Dr. Strangecookie or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Macaron

“I failed times and time again with the Macarons, but no more”

                                                                                      E.N. Giliwilli 2015

Rose- pistachio macaron- or- Mhalabi macaron

Lets begin from the oh-so-scary amazing french cookie shells, which can be combined with millions f tastes. Recipe- from the Cordon Blue.

  • 100 gr sugar
  • 100 gr egg whites (from 2-3 eggs, preferably egg-whites that were separated the day before)
  • 120 gr of good quality, very thin almond powder/ almond flour
  • 140 gr store bought powdered sugar
  • Thick food coloring (not the watery type)

That’s all! only 4 ingredients ! and some work…

  • Piping bag
  • Tip size 10
  • Electric mixer
  • Silicon scarper/ plastic bench scraper

Okay, here we go…

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Almond flour and powdered sugar

Strain: Strain the almond flour and the powdered sugar together into a big bowl. You can also simply mix them using a whisk- if the almond and sugar are not lumpy at all that will suffice.

Prepare the Swiss meringue: Put the egg-whites and sugar in the mixer bowl, and put it over a pan with water, over a medium heat (i.e. ban Marie..) and mix every once in a while. Warm up the egg whites until they are nice to touch (~37C. No need for a thermometer- a simple touch will tell you all you need to know- warm, but not hot of course)- and the sugar has dissolved (it should not take long).

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Very stiff egg whits

Whip it up: whip the egg-whites until they are cold (room temp) and you get very stiff peaks. If you want to add food coloring do it in the beginning of the whipping. don’t be stingy on the food coloring- if you want colorful macarons you will need to put the color in there….
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Almonds into egg whites

Macronage: put the almond-powder mixture into the egg-whites and fold.. and fold a lot.. using the scraper. Fold some more. The foam should ‘brake’ and you need to get a nice runny mixture but not fluid… see picture. If the macaronage is too thick the macarons will not flatten nicely and will look more like meringue cookies, which we really don’t want.
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Fold

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Fold

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Fold

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Folded enough

Pipe: prepare the piping bag with the tip, fill it up with half of the macaronage, and pipe the macarons on the sheet of our choice- Silpat or similar, or regular baking paper are my preferred ones. once you started piping the macarons to the desired size, you can see if they flatten out, if they stand still you can pour the macaronage from the piping bag and fold it some more- until you reach the desired consistency.
So pipe the macarons.
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Transfer the macaronage to a piping bag with a tip

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Pipe..

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Flatten: when you are finished with a tray, you need to flatten the macarons by slamming the tray on the kitchen counter or the floor until the macarons are nice and flat and don’t have nipples , pardon my french.. (8-10 times, depending on the thickness of your macaronage).
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Flatten the macarons by hitting the tray on the kitchen counter

Bake:  in a preheated oven to 150C. the baking varies according to the size of the macarons and the sheet you chose, baking sheet is faster than silicon. So, bake at 150C 8-10 min, and then reduce the heat to 140 and bake until the macarn is ready. How do you know if it is ready? by touching it! Simply open the oven door and gently touch the macaron to see if it dried out enough. When the macarons seem to be ready- take them out of the oven and check that they separate from the sheet- if not return to the over for a little longer. Finaly- let the macaron shells cool, transfer to an airtight container until you use them (they can easily be kept this way for a few days).
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Left to right: macarons baked on a simple baking sheet, on a good quality thin silicon sheet and on a thick black and not so good silicon sheet.

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I want flowers– or- roses creme pattissier (based on a recipe from Michalak)

  •  260ml milk (a little more than a cup)
  • 3-4 dried roses or rose petals
  • a dash of vanilla (ground or essence, of the good quality kind)
  • 65 gr sugar (1/4 cup + 1 tbs)
  • 15 gr cornstarch (2 tbs)
  • 40 gr egg yolks (~2 egg yolks)
  • 15 gr gelatin mass (which is gelatin dissolved in water in 1:10 ratio) cut into small cubes
  • 20 gr butter, soft
  • you can add a little more rose water if needed

Put the milk, vanilla, sugar and most importantly- roses in a saucepan over a medium heat. Heat the milk, but don’t let it simmer, turn of the heat and let the milk soak the rose flavors for 30 min. Strain the milk and return it to the pan.

Mix the egg yolks and cornstarch in a bowl. Reheat the milk (again, no simmer). Transfer the warm milk to the egg yolks while mixing constantly, until the yolks are completely dissolved in the milk. Return the milk-yolks to the pan.  Heat while constantly whisking over a medium-high heat. Whisk and whisk until you get a nice thick cream (not sauce, but thick, thick cream!). Remove from the heat and add the gelatin mass.  Vigorously whisk until the gelatin completely dissolved and then strain the cream to a clean dish. Cover with nylon wrap and chill in the fridge.

When the cream is chilled, whisk it vigorously (by hand) and add the soft butter.  Whisk until combined.

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Transfer the cream to a piping bag. Take one macaron shell, start by piping the cream close to the edges of the macaron and then go into  the middle, dip in crashed pistachios and close the cookie with a similar sized macaron shell.

Voila’! perfectly marvelous macarons!

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Everything i’ve been through on the way to a great macaron (not perfect, cause perfect is for Pierre Herme..)-or- comments and commentaries:

  • My dear friend, Tiny Baker, taught me how to make macarons, I have failed many times before- but no more!
  • The basic recipe is from the Cordon Blue- and again thanks to Tiny Baker for that.
  • I’ve made macarons with French, Italian and Swiss meringue, and now I only use the Swiss, this is why:
  • The french meringue is the ‘simplest’, but I noticed the macarons come out a little drier (less chewy in the middle). The Italian requires much more work (using sugar syrup), the macaronage needs more folding, and the macarons at the end were less unified (some had some cracks, which doesn’t happen with the recipe I gave here). But the Italians that did come out good- come out beautifully shiny and.. beautiful! The Swiss is somewhere in the middle, and doesn’t require any additional help (such as thermometer or pectin). You can see macarons from all three meringue types in Gourmeow Instagram, from my macaron boot-camp..
  • Don’t mess around with the powdered sugar like I did before! Simply use store bought. trust me on this, making your own is a waste of time (I buy kilo packages now and that’s that!).
  • You don’t need to grind the almonds and sugar together as recommended by some recipes. Just buy good quality ground almonds.
  • The macaron shells can be kept for several days, the problem begins when you fill them. their survival depends on the filling thickness/ water content.
  • Watery filling will make the macarons soft and soggy- fast (like lemon curd etc). Eat the macarons the day you filled them.
  • Pastry cream based filling (such as here) are better kept, particularly when using the gelatin and butter (if you omit them the cream will make the macaron wet fast, but it is doable). Macarons in this specific recipe can be kept for ~3 days in the fridge with this filling.
  • Chocolate based creams are easiest to keep, macarons filled with those last long in the fridge, but you need to get them to room temp before eating. Butter cream fillings are the same.
  • I’ve heard that the macarons need to develop a crust before you bake them. Tiny baker said in the cordon they did not wait, and I don’t wait either, but in fact a crust develops very fast when using this recipe.. so.. donno..
  • Open the oven- not a must- but it helps to get rid of the humidity. It definitely won’t hurt the macarons.
  • The sheets: I really like the baking sheets, the simple disposable ones, the bottoms come out nice and dry, and the macarons bake fast. The problem is that the macarons come out with an unperfect shape because the sheets are not completely straight. That bothers me.. as for the silicon- I really recommend the thin ones, silipat or such , high quality, the thick opaque ones are not good at all including the ones made for macarons (with the imprinted circles).
  • Macaronage: It needs to be relatively fluid, creamy and to flatten. If the macaronage doesn’t flat out you will have meringue kisses looking cookies, if the macaronage is too soft and flannes too fast, the shape tends to be less round and the cookie drier and less chewy in the middle. Whatever happens- you will get the nice macaron ‘leg’ with this recipe, which is the most important thing, and you’ll be happy, don’t worry 🙂
  • What goes in the oven is what comes out of the oven, that is, the macaron will not flatten in the oven or change somehow (except for growing a leg ..), so be happy with the flattening level of the macaron before hitting the oven.

So, good luck to us all- and go get them!!

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Victory is sweet!

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2 thoughts on “Dr. Strangecookie or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Macaron

  1. Hi, so do not need to dry the macaron at all? just pop into preheated oven (150 degree Celsius) for 8~10min and change to 140 degree Celsius until it is done? what about double baking tray or baking sheet?

     
    • Hi Yasmin,
      I do not dry them at all- however- as I mentioned, I noticed that by the time I finish with this recipe there is already a ‘shell’ (that you can feel by gently touching the macarons)…
      yes, start with 150, and then to get them completely dry without getting a ‘tan’ turn down to 140C. this changes a bit depending on the sheet you use- macaron on baking sheet develop a dry shell faster and are easier to take of the sheet usually, compared to those baked on silpat. It also depends on the size of the macarons- if you bake big macarons you will need more time. I never used double baking tray or baking sheet. Good luck 🙂

       

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