Thursday, March 11, 2010

French Macarons with an Irish Twist

What do you get when you cross French Macarons with Bailey's Irish Cream and chocolate filling? Macarons Irlandais...or French Macarons with an Irish Twist.

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.)

French Macarons
Printable Recipe
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 ;)

44 comments:

  1. Those look so good! My daughter would love those!!

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  2. I have always wanted to make these, but like you have felt intimidated by them! I might just have to give these a try after seeing yours...thanks for the confidence booster!!

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  3. You SHOULD be proud- they're gorgeous! And I'm betting they taste as good as they look!
    xoxo Pattie

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  4. A dear friend has recently opened an online bakery selling these very macarons! And quite price, I might add! I cannot wait to try these for myself. I also have looked at numerous recipes on the net but have been too intimidated. You make it look almost easy!

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  5. Wow, I am impressed! Your macarons are beautiful. I've tried twice with disappointing results. I bought a scale and will try your recipe. I'm determined.

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  6. I see feet:) How cute are they? I made them once.. I had green too come to think of it..But I needed every trick in the camera to make mine presentable.
    Yours are charismatic from the get go..Love the nest♥
    I am so proud of you:)

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  7. Oh they are beautiful..and what a perfect combo for St. Pat's. Love the cup full and the nest..so pretty! The pics are just wonderful!
    I bought a digi scale at WSonoma. Terraillon . Didn't work right. Returned it. Got another..worse..called the co. to see if they knew what the message was it was sending me..They didn't..sent me a new one, and still...I am glad I kept my oldie but goodie for big things..this one is too petite..and it was 40 dollars!
    Thumbs down!

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  8. What a fantastic job you did! They look perfect to me...I remember when Suzy did hers, some definite talent!!

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  9. Macaroons are something that STILL scare me. And probably will. For a long time.

    I love the Bailey's infusion in these! Fantastic idea. Definitely gives them that little special something. They are seriously gorgeous.

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  10. These are beautiful!! Macaroons are on My Top 50 recipes. Things I have never made before but want to. If mine turn out half as beautiful as yours, I will be proud.

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  11. Good grief! Wished I had a few right now. As far as he Irish Quote - Ouch!!:-)

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  12. Susan, you really made little works of art with these! The filling sounds like it would be so good too - I really love the nest shot :)

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  13. Bravo! This is a successful accomplishment of macarons! And a great treat for St. Patrick's Day!

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  14. I love macarons but have never made them. These look lovely. I may have to remedy that!

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  15. These look beautiful, and tasty too! Your photography is splendid - so very, very pretty! Love the macaroons in the teacup! Great post!

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  16. These cookies are BEAUTIFUL and so beautifully presented!
    What is better than chocolate ganache? Chocolate ganache with Bailey's! Yummy!
    Yvonne

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  17. They are beautiful, Susan. The filling sounds delicious, chocolate and Bailey's, YUM!

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  18. one of my favorite things you have ever posted....they look so good....

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  19. They look amazing.... :-)

    Thanks for sharing.

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  20. Not only do the macaroons look divine, your presentation is so beautiful. I look forward to your photos every week. But I am SKEERED to make those macaroons. I just about ruined the FF cupcakes, and now I'm faced with icing a cake. It's a wee bit stuck in the pan. I will Dr. Frankenstein it, of course. LOL
    XX00

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  21. Absolutely beautiful - both the cookies themselves and the photos! I love the idea of using Bailey's and the green color :-)

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  22. I am joining the fray! Planning my macaron flavours this weekend. Yours are amazing! Well done.

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  23. ciao!!! le foto sono meravigliose..e la ricetta è super!!! bravissima come sempre!! ciao!!

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  24. Susan, you should be as proud as a new mother and all our babies are perfect works of art :-) The filling sounds wonderful.

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  25. BRAVO for you, for even attempting such a labor intensive cookie! I'm in awe of both the food & the photos.
    The ones in the teacup & the nest are just precious beyond belief.

    I wonder why the egg whites have to sit outside of refrigeration so long? Hmmm, will have to investigate that further.

    Beautiful & challenging post, Susan. You had me at the mention of "Baileys" :D

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  26. I love the macaroons in the bird's nest...just looks like a gift of spring. I have a few nests... the most precious being the one a bird made from my dog's hair (which a friend told me to put on the lawn in the spring for the birds to use). It is tiny twigs and soft as could be. You made me smile with the memory when I saw yours... thanks!

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  27. Susan, you're amazing. I have never heard of anyone who got feet their first time! BRAVA! These look wonderful.

    Heh. Irish Macarons. Whod'a thunk?

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  28. Gorgeous!

    Love the Macs in the nest...so cute and great photo too!

    I was so surprised when my first Macs turned out with their little "feet". I heard all the horror stories about humidity but my first attempt was a warm, summer day and I had no problem!

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  29. Very Nice and love the photos too! I think they look absolutely perfect. I may have to give that recipe a try, I've never made them.

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  30. You did it!!! Well done, now I have no more excuses!!!! To me, they look perfect!!!

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  31. Beautiful macarons!!!!!! So envious of anybody who can do them!

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  32. Thank you all for your comments! If any of you do try this recipe, please let me know how yours turned out.

    Kathleen, the scale I bought was a Salter brand and it worked great right out of the box and not expensive at all.

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  33. I had been thinking of making Dulce de Leche Macaroons (not macarons), until I saw these. Adios Macaroons.

    Susan, all of your pictures are wonderful, but the last one...well, I'm smitten!


    Have a great weekend dear, creative one!

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  34. These macarons look delicious! Beautiful presentation.

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  35. Susan, I'm so impressed with your adventurous cooking and baking skills. I love macarons and seeing a display of them in all their beautiful colors. BUT, yours are as pretty and I'm sure, as tasty as any I've ever seen. They look beautiful, and your plating and displaying them is like art. Gorgeous post!

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  36. Brilliant, Susan! You are giving me the courage to try! Everything I hear about them scares the daylights out of me. I guess I'd need a new scale too...
    And I love that you added an Irish twist! And all this on the first attempt. I am impressed! And still wary about trying!)

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  37. Yours macarons are beautiful!! Chocolate and bailey's.... miam miam!!!

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  38. I love your St. Patrick's Day macarons! Your feet look perfect- the flavor must have been wonderful.

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  39. These Macarons look perfect to me! Pretty color and I imagine delicious with the Bailey's Irish Cream!

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  40. I have no idea how I missed this except that I have been horrible at keeping up with blogs lately. I love them!!! Bravo! You did so good. I think buying the almond flour is the key. Its very hard to get grind them yourself and get them fine enough.

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  41. Very beautiful....drooling! Wish I can have some now! I love that you used Baileys :D

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  42. Just an article by Mouth from South at Blogher.
    This recipe was mentioned. Have you seen it?

    http://www.blogher.com/completely-inauthentic-and-delicious-foods-st-patricks-day?page=0,0

    This Macarons look perfectly delicious!!!

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    1. I was contacted by the person who wrote the article who asked for permission to use it but I hadn't seen it yet. Thanks for letting me know!

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