i like to think of macarons as the little darlings of the pastry world. maybe a little fussy, but so cute that the effort and (many) failed attempts are worth it. i don’t really know how to describe the satisfaction of pulling a tray of lovely ruffled macaron shells from the oven. it’s pretty much pure joy.
maybe that sounds like an exaggeration, but after failing at every attempt of macaron making in the last 6 months or more, these beauties brought on the joy. i made a second batch a few days later…and lovely still! imagine me clapping vigorously and then running around the house squealing with delight. yup. that’s me getting excited about successful baking endeavors.
i have plans to make another batch this weekend since sean turns 25 on monday. i like to shower him with sugary delights and really, birthdays are just an excuse to make things extra special.
i’ve been thinking that this is a new year and that in a new year we should do new things. like…adding an “i’m listening to…” to each post. i was inspired by cindy, of the blog quaint handmade (check out those fantastic calling cards…i want!). she posts a link to a song that she’s fond of in each of her posts. i love this since i love to discover new tunes and baking in my kitchen is usually a one-woman-sing-a-long performed by yours truly. plus, you can share with me what your listening to! oooh, interactive 😉 i’ll be adding this feature beneath the bottom of the last photo on each post.
listening to… you and i misbehaving – tilly and the wall
PS. i’m thinking that with all the devastation in haiti, sean and i live a pretty cushy life. a small donation is the least we can do and i know a lot of others are expressing the same sentiments. we gave to the american red cross via text. which is, to me, an ingenious way of getting people involved in this tech driven time. very simply text 9099 for a $10 donation, charges are applied to your phone bill.
lemon-lime filled macarons
this recipe is adapted from the book “i love macarons” . i recommend it. it has great tips for macaron making success! i also age my whites since that’s what aran recommends and the lady can make a macaron.
85 grams almond meal
150 grams confectioner’s sugar
3 large egg whites at room temp, that have been aged in the refrigerator over-night or longer
65 grams granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean seeded
green food color (if desired)
cut parchment to size of your sheet-pan or use a silicone baking mat. draw 1-inch circles onto parchment (if using) spacing at least 1/2 inch apart as the batter will spread some.
in a food processor, grind almond meal and confectioners sugar together. if using a seeded vanilla bean, add that to the mix as well. sift the misture through a fine mesh sieve (the book says twice, i did it once with good results).
beat egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachments or with a hand blender in a stainless steel bowl, until foamy. gradually add granulated sugar to the whites while beating, being sure to scrape down sides after each addition. when the meringue is stiff, firm (not dry) and has a glossy sheen it is done (add food color before this stage is reached).
add half of the sifted almond mixture to the whites. stir w/ a spatula while scooping up from the bottom of the bowl. add the rest of the meal and mix lightly. when the almond mixture is incorporated, spread and press the batter along the sides of the bowl. scoop the batter from the bottom and turn upside down, repeating about 15 times. when the batter becomes firm and drips in a slow ribbon as you scoop it up with your spatula, the mixture is done.
fill a pastry bag fitted with a 0.4 inch tip. pipe small circles of batter onto your parchment or silicone mat…be sure to make them small as they will spread. rap the sheet firmly against the counter. dry the macarons at room temp for about 30 minutes or until the batter is no longer sticky when touched. the tops should be smooth and any tips on top should have settled into the batter.
place a second sheet pan under the one with the piped macarons. this encourages the pied/foot to develop. place the baking sheets on the center rack of a preheated 350F oven. bake for 12-13 minutes until crisp on top. you may need to rotate your tray halfway through for even baking. the shells should not brown or take on any color from baking. cool on a rack and remove. i like to match up similar shell sizes before filling.
shells keep for 1 week in the refrigerator and can be frozen as well.
adapted from “baking: from my home to yours”.
1 cup sugar
grated zest of 2 lemons and 2 limes
4 large eggs
3/4 cup fresh lemon-lime juice (from 2 lemons and 3 limes)
2 sticks plus 5 tbsp butter, cut into pieces at room temp.
makes about 2 1/2 cups
have an instant read thermometer, a strainer, a blender (preferred, but a food processor will work fine). bring a few inches of water to a simmer in a saucepan.
put sugar and zest in a medium-large heatproof bowl that can be set on top of saucepan of water. off the heat, rub zest into the sugar until the sugar is fragrant. whisk in eggs followed by juice.
set the bowl over the pan of water and whisk constantly. cook until the temperature reaches 180 F being sure to whisk constantly. at first the mixture will be light and foamy, but as it heats more large bubble will appear and as it reaches 180 F, the whisk will leave tracks and the mixture will thicken. do not stop whisking or checking the temperature, be patient it could take as long as 10 minutes depending on how much heat is being given.
as soon as it reaches 180 F, remove from heat and strain into the blender. discard zest. let it cool at room temperature, stirring occaisionally, for about 10 minutes, or 140 F.
once it has cooled down, turn the blender on high and begin adding butter, 5 tbsp at a time, scraping sides as needed. once all of the butter is incorporated keep the machine running for another 3 minutes. this will ensure a light and luscious cream.
pour the cream into a container and press plastic wrap onto the top. chill for at least 4 hours or overnight. stir before piping to loosen.
pipe cream onto macaron shells and sandwich. the filled cookies store wonderfully in the freezer.