Monday, February 22, 2010

Making Macarons

I think I'm obsessed with this sweet little confection. Taken from Wikipedia:
A macaron or French macaroon is a confectionery whose name is derived from an Italian word “maccarone” meaning paste.[1] It is meringue-based: made from a mixture of egg whites, almond flour, and both granulated and confectionery sugar.
The confectionery is characterized by its smooth, domed top, ruffled circumference, and flat base. Connoisseurs prize a delicate, egg shell-like crust that yields to a moist and airy interior. The French macaroon differs from other macaroons in that it is filled with cream or butter like a sandwich cookie, and can be found in a wider variety of flavors that range from the traditional (raspberry, chocolate) to the exotic (foie gras, truffle). Making macarons requires a great deal of discipline and is a process that is highly dependent on exactitude, technique, and proper equipment. For this reason it is a notoriously difficult recipe to master and a frustrating endeavor for the amateur baker.[2]
Try me. =)

So, my second attempt was much more successful than my first.

The eggs whites have to be just perfect... aged for 24 or more hours, first foamy... then stiff peaks with the added sugar. 

The ground blanched almonds must be run through a fine seize to ensure that there are no lumps or bumps. The powdered sugar must be sifted several times. 

The batter is then piped onto a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet and left to rest for 1-2 hours to allow for the dome formation on the top of the cookie. 
Here they are, fresh from the oven - their little "feet" formed pretty well. But, I'm still not happy with their height. It is a work in progress, and these are a million times better than my first attemp!
Here's a better view of their little domed top and the little feet underneath. 

And finally, a view of the final product after being filled with Nutella ganache. My ganache didn't sit as well as I would have liked, so... it's on to a third try!!!

I'm having fun researching these little lovelies.

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