Wednesday, June 19, 2013
I have been making different flavors of macarons from the Macarons and More cookbook I bought. This time I did an experiment by using a Silpat and parchment paper to see which made the better crunch. The Silpat was just as easy to remove the macaron cookie as the parchment. I did notice that the bottoms of the macarons cooked on the Silpat got a wee bit more browned. Once I put in the filling and then keep them overnight in the fridge, I doubt it will be noticed. I must have pushed them out from the pastry bag at an angle as I have more uneven ones this time than I have had before. That's OK. Those were the ones I sent to the library. They TASTE the same!
As before, start TWO days before you are going to eat these.
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons almond flour
2 egg whites, aged at least one day and at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
4 drops yellow food coloring
5 Tablespoons sugar
Purchased lemon curd for the filling. I used Dickinson's
Place the 2 egg whites in a small bowl, cover it and wait for a day or three.
Remove the egg whites. Have breakfast. Get out all the ingredients and by then they should be room temperature.
Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. I did one with parchment and one with Silpat and liked the parchment one better, but the Silpat worked.
Place the flour and the powdered sugar in a food processor and pulse it into a fine powder. Scrape down the bowl occasionally.
Sift the mixture into a bowl. There will be some large pieces left over. I think that is why the recipe calls for the extra two Tablespoons of almond flour. Because you have to discard the big pieces. Set the bowl aside.
This is a good place to use a stand mixer. I have a Kitchen Aid. Set the egg whites in the bowl for the stand mixer. Two egg whites are too small for my whip to reach, so I use a hand whisk and whip them until they are a bit frothy. Then place them on the stand mixer and using the whip, mix them until they are frothy. Add the cream of tartar and the food coloring, mix.
Gradually add the sugar a Tablespoon at a time . Beat at high speed for 3 or four minutes, scraping occasionally, until the mixture forms shiny, stiff peaks.
Remove the bowl from the stand and add half the almond flour mixture. Use a spatula to stir and combine the two. Try to do it in about 12 strokes. You don't want to over mix at this point!
Add the remaining flour and mix.
Scoop the batter into a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch tip. Pipe small one inch circles on the lined cookie sheets, about two inches apart. They do not puff up, so you can squeeze in a few if you run out of room.
I used a slightly moist finger to touch the little peaks left behind by the pastry bag. Let the cookies rest until the are no longer sticky to the touch. This can take as long as one hour, if there is a lot of humidity. Preheat the oven to 325 and bake for 8 minutes. Then take out the cookie sheets, turn them around and put the top one on the bottom and vice versa so they are rotated and can cook evenly..
Bake another 7 minutes, for a total of about 15 minutes. Take a spatula and try to lift a macaron. If it comes off the parchment, then it is done.
Remove the cookie sheets and let them cool completely on the cookie sheets.
The recipe in the book called for making some lemon curd filling. But I am lazy, so I bought lemon curd for the filling. Place it in a bowl and stir vigorously until it is creamy and smooth. Match cookies of a similar size and butter one side with the lemon curd. Top it and place the sandwich in a flat container with a cover. Once you fill them all you may eat ONE. But do so knowing that they will be better tomorrow after they mellow overnight and the filling makes the center of the macaron all gooey and the outside is still nice and crunchy. Yum.