Sunday, November 29, 2015

ABC - Double Chocolate French Macarons

This month's ABC recipe was a really good challenge: French Macarons! I had only recently eaten my first French Macaron, from Trader Joe's. It's in their frozen food section. I believe it's imported from Europe. The taste was OK. I can't really say that I understand the big hype around it. Making these yourself seems to be one of the biggest challenges that mankind has ever faced (according to the internet anyway). I did some "online research". Given the many tricks one has to employ to create one of these treats, I was ready for the challenge (and I hope all the ABC bakers are as well).

Double Chocolate *Mocha* French Macarons with almond chocolate spread filling


If you'd like to join the ABC bakers in their monthly baking adventures, please go to the ABC blog for more information.

Christina has a very nice tutorial on her blog. I still went ahead and looked up some more macaron recipes and also watched some YouTube videos.

Here's what I took away from all that:

  • Weigh all your ingredients. Don't use volume measurements.
  • Used "aged" egg whites. This means, separate your egg whites from the yolks. Store the egg whites in a glass container, loosely covered, in the fridge for at least 8 hours (up to 2-3 days). I ended up having to let mine "age" for a day and a half.
  • Sift the almond meal and powdered sugar mixture to remove any clumps. Discard (or nibble on) the small pieces of almonds in your sieve.
  • Let the egg whites come to room temperature.
  • Beat the egg whites to very stiff peaks.
  • Add the dry almond mixture to the beaten egg whites in 2-3 steps.
  • In the end, the batter should be viscose. That means not too runny and not too thick and lumpy.
  • Pipe 1 inch rounds of batter onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. The batter will spread to about 1.5" to 2".
  • Rap the baking sheet onto the kitchen counter to remove air bubbles.
  • Let the batter sit for 30-60 minutes, until it's no longer sticks to your finger when you touch it. When you test it, don't make the mistake I made which is to touch the outer sides only. Touch it in the middle and see.
    • I later learned that if the batter isn't completely dry before baking, it can cause cracking on top. That's what happened to some of mine.
  • I didn't find any consistency in the oven temperatures. It ranged from 300 to 350 F. I ended using 335 F.
Some step-by-step pictures:


Stiff peaks

Sift the dry ingredients

The batter falls onto itself in ribbons

Ready to dry out before baking

After 14 min in a 335 F oven. Most of them cracked slightly :(

Yay. Some didn't crack :)

The infamous "feet" of a French Macaron

Yes I'm cheating by using an Almond Chocolate Spread for the filling. By this time it was late and I wanted to be done with this :)

Ready to be sandwiched!
Bon Appetit!
These macarons are not supposed to be eaten right away. I've packed them in a single layer in 3 separate airtight containers and refrigerated them. They're supposed to stay there for at least 4 hours, up to 5 days. I will let you know tomorrow how they taste :o)


Final thoughts/tips:

  • As of this blog posting, I haven't tasted these macarons yet. I will add an update once I do.
  • My initial impression is that they are a lot of work. I only got 21 macarons out of this batch but I have to say that mine are bigger than the ones from Trader Joe's. Mine are about 2" across. Maybe that's too big, I don't know.
  • I've added 3/8 tsp espresso powder to the egg whites. I figured that since these cookies are typically very sweet, a little bitterness from the espresso would be a nice contrast.
  • Would I make them again? I'm not sure. If I do, it would be to figure out why most of them had a hairline crack on them. From what I read (afterwards), that happens when you don't fully let them dry out. I touched mine on the outer edges only after about 20 min and that probably wasn't long enough. I should have checked the middle of the batter.
  • Don't forget to check out the other ABC bakers.


3 comments:

  1. They look so good. I can't believe you haven't tasted them yet. I can barely keep from sampling macaron shells right out of the oven.

    ReplyDelete
  2. These look wonderful and i bet they taste equally delicious!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow Hanaa! For your first macaron they look wonderful! I bought those frozen ones from Trader Joe's as well. Kinda pricey but not as expensive as the ones from the choclatier shop downtown, which I admit are spectacular. Thanks for posting your list of tips.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment.