Nov 19, 2011

French Macarons w/ Dulce de Leche Filling

Macarons, the little devils that gives me stress. I've tried making them many times, and this is the closest I can get.Many people around me LOVE macarons. I didn’t know about them until one day my sister told me how much she loves macarons; I then decided to make them.

I made macaron before I even tasted one; it was about a year ago when I went back to Taiwan for winter break. Whenever I go back home, all I do is bake because there’re many kids with sweet tooth in our neighborhood. One morning I got up, brushed my teeth, and decided to bake, except I didn’t know what to make and needed inspiration, so I went to my sister. “Ooooo, make macarons!” Macarons? Never heard of it.
After hours of recipe searching, we went out shopping for the ingredients. Getting almond flour, or ground almond, was a pain in the butt; it took us forever to find it. We went to several different places and finally got all the ingredients for chocolate macarons. I was excited to make them because they seem to be known as the fancy pantsy dessert that’s extremely difficult to make. To be honest, I thought I could get it right the first time. Wrong. I made two batches, burned the first batch; and the second batch didn’t look anything like the ones I saw in the pictures in other people’s blogs. Both batches of my macarons spread out and were super flat and crispy. I didn’t give up and tried again the next day, and failed again. After that I never thought about making macarons again until this year.
When I was searching for the macaron recipe. I looked at some websites that David Lebovitz (by the way I LOVE reading his blog) suggested; there are some great tips. I finally decided to use this recipe; and I used dulce de leche as the filling. It is one of the most delicious and easiest thing to make.
French Macarons
4 oz ground almond, almond flour, or almond meal (they're the same thing)
8 oz confectioner's sugar or powdered sugar
5 oz egg whites (I used about egg whites of 5 eggs)
2.5 oz granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1. Preheat oven to 300 degree Fahrenheit
2. Sift together ground almond and powdered sugar and set aside.
3. In a bowl, combine egg whites, granulated sugar, and salt; whip at medium speed for about 3 minutes (I used a hand mixer.) Increase the speed to medium-high and whip for another 3 minutes. Then Increase the speed to high for another 3 minutes.
4. Add in the vanilla extract and whip on the highest speed for one minute. At this point, the mixture should reach the stiff peak form. One way to test it is holding the bowl over your head and if the mixture doesn't fall on your head you know you're done. (I personally never tried this though, at least I never held it over MY head...)
5. Dump the dry ingredients into the egg whit mixture and fold to incorporate them with a rubber spatula. After about 4o folds you should be good. You don't want to under or over mix the batter. One way to test it is to take a spoonful of it and drop it onto a plate, if it holds its shape and doesn't spread out at all, you're not done; give it another few folds. On the other hand, if the consistency is runny like the pancake batter, you're over mixing it.
6. Pipe the batter on the baking sheet; each cookie should be 1 inch apart.
7. Bake for about 18 minutes, or until you can peel the parchment paper away from a macaron. When they're done baking, let cool completely on the pan before removing them from the parchment paper.
8. Pipe the filling onto the shell and sandwich them together!

Dulce de leche
1 can sweetened condensed milk is all you need
Remove the lable from the can of the condensed milk and place the can in a pot, at this point you don't need to open the can. Fill just enough water to cover the entire can; cook it over medium heat. When the water started to boil turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for 3-4 hours. I cooked mine for 3 hours and it was perfect for spreading. If you want yours to be thicker cook it for another hour. When the time's up, let the milk cool until the can is cool enough to touch, NOW you can open the can, dig in, and eat it with a spoon! I mean.. spread some on your macarons and share them with your friends.

The taste of my macarons was right, and the texture seems pretty close. however, the bottom cracked and didn't have the feet, or pied. According to crispywaffle, "Without the pied, you couldn't really call it a macaron." So I guess I made some sandwich cookies that tasted like macarons. oh well, I'll give it a try sometime in the future, one day I'll get it right, one day.

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