If you follow me on twitter you have no doubt heard me whining about these dang Parisian macarons refusing to work. I tried two different chocolate macaron recipes; both failed, then a regular recipe that was colored pink; it failed.
I felt like a detective ferreting out the reason behind my failed attempts at macarons. I may or may not have a Law and Order: SVU problem. I may or may not have signed up for Netflix just to be able to watch SVU on instant watch.
Anyway, back to detective work on why it my cookies were failing. A few times I knew I had over beaten the batter based on some pictures I had, but I couldn’t figure out why the innards weren’t cooking all the way through, even though the tops were over cooking.
Then I decided to set my oven. I put an oven thermometer and turned the oven up to 400. And then let the oven hang out there for about 20 minutes. When I checked the thermometer it showed the oven at 365.
365?!?!! I’m lucky anything has turned out from that oven. Yikes.
So I reset the oven, remixed a batch of macarons – being careful to only mix about 30 times. I decided that squeezing the batter out of a bag would continue to mix it so I erred on the side of caution and mixed less than I had been previously.
What did I get out of my trials and tribulations?
The raspberry filling was made by combing white chocolate and raspberry compound. As far as I can tell raspberry compound is condensed raspberries. When berries are in season again, I’m going to try my hand at making some of this raspberry compound instead of paying $6 for 2 oz.
The only thing I didn’t like about the feeling was that I thought it was cloyingly sweet and the intense raspberry flavor that I wanted did come though. So back to the drawing board for a raspberry filling.
Now that I think I have macarons more or less down, I have to practice, practice, practice. I already have plans to make some lemon macarons and I WILL master those extra finicky chocolate shell macarons. Silly creatures
The hardest part (for me) about macarons, is remembering to separate the egg whites a few days before I want to make macarons. I’m very into instant gratification. If I want chocolate chip cookies, I make them then none if this aging the batter in the fridge for 3 days, sorry New York times.
Since I got into researching these cookies, I read somewhere (and I now can’t find the link anymore, sorry!) that you can microwave the egg whites 10 seconds to mimic letting them age over 24 hours. If you want to mimic multiple days, I would do 10 seconds, wait a minute or so then do another 10 seconds.
You also have to remember not to overmix, which is really the most terrifying part. I counted to 30 and then stopped. Just leave it alone. My theory (like I mentioned earlier) is that as you’re filling the bag you’ll mix it some more and as you’re squeezing the bag it’ll continue to mix.
French Meringue Macaron Batter
100g egg whites (aged at least 24 hours)
25 gr. granulated sugar
200 gr. powdered sugar
110 gr. almonds, whole or ground.
Line 2 or 3 baking sheets with parchment paper or silipat.
In a food processor grind the almonds and powdered sugar together until the almonds are finely ground, about 1-2 minutes. Then sift the mixture into a large bowl and regrind any pieces that are left. Sift the reground pieces and then throw away anything that doesn’t make it through.
Using a a stand mixer whip some air into the egg whites. Once the egg whites are frothy, slowly add in the granulated sugar. Once the egg whites have come to a stiff peak remove the whisk.
Using a rubber spatula, mix in the first batch of powdered sugar and almonds with quick strokes. When adding the next batches slow your movements down and fold in the dry ingredients. The whole procedure shouldn’t take more than 50 strokes (I go to 30 strokes).
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch plain tip (Ateco #807). Place piping bag about 1/2 inch above the pan and pipe 1.5 inch cookies on to the parchment. Separate the cookies by about 1 inch.
Let the cookies sit for 30 minutes to an hour. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 280 (up to 300 degrees)F. Bake for 15-18 minutes one pan at a time.
Let cookies cool completely before adding the filling.
Raspberry White Chocolate Ganache
8 oz white chocolate
1/2 cup cream
1 oz raspberry compound
Chop the chocolate into small pieces.
In a small pot, heat the the cream up to just before boiling.
Pour hot cream over the white chocolate and let it sit for 2 minutes. Stir the mixture until it has fully combined.
Add the raspberry compound and stir to combined.
Cool in the fridge for at least 2 hours.