New Oven, New Recipe!
For two years I've been limping along with an old, half broken double-stack oven. A month ago my landlord finally relented and installed a brand new one! Lucky me! Or as he said, happier than a pig in shit. Not pretty, but accurate.
Macarons are currently on trend, the new cupcake some say and I've slowly grown to love them. Like most things I realized that all are not created equal, I wanted to try making them myself. They're intimidating though! Other bloggers have been pretty upfront that they rate high on the difficulty level so I knew to not even try until I had a properly working oven. Egg whites are a tricky thing and an unstable over would have never worked.
Before I started I did some research, tried to get a feel for what has worked for those before me and what needed to be done differently. One tip that I think definitely benefited me was after piping out my cookies I let them sit for 20 minutes before they went into the oven. After that you can touch the tops lightly and they've slightly dried. I'm told that's what creates the smooth top and the crinkled footing of the cookie. This blogger had a lot of helpful tips that I followed. Check her out!
I think besides being just slightly overcooked my first attempt was rather successful! Texture was a little off, but the flavor was on point. Most recipes I browsed suggested 15-18 minutes in the oven so I started on the lower end, but I probably could have pulled them out around the 13/14 minute mark. If anyone has pointers I would LOVE to hear them!
- 85 grams almond flour or finely ground almonds
- 150 grams powdered sugar
- 90 grams egg whites (from about 3 large eggs), room temperature
- 55 grams superfine or granulated sugar
For Cookie Dough Filling:
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 3/8 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 to 2 tablespoon heavy cream (or as needed)
- 1.5 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely grated using a vegetable peeler (about 1/4 cup grated)
- In a food processor, combine almond flour and powdered sugar; pulse for 20 to 30 seconds until evenly distributed. Sift at least once through a fine mesh sieve, discarding any larger particles.
- Place egg whites in a clean metal mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on medium speed until frothy, then slowly add superfine sugar, a little bit at a time with the mixer on medium speed, scraping down the side of the bowl periodically. When all the sugar has been added, increase speed to medium high and whip until meringue is firm and glossy and forms medium-stiff peaks.
- Pour half of the almond flour mixture into the meringue and stir, folding and scraping a few times until no dry flour remains. Add the remaining flour and mix, folding and spreading the batter against the sides of the bowl about 15 to 20 times or just until the meringue and flour are incorporated and the batter falls off the spatula in thick ribbons. Do not overmix.
- Transfer the batter to a large piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip, twisting the end of the bag to prevent the batter from leaking. Pipe small circles onto a parchment or silicone-mat-lined baking sheet, leaving about 1-inch of space between them.
- Rap the baking sheet firmly on the counter, then smack the bottom of the baking sheet multiple times with your hand to remove any remaining air bubbles. If any pointy 'tips' still remain, you can gently press them down with a lightly moistened fingertip. Sprinkle with cocoa nibs (if using), and set aside to dry.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. When macarons are dry (you should be able to just barely touch the surface of the cookies with a dry finger without them sticking), stack the baking sheet on top of another empty baking sheet (this will help them bake more evenly). Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, keeping an eye on them to make sure they do not brown. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack, then gently remove from baking sheets.
- To prepare filling, beat butter, sugar, and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Mix in flour, salt, vanilla, and almond extract on low speed until incorporated. Add cream and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes, adding more cream if necessary to acheive desired consistency. Stir in grated chocolate. Transfer mixture to a piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip. Gently pipe about a teaspoon of filling onto underside of half of the cooled cookies, then top with remaining cookies.
This adventure in baking has given me a HUGE appreciation for those who bake and sell these daily. It was a sh*t ton of work! My entire sink was full and don't even get me STARTED about the almond flour! They're definitely work $2 a piece for the labor alone, but totally WORTH it. :)
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