Food

French Macarons

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Hello readers!  I’ve been so busy in the past few months (moving back home and all that jazz), that I haven’t really found time to be in the kitchen.  Well, that hiatus stopped this week when I was commissioned by my dear older brother to make hundreds of macarons for his wedding this weekend.  Yes, hundreds.  His specific instructions were: make as much as you can.  He has over 200 guests.  So I donned on my apron and got to baking.  The wonderful thing about homemade french macarons is that in a airtight container, they actually last fairly long in the refrigerator (~5 days).  So this entire week, I’ve been baking tray after tray.  I’ve had some hit and misses.  But I’m pretty happy with the results.

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I made a basic French Macaron with a salted Nutella buttercream filling!  (Foodgasm?)  I wish I had taken more photos along the way to show you guys the process.  Perhaps when I attempt macarons again in the future, I will take some more detailed photos.  But I am pretty giddy about how cute they turned out.

Prep time:  1 hour
Bake time: 15 minutes
Yield: 10 macarons

Ingredients (French Macaron)
– 3/4 cup powdered sugar
– 1/2 cup almond meal/flour
– 2 tbs granulated sugar
– 1 egg white (room temperature … no need to age!)
– Gel food coloring (I used pink and yellow)

Method (French Macaron)
1.  Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.  On the curly side, draw 20 circles of 1.5 inch in diameter.  Place the parchment paper on the cookie sheet with the drawing face down.
2.  Sift the powdered sugar and almond meal together in a small bowl.  You can use a larger sifter if you would like to fly through the sifting process.  You can toss in approximately 1-2 tbs of the unsifted mix at the end.  But if there is more, pulse the mix in a food processor first and sift again.
3.  In a medium bowl, beat the egg at medium speed.  Add granulated sugar as you beat.  (For extra arm muscle, try whisking by hand!)  When you reached stiff peaks, add 2 drops of the gel food coloring and beat until it is combined.  DO NOT OVERMIX.
4.  Using a rubber spatula, spoon half of the almond/sugar mixture into the egg white mixture.  Begin folding.  It should take you about 10-15 strokes to combine.  Spoon in the rest of the almond/sugar mixture and fold again.  Be sure to fold in the same direction.  You should achieve the right consistency anywhere between 45-55 strokes.  (The test: scoop a bit of the batter on the spatula and hold it over the bowl, it should fall like a thick syrup).
5.  Fill the mixture in a piping bag with a round tip attachment, pipe out the mixture to your pre-drawn parchment paper.  It should fit 20 circles perfectly.  When you are done, tap the pan on the counter several times to release the air bubbles.
6.  Preheat the oven to 300F.  The macaron shells should take about 10-15 minutes to create a hard shell on top.  It will be ready to bake when you touch it and it is not sticky anymore.
7.  Bake for 15 minutes, rotate the pan halfway.

While the macarons are baking, it’s time to make the Salted Nutella Buttercream filling!

Ingredients (Nutella Buttercream)
– 4 tbs salted butter (softened)
– 2 tbs + 2 tsp Nutella
– 1/4 cup powdered sugar

Method (Nutella Buttercream)
1.  Cream together the salted butter and Nutella until smooth and combined.
2.  Add the powdered sugar and cream until light and fluffy.

To assemble:  Find twins of every macaron shell.  Lay them belly up.  Using a pastry bag, pipe out the Nutella buttercream on one of macaron pairs and gently squeeze the two shells together.

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Mini Macarons are the cutest!

One more thing, I was scared as heck when I first attempted making macarons last year.  I had so many ugly ones.  But I guess the good thing about these French cookies is that even if they look ugly on the outside, they are going to be delicious regardless.  So bake your hearts out!

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