfect chewy little bubbly "foot" that grips onto your fatty filling.  

fresh out of  the oven look at that "foot"!

these are not to be mistaken with those ugly lumps of coconut drenched in chocolate.  these are those pretty pastel french macaroons.  that taste as good as they look... unless you're making them yourself.  here we go!  this recipe makes around 30 macaroons.  

macaroon batter ingredients:
1 cup      confectioners or icing sugar
3/4 cup   almond flour (or finely ground blanched almonds if you can't find almond flour)
1/4 cup   egg whites room temperature (i used the ones in the carton because i didn't want to waste the yolks, and i had no plans on making any custard.)  age them to thicken them, leave out overnight, or microwave for about 15 seconds.  
1 pinch   cream of tartar or salt (this helps the egg whites get foamy)
1/4 cup   fine sugar (i used organic cane sugar, no problems)

1.  combine confectioners sugar and almond flour in a food processor, until combined.  sift mixture, to get rid of any chunks and clumps.  (martha suggests doing it twice, but eff that.  i did it once, and it worked out) 

here's where you can make the different flavours:
chocolate: substitute 3 tablespoons of almond flour for cocoa (i added a bit of instant coffee too!) 
coconut: substitute 2 tablespoons of almond flour for shredded coconut (i added a few drops of red food colouring to these, i hate food colouring but pastel pink macaroons are just so so pretty)
match green tea: substitute 2 tablespoons of almond flour for match green tea powder 
vanilla bean: add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean
anyway, you get the point, the possibilities are endless!!!


2.  preheat oven to 350F degrees.   

3.  whip egg whites on medium speed until foamy, add pinch of cream of tartar or salt, and then whip at high speed until they form soft peaks.  this may sound kind of weird, but don't do this if there's going to be a storm.  your eggs won't get stiff and your macaroons won't work.  for real.  

4.  reduce speed to low, and add 1/4 cup fine sugar and whip at high speed until you get stiff peaks.  this takes about 8 minutes.  

5.  sift flour mixture over the egg whites, and fold mixture until it's smooth and shiny.  the batter should be pretty thick and sticky.  

6.  transfer batter to a pastry bag, with a round tip, or use a spoon and make little 3/4" circles about 1" apart on parchment lined baking sheets.  don't use wax paper like i did the first round, those fu*kers really stick.  parchment paper works like a dream.  when you're piping the batter, start from one outside edge of the circle to the opposite side.  don't start at the middle and make a peak.  you want them to be as smooth and seamless as possible.  (for one batch i just spooned the batter, it worked out ok, and by ok, i mean ALL different sizes.)

7.  martha likes to tap the cookie sheets on the counter to release the air bubbles from the macaroons, but i prefer slamming the sheets onto a wooden table.  very important step.  you don't want big air bubbles.  

8.  top them with coconut or other powdery things.  or leave them alone.  they're still pretty sans garnish.  let the macaroons sit at room temperature until a smooth "skin" or light crust forms.  about 20-30 minutes.  one of the recipes suggest 1-2 hours.  wtf, do i just sit around all day?  anyway use your judgement.

9.  lower the oven temperature to 325F degrees, put the baking sheets in the oven, one baking sheet at a time.   make sure to check them in a few minutes, and rotate the baking sheet halfway through for even baking.  bake for about 10 minutes.  or take them when they're crisp and firm on top.  reheat the oven to 350 between batches for 5 minutes and then reduce back to 325.  it's really fun to watch them rise and get that perfect little bubbly "foot"... these are super easy to burn, so keep a close eye on them.  

10.  let macaroons cool on sheet for a few minutes, and then transfer them to a cooling rack.  here's a hot tip from martha.  if they stick, spay the warm baking sheet with some water, then the macaroons will lift right off.  

11.  pair your macaroons off with their identical mate, and smash about 1/2 teaspoon of filling (see recipes below) between them.  you're all done!  ok let's never do that again.  

these are mocha with chocolate buttercream filling they turned out really chunky, i think it's because i didn't let the batter sit for long enough after piping them.  


filling recipes:

chocolate ganache:
3oz oz         bittersweet chocolate finely chopped
1/3 cup        heavy cream/whipping cream 35% fat and up
1 tbsp          softened unsalted butter
1/16 tsp       vanilla extract (the real stuff of course!)

1.  melt chocolate with cream in double boiler (i usually just do it in a pot at a super low temperature, i can't be bothered with the double boiling)
2.  stir until smooth.  
3.  remove from heat, add butter and vanilla extract.  
4.  let stand at room temperature until cooled and slightly thickened.  


italian buttercream:
2            egg whites (60ml)
1/3 cup  granulated sugar
1/2 cup  unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into thin slices

1.  whisk egg whites and sugar together, then transfer to super low heat, and then continue whisking for 3-5 minutes until the sugar has dissolved.  (once again, a double boiler was suggested, but why make extra work & dishes for yourself sheesh.)  you're not cooking the egg, just melting the sugar.    

2.  remove from heat, and using an electric mixer, ship warm egg mixture on high speed until stiff and shiny. (3-5 minutes) this took me twice as long, because there was a rainstorm.  

3.  add butter, one slice at a time, continue to mix until butter is thoroughly incorporated.  make sure not overwhip, otherwise the mixture will curdle and separate.  

4.  add flavouring.  (lemon zest, cocoa, coffee, matcha, vanilla bean seeds, bacon bits,  etc... ) 

5.  refrigerate for about an hour or until it's firm.  


raspberry jam:  
the easiest filling.  
open jar.  
but eat these macaroons right right quick, otherwise they'll get soggy.  


last tip.  let the macaroons sit with the filling for a few hours or overnight before serving (aka eating them all by yourself) it lets the flavours settle... oh and don't make 100 of them on your first try like i did.  you'll end up hating them.  

matcha with vanilla bean buttercream 


1. i'd like to thank my friend alexander, he hooked me up with huge batch fresh vanilla beans...yay! internet beans! and the internet for telling me how to use them.  

2. additional thanks go to my $80 vintage oven, my right arm, as well as my $10 electric mixer for not crapping out on me.

3.  if i have to smell another egg white, i'm going to throw up.  and thank you to all the broken macaroons for the diabetes.



2 comments:

  1. i woke up at 4am thinking about your macaroons.

    ReplyDelete
  2. uh ohhhh... i think that might be because the matcha macaroons and mocha macaroons were full of caffeine. heh heh...

    ReplyDelete