Macarons are something I've been wanting to try for over a year but was too afraid to attempt making them knowing how finicky they can be. I've probably read more articles on making macarons than I care to admit! I gathered every tip I could and dove in like a reckless American not really expecting much.
When my first batch came out with the trademark 'feet', I was ecstatic! I know they are not perfect. They should be slightly puffier and my piping skills aren't the greatest so the sizes weren't uniform. Nevertheless, for a first attempt, I was pleased.
One thing that I found invaluable in making macarons was a digital scale since most recipes are metric. I purchased mine at the closest BBBY store with a coupon and got it for a slightly over $20. I won't tell you how antiquated my old kitchen scale was!
I tinted the macarons green for St. Patricks' Day and for the filling, made a chocolate ganache flavored with Bailey's Irish Cream liqueur for an added Irish touch.
The meringue cookies themselves are quite fragile...as I found out after sticking my finger through several while pressing the top cookie down on the ganache filling!
The 'light as air' cookie and the rich, Bailey's-flavored ganache are a very tasty duet. I was as proud as a new mother even though my babies weren't perfect ;)
"As you slide down the banister of life, may the splinters never point in the wrong direction!" (An Irish quote.)
Macaron Recipe Adapted from Cannelle and Vanille
225 grams powdered sugar (Confectioner’s Sugar)
125 grams almond flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal but you can also grind your own from blanched almonds)
110 grams egg whites (left in a jar at room temperature for 1 to 2 days before using)
30 grams granulated sugar (I used super fine baker’s sugar)
A pinch of salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 300˚F.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or use a silicone baking mat. You may need a third sheet.
Using a digital scale, measure the powdered sugar and almond meal and put into a bowl. Sift the powdered sugar and almond meal with a sieve to remove any large or coarse bits and return to the bowl.
Measure the egg whites with the digital scale and place in the bowl of an electric mixer with the whip attachment. Beat the egg whites and a pinch of salt on medium high speed until they form soft peaks. Gradually, in small additions, add the granulated sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. This process will take about 5 minutes.
When the egg whites are glossy, add food color, if desired, until combined.
Add about one-third the almond/powdered sugar mixture to the egg whites and fold in. Add another third and fold and finally the last third. Keep folding until the mixture falls in a slow ribbon from the spatula.
Using a pastry bag with a large round tip, pipe the mixture onto a lined cookie sheet into approximately 1 1/2-inch discs. If you are bad at piping as I am, you can draw the circles on the other side of the parchment as a guide.
After piping, tap the baking sheet on the counter to release any air bubbles then allow the macarons to set at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours before baking. You should be able to touch the top and not have it stick to your finger.
Bake for 12 minutes at 300˚F, turn off the oven, and open the oven door. Leave the meringues inside the cooling oven for 2 hours. Note - I baked each sheet pan one-at-a-time and then after the last pan was finished, I put them all in the turned-off oven with the door half open.
Chocolate Ganache Filling
Ganache Recipe Adapted from Joy of Baking
4 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons liqueur or brandy (I used Bailey’s Irish Cream)
Place the chopped chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl. Heat the cream and butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil. Immediately pour the hot cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir with a whisk until smooth. Add the liqueur, if desired
I'm sharing my French-Irish Macarons for Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum. Thank you again for hosting, Michael! Be sure to visit Designs by Gollum to see what everyone has cooked up for Foodie Friday.
Don't forget the St. Patrick's Day party at Cuisine Kathleen! Anything goes! Well, almost anything ;)