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Sunday, May 16, 2010


My 1st Macarons!

A macaron is a confectionery whose name is derived from an Italian word “maccarone” or "maccherone". This word is itself derived from ammaccare, meaning crush or beat, used here in reference to the almond paste which is the principal ingredient.. It is meringue-based: made from a mixture of egg whites, almond flour, and both granulated and confectionery sugar.
Not to be confused with Macron or Macaroon.
 After reading an article about macarons in the cakecentral.com magazine, I just had to know what all the hub-bub was about.  There was a beautiful, and I mean beautiful post with a recipe and instructions on http://www.baking911.com.  There was also an ultra cute post for making macarons that looked like cheeseburgers.  Here's how my first batch went.

I didn't bother looking for "almond flour".  Many people on the net claimed that it was hard to come by and even if you found it, it wouldn't be very fresh.  baking911.com included instructions on how to make your own.  A couple weeks ago, I stripped my almonds and froze them until today.

I blanched a bag of plain almonds so the skins could loosen up and pull away.

It didn't take long for me to figure out that peeling off the skins sucked.  I've been working a lot of overtime and the last thing I needed was to be hunched over the kitchen table fumbling around with little slippery almonds.

After what seemed like eternity, I got a groove going.  Hold the almond between your thumb and index and middle fingers.  Make a snapping motion. 

With your thumb going one way and your fingers going the other, it's enough to split the skin open.  The pressure between your fingers and the almond is enough to eject the nut out of the split skin.  Have your free hand cupped over your snapping hand.  It will catch any pop-fly almonds and is in a good position to take the naked nut and put it somewhere to dry.

I'm not sure how fine I needed to grind it, but I think I reached as fine as my mini food processor could get it.  This is my ground almonds with powdered sugar.

I followed the instructions for leaving the egg whites out and warming them etc., etc. ... I'm not sure if it really helped.  I may have over-whipped them.  They weren't supposed to reach stiff peak stage, but I think it got out of hand.

The final mixture should have resembled runny cake batter ... sure.  I guess this is it.

Trying to draw circles on to the parchment paper with a compass proved to be impossible.  The needle wouldn't stay in one place.  After a couple tries, I said screw it and just eye-balled some 1 1/2" - 2" circles.

I let the batter sit and tapped it every once in a while to release the bubbles ... did it help? 

I must have done something right.  They looked pretty good for my first try.  I even got some feet!

In case you're wondering, the "foot" of the macaron is the small height you get on the cookie nearest the sheet.  This is apparently hard to achieve for beginners. 

I did have a few flops.  One sheet had too little batter for each cookie.  They burned a little on the bottom and weren't as doughy on the inside.  They were foot-less as well.

Weeks ago, while I was toiling away peeling a mountain of almonds, I thought to myself, "These better be the best freaggin cookies I've ever eaten!"  And you know what?  They were pretty freaggin good.

I put dark chocolate ganache in between two cookies and handed it my husband.  He didn't have a plate, so he just stuck the entire thing in his mouth.  He told me they were like mini smores.  He loved how they were chewy on the inside.  I love it too.  We'll polish off my first batch of macarons very soon!

  • I think I over-whipped the egg whites.
  • I couldn't get the almonds well-ground in my dinky food processor.
  • Cookies could have been piped larger.
  • Not sure why the pros' macarons have such smooth tops ... could be because the almonds were so finely ground and the batter could be runnier.
  • Little feet!
  • Tasted great!
UPDATE (05/19/10)
I read another site about making these little darlings and it said:
  • for the foaming egg white stage, think bubble bath
  • for the whipped egg whites, think shaving cream

    1 comment:

    1. I get my almond flour at auiswiss.com, but I commend you on making your own. They also have great prices on chocolate too. I loved looking through your cakes, you do great work!



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