French Macroons!

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If you live in nyc and love french macaroons and like to bake you might have noticed or heard me complaining that the macaroon making classes at dessert truck works fill up almost immediately after announcement.  Everyone must be very busy with the approaching holiday because two Sundays ago the husband and I were able to attend a workshop.  

French Macaroons are notoriously difficult to make.  The class didn't focus so much on the recipe as it did technique.  It was a very informative class.  (We made another batch over the weekend and I felt like I knew what I was doing.)  We talked alot about what to look for in texture and consistency during each stage of the recipe and how to troubleshoot.  Here are some of the more important points:

  • Don't rush, just be patient.
  • Use aged egg whites.  Separate them 3-5 days before baking, let them age in the fridge.
  • Eggs of happy chickens will need more like 5 days
  • make sure your meringue is fully formed (glossy and holds in the whisk when held up)
  • Humidity is not your friend.  It increased meringue production and drying time.
  • fold in dry ingredients, fold as to not deflate batter
  • use powder flavor or gel food coloring, can be added anytime
  • use a silicone baking mat or parchment paper to line you baking sheet
  • pipe & space uniformly for even baking.  
  • piping:  squeeze to form circle, stop squeezing, flick pipe tip away with conviction
  • if piped circles look like hershey kisses, pound on the bottom of the tray to flatten
  • let them dry before baking.  test for readiness by lightly touching one, should feel like an eggshell.

That said, let's get started.  

White French Macaroons, from dessert truck works/cathcart & reddy

Makes 25 sandwiched macaroons / 50 discs

125 g blanched almond flour

125 g confectioners sugar

50 g egg whites, aged and at room temperature

50 g egg whites, aged and at room temperature

110 g granutated sugar

Whisk almond flour and confectioners sugar until well mixed and without lumps.  Set aside.

In a large metal mixing bowl, over a simmering water bath, vigorously whisk together 50 g egg whites and sugar, adding sugar slowly, for 30 seconds.  Stiff peaks will form.  If whisking by hand, this could take an hour.  

With a rubber spatula, fold in almond flour, sugar and 50 g egg whites until all incorporated into the meringue.  Also add any food coloring or flavoring if you haven't done so already.  The final mix should be homogenous and have a thick viscosity: imagine the mixture is like cooling lava, gradually inching over a cold surface, and flattening ever so slightly as it comes to rest.  If the mixture is too stiff, fold in 1 tablespoon egg white at a time until you reach proper consistency.

Transfer the macaroon mixture into a piping bag fitted with a straight tip, size #805.  On a full sized non stick sheet pan, 18"x 13", lined with a silicone baking mat or parchement paper, pipe silver dollar sized discs.  Set the sheet pan aside and allow the surface of the macroons to dry, anywhere from 1/2 hour to 2 hours, depending on humidity.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Bake macarooms for approximately 15 minutes. turning the pan halfway through.  The macaroons are finished when the tops are firm, dry and the foamy base is dry as well.  Let cool.  

Gently run an offset spatula underneath each macroon to release it from the liner.  They are very fragile, try not to crack them.  Pair macaroons by sizem lining them up next to each other, with one of the pair sitting with the interior (what was the bottom) facing up.  Pipe your desired filling onto that macaroon and sandwich it with the other half of the macaroon pair.  

For fillings, consider jams, marmalades, butter creams, peanut butter, ganaches, nutella or even ice cream.  We made some this weekend and filled some with a citrus curd and others with a coffee caramel.