July 21, 2012

A friend of ours was commenting on the exorbitant price of a single French Macaron at a local bakeshop. So, the kids and I decided to surprise her with a sampling of homemade Macarons at a fraction of the cost. When we read that French Macarons are “notoriously hard to make” and fiddly, and temperamental, the kids raised their hands, yawlped, “Whatever !” and got to work!   The treats we came up with weren’t as dainty or as polished as the posh-boutique variety (everything we made came out bigger and bolder), but they certainly tasted lovely! And the kids really enjoyed making them, especially the “scientific” egg-whipping stage and the “last spoonful of filling is mine” sandwiching stage. For a basic, chef-tested shell recipe, we leaned heavily on David Lebowitz’s The Sweet Life in Paris. And for icings or fillings, we decided to use pre-made delicacies. For our hot pink macarons, we used the Low-Sugar Lime-berry Limerick Jam that we made over our action -packed MARCH breAK! For our purple macarons, we used our favourite no-sugar-added St. Dalfour Wild Bluberry spread. And for our chocolate macarons, only Nutella would do.

Macaron! Ingredients

Bold, Bright Jam-Filled Macarons!

makes 22-24 shells, or 11-12 filled cookies
.75 cup almond flour (ground almonds)
1 cup icing sugar
.25-.5 tsp gel icing (we used bright pink and violet)
2 egg whites brought to room temperature
6 tbs superfine granulated sugar
~.5 cup jam (we used Low-Sugar Lime-berry Limerick Jam and St. Dalfour Wild Blueberry spread)


Nutella-Filled Chocolate Macarons!

makes 22-24 shells, or 11-12 filled cookies
.5 cup almond flour
1 cup icing sugar
3 tbs dutch process cocoa powder
2 eggs whites at room temperature
6 tbs superfine granulated sugar
~.5 small jar Nutella


20120721-095947.jpgAdditional Needs
parchment paper
small jam lid or other circular guide for tracing
large Ziploc-style bag and scissors or pastry bag fitted with .5 in plain tip


Macaron! Method

Heat oven to 325.
On the backside of each of two pieces parchment paper, use a pen or pencil to trace 16 nicely-spaced circles to use as guides for shaping the macaroon shells. (We used the lid of our St. Dalfour berry spread as a guide. It was a bit large.)

Place parchment paper inked/penciled side down onto baking sheets.
Pulse Almond Flour, Icing Sugar, and, for Chocolate Macarons, the Cocoa Powder in a food processor for at least 2 minutes.
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In a clean mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat Egg Whites, and for Bold, Bright Macarons, Gel Icing Colour, at full speed until the bubbling subsides and they begin to shape up.
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Keep beating the Egg Whites and add Sugar by the tablespoonful until Egg Whites are stiff. (If you turn off the mixer, the whites will likely want to ball up inside of the wire whisk.)
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With a spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture in two batches until just blended, about 10-15 strokes per batch.
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Fill ziploc bag with the mixture and cut off one of the corners about .25 inch, or fill pastry bag with half of the mixture.
Pipe shell batter in coils onto the parchment paper, following the circles you traced as guides.
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If so desired, use a spoon, butterknife, or icing spatula to smooth tops of piped circles as you go.
Lift pan of shells slightly off of the counter or table and drop to the counter or table to allow air to escape.
Let shells sit on the counter for 15-20 minutes before baking.
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Bake at 325 for 12-16 minutes. (We went ahead and baked the two pans in the oven at the same time.)
Let shells cool completely on pans.
Sandwich shells with a few teaspoons of jam or nutella.

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If you can wait for the flavours to meld, let the macarons stand for a 6-48 hours before consuming.
(We made the mistake of storing our hot pink cookies in an airtight container too soon after baking, and they become a bit moist, so do feel free to leave the cookies “out” for those first few hours.)

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Bon Appetit!

Here’s a printable pdf of our recipe in 4×6 notcard form: Summer of Funner Macarons

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