Macarons of Love
I’m not Valentine's day biggest fan, but if I have an excuse to bake, I’m gonna do it! I think that macarons are the new chocolates for valentines day. So give that special someone a box of these, or give it to yourself, or your mom, whatever you wanna do because you know what? This day isn’t a couples day it is a day about love, and that includes loving yourself for who you are and where you are at.
If you haven’t read my last post about macarons you can do so here. But in case you missed it here is a recap. The first time I had macarons was when I was visiting Paris, France. Wild, right? I didn’t even know how good I had it, honestly. When I tried making my own macarons to recapture my travels and recreate the beautiful experience, I flopped. Big time, they weren't good. But then I found a recipe that I use for all my macrons now and it really works.
Macarons are notoriously tricky. They are temperamental little buggers, but if you have been following the blog along, you will have seen macarons here before. Here are some of my tips:
The first part to get right is to sift the dry ingredients, almond powder, powdered sugar, and any spices, TWICE. Yes, two times in a row to ensure that there are no lumps of powder and that it is super fine. Powdered sugar specifically has a tendency to clump, so sifting these will reduce the number of clumps in the dry mixture.
The next step in the process is making the meringue. Meringue is just whipped up egg whites and sugar, and there are various methods of making it. I used a french meringue method for these macarons because I find it the most simple and direct way. Some people like using the Italian method which involves heating the sugar and adding the liquid into the egg whites. I found this method to add an extra step into the process and found that I was happy with the results of the french meringue. Whichever you choose, make sure that your egg whites are whipped to stiff, glossy peaks.
The next part is mixing the batter. There are two parts of this mixing process, the first is folding the dry ingredients into the meringue. After working so hard to put as much air in the meringue as possible it is important to not mix in dry ingredients and knock all the air out of it. Instead, it is important to fold the dry ingredients by starting from the bottom and cutting down the middle, until all the dry is incorporated. Using a spatula is the best tool for this job, as well as the second part of mixing, which is to get the luster on the macarons. Flattening the batter against the bowl and then, by going from the bottom, flipping it onto itself will create a nice shine on your macarons. It is important here to count the number of times that you flip the batter. 15 times is the appropriate amount. Too much or too little time and the finished product will lackluster.
Other steps that are important to not forget is to rap the batter once it is put in circles on a baking sheet, this will create feet on a macaron, which can be found on the edge. Letting them dry for an appropriate time before going into the oven, and flipping the tray halfway through the macarons are baking. The only thing left to do, after the macarons have cooled, is to sandwich the shells with a tasty filling. Viola! You have the perfect macarons.
Don’t be intimidated to make macarons. There are a lot of steps to follow but they aren’t too hard to do. Just taking it one step at a time is the way to go and once done assembling them is easy, it is my favorite part. This recipe has two fillings of sorts as there is a jam to go along with the buttercream filling. I think that the raspberry jam is a good tart complementary flavor to the buttercream, which is super sweet. If you are short on time you can always buy your own raspberry jam instead of making it from scratch. Then there is the rose flavor. A little unique but has a stunning flavor in my opinion.
Macarons have always been the pretty dessert, the ones that are little but impressive and pack a big punch. Macrons may not be as fancy or grand as a cake but I think that when they are presented in a pretty way they can really make a big impact. They are made to be colorful, shiny, and taste delicious. What better dessert to enjoy with someone you love? Keep baking, bakers. Keep Baking.
Ingredients for Macaron Shells
⅔ cup ground almonds
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon rose water extract
3 large egg whites, room temperature
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
Cut a sheet of parchment paper to fit your baking sheet. Draw 1-inch circles on the paper, spacing them at least ½ inch apart.
If you have almond flour then skip this step. In a food processor, grind almonds and powdered sugar together to a fine powder.
Sift almond flour and powdered sugar mixture through a medium-mesh sieve twice. Set aside.
In a stainless-steel mixing bowl, beat egg whites on high speed until they are foamy. Gradually add granulated sugar to the egg whites. Beat egg whites at high speed until they reach stiff, glossy peaks, about one minute. You can use a hand mixer or a stand mixer.
Add rose water and stir lightly. When the meringue is stiff, firm, and has a glossy texture it is done.
Add half of the sifted flour mixture from step 2. Stir it with a spatula while scooping it up from the bottom of the bowl, folding the flour mixture into the meringue to not knock any air out of it.
Add the rest of the flour and mix it lightly in a circular motion.
When you run out of flour, press and spread out the batter against the bowl’s sides. Scoop the batter from the bottom and turn it upside down. Repeat this process about 15 times. (Tip: If the macaronage step is repeated less than 10 times the baked macarons will be lackluster. However when it is repeated more than 20 times oil stains may remain on the pastry's surface when the macarons are baked.)
When the batter becomes nicely firm and drips slowly as you scoop it with a spatula the mixture is done.
Put batter into a piping bag with 0.4-inch tip (Tip: Twist bag to hold the tip tightly, this prevents the batter from leaking out. After the batter is in clip end of the bag) and squeeze out batter onto the center of circle templates. (batter will spread)
Rap the baking sheet firmly against the counter.
Dry the batter at room temp, uncovered, for 15-30 minutes. A slight crust should form on top of them. If batter circles do not stick to your finger the drying process is complete. (Tip: The batter is settled when no tips can be seen in the circles.)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Bake Macarons for 10-15 minutes, flipping tray around halfway through the bake that they bake evenly.
Once out of the oven, allow macarons to cool before filling and sandwiching.
Ingredients for Raspberry Jam
1 pound raspberries
½ cup of sugar
½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Toss raspberries and sugar in a large heavy pot. Let sit until raspberries start to release their juices, 20–30 minutes.
Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally at first and then more often as mixture thickens (as sugars concentrate, the jam will be more likely to scorch) until most of the liquid evaporates and mixture is thickened, 30–40 minutes.
To test for thickness, place a small dollop of jam on a chilled plate and chill for 2 minutes. Drag your finger through: It should leave a clear path that doesn’t fill in.
Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice
Ingredients for Cream Filling
1 cup (2 sticks) of butter
3 cups of powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons of milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon of lemon juice
Beat butter in a mixer until creamy.
Add powdered sugar a cup at a time, alternating between milk
Add vanilla and lemon juice. Beat until smooth.
Once macaron shells have fully cooled put frosting in a piping bag with a star tip on one side of the macaron, and put another on top.