Dec 21, 2011

I Now Pronounce You... Macarons!


Over thanksgiving break a dear friend of mine came visit and I baked like a mad person. The night she arrived I made macarons... WITH PIED!
Earlier that week I called her and told her, you can order anything, ANYTHING, and I’ll make it. Then she said she wanted macarons. Barnacles, my greatest fear, the little devils that gives me headaches. But then I thought, what the hell, I still have a bag of almond meal sitting in the freezer, might as well give it a try.
This time I got my recipe from The Traveler's Lunchbox
Basic Macarons
1 ¼ C powdered sugar
4 oz almond meal/almond flour/ground almond
2 egg whites
Pinch of salt
¼ C granulated sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
Directions:
1. Sift together powdered sugar and almond, set aside
2. Beat together egg whites and salt until foamy, and then whip on high speed and gradually add in granulated sugar and vanilla extract until stiff peak forms
3. Fold in half of the almond mixture and mix with a spatula. At this point, there’s no need to fold it carefully, but you don’t want to over-mix it either; mix it until no lumps of almond meal can be seen.
4. Add in the rest of the almond mixture and FOLD until the batter is well blended.
This is how to check if your batter is mixed perfectly. You scoop some batter and drop it on a plate; if it stays its shape, gives it maybe 10 more folds; if it stays its shape for 3 seconds and slowly flatten a but, you’re ready to pipe the batter on your pan
5. A…..nd pipe the batter on the baking pan. They do spread, so make sure you pipe them 1 inch apart from each other.
6. Let the macarons dry in the pan at room temperature for about 30 minutes-1 hour. If the weather or your kitchen is humid, let them dry for an hour, if not, 30 minutes is fine. I let mine sit out for 30 minutes.
7. Preheat your oven to 325F
8. When the surface of macarons are dry enough to touch, put them in the oven and bake for 10-11 minutes (I baked mine for 10 minutes)
When I was ready to put them into the oven, I realized I forgot to preheat the oven, so I waited for another 10 minutes, and this is what happened.
If you’re forgetful like me, this is how your macarons will turn out. If you let your macarons sit out for too long they will crack when they bake. My guess is that when you bake them, the steam inside won’t be able to get out, since the skin is too thick; which eventually causes it to crack. But I don’t know, I ain’t no expert, it’s just a guess. If they don’t stick to your finger when touching, they’re ready to be baked.
Also, use parchment paper instead of a silicon mat when making macarons. I’ve tried using both and the batch baked on the silicon mat has air pocket on the bottom. Almost all of them do. The taste is the same, but the hallow gaps between the shell and the pan cause some batter to remain stuck to the baking mat. Anyways, just try to use parchment paper. Like I said, I’m not an expert or a chemist, but my guess is that air can’t escape from the bottom of a silicon mat; and I guess it can when macarons are baked on a parchment paper. Ok, I didn’t just make this up; the reason I said this is because whenever I use parchment paper to bake cookies, my baking pan will still end up greasy, and if the grease didn’t seep through the parchment paper, I don’t know what happened. But again, I ain’t an expert nor a chemist; it’s just my guess.
Anyways, back to those little pain in my butt. THEY FINALLY TURNED OUT PERFECT!
As crazy as it sounds, I think the reason why I succeeded this time was because I didn’t care and think as much when I was making them. The last time I made them I made sure I followed every single step from the blogs I read, sifted powdered sugar and almond, let my egg white aged in the fridge, I timed myself when I was beating the egg white, did exactly 50 folds, leave the macarons batter out for exactly one hour, etc.
Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that those tips exist for reasons, and I think they make sense. But you shouldn’t be all nervous and stressed like I was, you don’t have to be so specific about every single step.
This time I did NOT sift the flour and the almond. Ok to tell you the truth I was just lazy to get the sifter out from the top shelf of the kitchen cabinet. You should still sift your flours though, seriously, don’t be like me. I used fresh egg white right out of the fridge because I had no time; although I don’t think it affect the result that much, still, don’t be like me. I did NOT time myself when I was beating the egg whites, I just stopped when I thought they were ready. I used the “dropping batter on a plate” method to see if I’d folded them enough. And when the top of the macarons are dry enough to touch you’re ready to bake them; no need to set your timer.
So, next time you want to make macarons, just chillax, and you’ll get perfect macarons. Even if you don’t, who cares, just give it another try if you have almond meal chillin’ in your freezer (oh yeah by the way I keep my almond meal or any kind of nuts in the freezer to keep them fresh)
Oh and I did make some dulce de leche for the filling but I finished eating the macaron shell before the condensed milk was done cooking…
ANYWHO, back to what I was saying baking is a great way to relax, you should have fun and enjoy it. Although I did refer macarons as the “little devils that give me stress, not anymore. I think I’ll make them again sometime soon.
enjoy

1 comment:

  1. I am pretty sure the cracked macarons is not due to the fact that your macarons sit for too long; instead, the mixture seems undermixed, OR you have an oven (like mine) that because you open the door to put your macarons in (therefore causing the temperature to drop slightly), the oven starts to heat up quickly from the bottom. The surge of heat causes your macarons to therefore crack!

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