May 16, 2012

Lemon Macarons

After taking a week off, I told myself I need to get back on track. I promise myself I’ll baking at least four time a week; one because I just love baking and feeding people so much, two I need to finish using all the ingredients before I leave for home, which means I have to use up all the ingredients in a month!
I’ve got tons of lemons in the bottom of my fridge, and I have so many friends that are crazy about macarons, so I made some macarons with lemon curd and lemon buttercream filling. They were very delicious! 奢侈點心!

Amount for the ingredients wise, this is my favorite macaron recipe so far; and I actually got the book I Love Macarons by Hisako Ogita, and I strongly recommend it! For directions, I’m still going to stick with my own methods; it think it works very well, for me anyway.

Basic Macarons
(Make about 15 macarons)
2/3 C ground almonds
1 ½ C powdered sugar
3 egg whites
(1/8 tsp cream of tartar, optional)
5 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
(I also added some yellow food coloring, it’s optional)
1. Sift together powdered sugar and almond, set aside
2. Beat together egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy
turn the speed to high and gradually add in granulated sugar, one tablespoon at a time, until stiff peak forms and then add in vanilla extract (and food coloring) beat for another 15 seconds.
3. Dump in all the almond mixture and mix with a spatula
You really don’t need to add in almond little by little, trust me, it really doesn’t matter
You don’t need to fold the batter super carefully, but you also don’t want to be too aggressive and definitely don’t want to over-mix it
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 bit, you’re ready to pipe the batter on your pan

5. 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 20 -45minutes; depends on the weather. If your kitchen is humid, they might need longer time to dry. They’re ready to go into the oven when they don’t stick when touching.
7. Preheat your oven to 280F
8. When the surface of macarons are dry enough to touch, bake in the preheated oven for 15-18 minutes, or until macarons are hard enough to touch; they’re not done when it “sinks in.”
Another way of checking the doneness of macaron shells is when you peel one off your baking sheet, it does not fall apart; it should come off easily.

I had six egg yolks left from making macarons, so I made some tangy, yummy lemon curd
Lemon Curd
6 egg yolks
1 C granulated sugar
juice of 3 lemons (I got about ½ cup)
zest from 3 lemons
½ C butter, cold, and cut into cubes
1. In a saucepan, whisk together egg yolks and sugar. Stir in lemon juice and zest; cook over medium heat until it starts to boil, turn the heat down to low. Constantly stirring and cook for 10-15 minutes or until mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon.
Remove from heat
2. Drop in butter, a little pit at a time.
Make sure each cube melts before you add in the next butter cube, otherwise the liquid and oil will start to separate and then there’s really no way to save it. So just try to be patient. If the mixture cools down before you finish adding all the butter, it will be difficult for the butter to melt and blend in the mixture. In that case, you can put the saucepan back on the stove and heat it up over the lowest heat, so low that you can barely see the flame.
3. When all butter is melted and mixture is smooth, transfer it into a bowl or a container, immediately place a plastic wrap over mixture; make sure the plastic is touching the lemon curd. This will prevent a skin from forming.
If not using right away, put into the fridge when the curd has cooled down; store in the fridge for up to a week.
* Everyone loves the lemon curd, I personally find it a little too eggy. Next time I’ll use 3 egg yolks and 1 whole egg

Lemon Buttercream
½ C (1 stick) softened
1 ½ C powdered sugar
pinch of salt
juice of 1 lemon
zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Beat butter until smooth add in salt powdered sugar, ½ C powdered sugar at a time
2. Add in lemon juice, zest, and vanilla and beat until well-blended and smooth
* If buttercream is too soft, chill in the fridge for about 10 minutes

Lemon Macarons:
Basic macaron; yellow food coloring can be added if desired
Lemon curd
Lemon buttercream
Spread some lemon curd on one shell
buttercream on the other
and then sandwhich them together.
They're the perfect gift for friends!

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